This is the Java varietal from La Linda in Bolivia. The coffee is nutty and elegant with some white floral notes. The varietal Java doesn't give a big crop at La Linda, but the cup profile is elegant. Although the risk for leaf rust is high, the coffee produced by Roudriguez in Bolivia is only sprayed with organic and environmentally friendly products.
The Drop Coffee roasted La Linda Java back at the farm.
Bolivia, Bolivia, Bolivia. The high altitude (in La Lindas case, 1650masl), the breath-taking nature, the coffee history, and the almost sugary cup profiles makes this origin a very special place. Bolivia’s past is interesting—although it’s a commercially viable coffee exporting country, its production has always been small. The conditions, although challenging, are exceptional for growing coffee, and this produces a very rich agriculture built on a long history of farming on a very difficult terrain. In 1991, there was a government led initiative to encourage the endogenous population to participate in coffee farming, which led to a fractured system counterintuitive to quality. The arrival of the Cup of Excellence Program in 2004 allowed buyers to find the quality coffee for which Bolivia was already known, but had become difficult to source.
The main problem for producers was (and, to some extent, still is) that they are unable to make enough money to be sustainable. To subsidise their income, they looked to other crops, mainly coca (the crop that is used to produce cocaine, legal in Bolivia). Encouraged by the government, coca is four times more profitable and is much easier to grow than coffee, and this sadly led to coffee producers turning their back on coffee or, even worse, abandoning their farms.
Coca farming involves a lot of chemicals and fertilisers that are not good to the soil and land, so farming coca leads to the soil being infertile and overworked. Over time, coca-farmed land is unusable for any crop. Bolivian governmental support for growing coca has led to a break-down of relations with the USA, who had previously supported Bolivian agriculture and economy in the early 2000s. The resulting war on drugs in Bolivia has since led to many initiatives to help coffee farmers, with things like the Cup of Excellence being financially supported by USAID.
As if these difficulties weren’t enough to overcome, the arrival of leaf rust in 2013 (a fungus that attacks the leaves of a coffee tree and makes it impossible to photosynthesise) meant that the country lost over 50% of its production that year alone. The combination of both government policy and leaf rust means that Bolivia’s coffee production has dropped by over 70 % in the past ten years, leaving the county a minor player in the world of coffee.
This means that to find the very best coffees from Bolivia, we have to pay a higher price—but this isn’t a bad thing. The small volumes available and current demand for great coffees mean that, for once, coffee producers are on the front foot.
To showcase how good Bolivian coffee can taste, the Rodriguez family has planted different varietals such as Caturra, Geisha - and as in this case Java. They are also experimenting with different processes with each varietal.
The landscape at the beautiful La Linda (hence the name)
About the Roudriguez
The Rodriguez family is our exporter for all of our coffee from Bolivia. They also have their own processing mills where they are processing coffee for farmers in the Caranarvi and Sud Yungas region, before exporting it. The family have been sourcing coffee from small coffee producers for three decades, but the steady decline of coffee production has put the sustainability of their export business in jeopardy. Without the intervention of people like the Rodriguez family, however, the future of coffee production in Bolivia is at risk of disappearing.
Caranavi, located 150 kilometres north of La Paz city, it is seen as the centre of Bolivian specialty coffee production. With the super-rich soil, combined with high altitudes, for me it is the epicentre for coffee production in Bolivia.
The family has taken on the challenge of increasing the production of Bolivian coffee by planting their own new coffee plantations.
Added to this, they have also introduced a sustainable model for the producers who supply them at their mill, and built this on three mantras: economical sustainability, social understanding, and environmental awareness - Sol de Manana.
All the coffee plants are only sprayed with organic and environmentally friendly spray. This takes great knowledge of agriculture to do. The Roudriguez family's company is fully certified organic, but as our importer isn't, this coffee can't be marked as such.
About La Linda
In 2014, the Rodriguez family bought land in Caranavi region to showcase their practises and educate other producers in sustainable farming, as well as increasing the overall volume at their mills. They prepared the land on 20,6 hectares and planted Red Caturra, Java and Geisha. This part of the lot is named after its beauty - La Linda.
About the Java varietal
The coffee growing at La Linda is brought in from another coffee producer whom Steve (part owner in Drop Coffee) is working with in Nicaragua. The varietal also goes under the name Longberry as that is just what it looks like - the berries and the seeds (beans) are long and slim.
The Java does give a smaller crop than expected at La Linda. Some areas of the farm are now being replanted as the crop is too low. However, it's tasting amazing. Elegant, notes of nutmeg and white sweet florals with the Bolivian typical caramel syrup note to it.
We’re very proud to present this Bolivian coffee to you all, for the impact it will have on The Rodriguez family’s livelihoods and the future of Bolivian specialty coffee, but also for the sugary, clear taste profile.
Roudriguez and Drop Coffee
As we buy many coffees from Roudriguez (I think you have noticed) it's a very exciting and good relationship. We love to visit them every year in Caranavi, staying at their mill it's easy to see that there are always new updates and projects going on.
Staying at the mill where Roudriguez process all the coffee. From left: Joanna Alm, Pedro Pablo Roudriguez, Daniella Roudriguez
Dear visit of Daniela and Pedro Roudriguez 2017.
Producer: Daniella and Pedro Rodriguez
Location: Bolinda, Caranavi, Bolivia
Harvest period: July to September 2017 (being the very slowest varietal to mature)
Elevation: 1650 masl
Processing: Washed processed
Flavour description: Elegant cup profile with light to medium body, notes of jasmine, nutmeg, agave syrup and black tea.