We are saving the best one for last: this is the competition lot from Carmelita. Carmelita won the first ever competition in the sustainability project Sol de la Mañana, with this coffee. Drop Coffee has paid 1 extra USD per kilo for this day lot, directly to Carmelita plus fertilizer for three months. We are so happy to be a part of her journey and having the honour to present her beautiful coffee. We have been waiting for this coffee for three years while her new plants have been growing, and it was truly worth the wait. The coffee has a creamy mouthfeel and white grape sweetness. Flavour notes of yellow flower, macadamia nut and a cooling effect of cactus in the aftertaste.
After getting hit with Roja a few years ago Carmelita started growing new plants of Caturra and Catuaí as a part of Sol de la Mañana project. For three years, we have visited and waited for the new harvest to arrive. This year we set up a blind cupping competition between all of the delivering producers of the Sol de la Mañana project and were not surprised to see Carmelita's cup win. Carmelita has a two-hectare farm, 1550-1850 masl in Copacabana, Bolivia.
Why we love to work with Carmelita Urduvi
We visited Carmelita for the first time four years ago and as I am writing this I have just visited her for the fourth time. Her hard work and dedication to the farm impressed us greatly. She had a single hectare, which had a low yield, and then got hit with Roja, which is why she decided to become a part of the sustainability project “Sol de la Mañana”, run by our exporter Rodriguez. When we met the first time, Carmelita had just prepared her land for a second hectare, and was ready to start planting her new Caturra and Catuaí seedlings from her nursery. This time she wanted to do everything right from the beginning, with help of the agronomists in the Sol de la Mañana project.
Read more in the blog post about Bolivia as a coffee producing country.
The history of Carmelita
Carmelita Urduvi has been working in coffee for 40 years. Originally she is from Omasuyos, near the lake called Titicaca. She moved with her husband to Caranavi when a government led to reform and gave the land back to thousands of indigenous families. Since then they had 8 children. Carmelita raised their children while running the farm after her husband disappeared. She feels like this is her greatest achievement. Her oldest son works full time on the farm throughout the whole year, another two of her sons work for our exporter Rodriguez Buena Vista farms.
Her 2-hectare farm is situated at 1400 masl, in the colonial Copacabana, a few kilometres from Caranavi. Although she has recently increased the size of her farm, she has no plans of increasing any further since she wants to focus on producing the best quality coffee she can.
On her farm, she is applying practices that have been recommended from the Sol de la Mañana project. She has started one-hectare brand new; preparing fresh land, planting strong Caturra and Catuaì seedlings and doing what she can to increase quality, and prevent getting hit by Roja again.
Unique to anyone else we have met in Bolivia, she is known to clean each berry after picking and before putting it into her bags and delivering it to processing at the Roudriguez mill. She understands that by producing a better quality coffee she will be able to earn more money and have a better future for her and her children.
Her favourite coffee variety is Catuai, as it is a strong plant, and more resistant to the disease on her land. Yet, she faces challenges such as ensuring she can afford enough fertiliser and preventing the spread of weeds during the rainy season.
Carmelita believes that joining the program has helped her to better understand what she needs to do to produce better coffee.
The Sol de la Mañana is a project that we are taking a part of that was started by our exporter. We are paying more for the coffee to give support to the farmers being a part of the project. The aim is to improve the farmers coffee quality and quantity in an economical and sustainable way and to help them prevent the spread of Roja.
As a part of the project, the farmers get agricultural support and training. They also have access to plants and seedlings that are more resistant to diseases with several varietals to choose from.
About the Sol de la Mañana Competition - Carmelita no.1
When visiting our exporter September last year, the Rodriguez family had organised a competition with all of the delivering producers to their mill in the Sol de la Mañana in Caranavi. We were the head judges, using the Cup of Excellence score sheet, but all of the producers were cupping their coffee too. It was fully blind with one qualification round and one final. The winning cup was white sugary sweet, almost toffee-like, notes of white florals and lemon. But more than anything it was very transparent and clear. The winning cup belongs to Carmelita.
As a first prize she was given an extra dollar per kilo plus fertilisers for her crops, and then, of course, we bought the coffee on a winning price for the lot she handed in - and now it is finally being released.
About Drop Coffee and Carmelita
Since the first time, we met Carmelita we had a strong feeling that we were going to work together. She is driven, light-minded and super focused on quality.
As we are concerned with continuing working with Carmelita but are buying the coffee through our exporter Rodriguez. To motivate Carmelita to continue to work with us we have paid an extra dollar per kilo straight to her with the agreement that we get to buy her coffee next year as well.
Bringing back Carmelita's first production lot of her new plants, signed by our staff.
We have to say we love her work from the first time we visited four years ago. Finally getting to taste her new coffee is an absolute pleasure and we are so proud to buy her coffee. We have a European exclusivity on Carmelita's coffee and have a feeling this will continue to be one of our strong relationship coffees for many, many years ahead. We admire Carmelita and her floral and elegant coffee added to the bigger and sweet profile we get from the Bolivian coffees.
Carmelita brewing her own coffee with us in August 2018
About this unique lot
This coffee is picked on the 13th of September 2017. Normally we get the full crop of the harvest blended into one. But as a part of the competition, this lot was kept separately for us and we have paid an extra USD per kilo plus 3 months of fertilizer, all directly to Carmelita.
It is also special for being Carmelita's first commercial crop!
Facts about the coffee from Carmelita
Producer: Carmelita Urduvi
Picking Date: 13th of September 2017
Varietal: Caturra & Catuai
Location: Bolinda, Caranavi, Bolivia
Farm size: 2 hectares of planted coffee
Other farm products: Pine trees, citrus fruits, papayas and chickens
Elevation: 1550 – 1850 MASL
Fermentation: Full wet
Fermentation time: 16 hours, first 8 with no water, then 8 hours with water
Drying: Mechanical for 46 hours of a quicker drying phase in the beginning and a slower process towards the end of the drying.
Processing: Fully washed
Flavour description: The coffee has a creamy mouthfeel and white grape sweetness. Flavour notes of yellow flower, macadamia nut and a cooling effect of cactus in the aftertaste.