This batch of traditional washed single-cultivar Java coffee comes to us from Caranavi, Bolivia, produced by the Rodriguez Family and their firm AGRICAFE on their farm called Finca la Linda.
La Linda is AGRICAFE’s first farm, established in 2012. Up to that point, AGRICAFE had been exclusively buying and processing coffee from surrounding small farms. La Linda became a point of innovation and best practices for the Caranavi coffee community, and its techniques are where the “Sol de Mañana” program originated. The farm is 10 hectares, 30% of which remains a natural reserve. “Java”, so-named for the original heirloom variety brought to the Americas from the Indonesian island of Java, was the inaugural variety used to populate the farm and remains dominant at La Linda. The Rodriguez family, founders of AGRICAFE, believed the specific climate of Caranavi was perfect for this variety. To process La Linda’s coffee, 150 pickers are employed. Cherry is depulped and fermented for 60 hours, and then dried in slow-rotating mechanical drums.
Origin InformationGrower - Finca La Linda
Variety - Java
Region - Caranaví, La Paz, Bolivia
Harvest - June - September 2020
Altitude - 1450 - 1550 masl
Soil - Clay minerals
Process - Fully washed, mechanically dried
We roasted this batch of Bolivia Caranavi to a medium roast. Depending on the grind and brewing method, this Bolivia Caranavi Crown Jewel can produce notes of sweet caramel with a citrus blossom after taste.
As with most Top-Shelf coffees, we suggest using the pour-over method to maximized the aroma and flavor of this Crown Jewel coffee using a 1:16 coffee to water ratio with the water between 200F and 205F. Once grounds are placed in the filter, pre-soak grounds by covering with water for ~30sec to allow for blooming, then finish with either a steady pour or a couple of short pours to complete the brewing process.
Brew Observations / Analysis
Brew Analysis by Nate Lumpkin, Royal Coffee
We plan to serve this coffee here at the Crown on the espresso bar for the summer, so as part of our brew analysis this week we dialed it in on our Linea PB, as well as on pour-over. For both brew methods we found a lovely, clean, and tropical cup, with a syrupy body, and dark chocolate undertones.
For espresso we used our standard dose of 18g of coffee, ground on our Mazzer Robur E. For service we favor a larger shot with a 1:2 coffee to water ratio, so in this case our best shot pulled to 36g in 34 seconds. This is on the longer end for our espresso shots, but it tasted delicious. It had a cotton candy and fudge creamsicle sweetness, along with bright and tropical acids and flavors. We tasted passionfruit, grapefruit, lime, pineapple, fresh mint, and English toffee, as well as caramel and dark chocolate, with a heavy and syrupy body.
On pour-over I chose the Hario v60, which I favor for its versatility and ease of use. I used again 18g of coffee, this time with a final weight of 300g. It brewed through 3:36, a little longer than I expected, but it showed an on-target TDS of 1.34 and an extraction of 19.65%. In the cup, it tasted clear, sweet, and tropical, almost like mango jello, grape boba, and white wine, with a pleasant herbaceousness like gin, along with a milk chocolate and caramel undertone. This was really delicious–I’m happy to recommend this excellent coffee both as espresso and pour-over, and I can’t wait to serve this on bar.
Specialty groups like AGRICAFE deserve a lot of credit for their dedication to Bolivia's coffee potential, despite the odds. AGRICAFE was established in 1986 and is a family business that manages 12 of its own farms as well as smallholder coffee from across Caranaví and Samaipata. Their smallholder program, “Sol de Mañana”, began in 2013 with 10 small producers and a curriculum focused on nursery and farm management, and specialty harvesting. It currently has 100 contributing farms and average production has increased from 3 bags per hectare to more than 20, with qualities better each year.
Bolivia is South America's only landlocked coffee producing country, and is the smallest exporter of coffee on the continent. The quality of that coffee, however, is hardly lacking in diversity or beauty. Bolivia’s terrain and geography is gifted for arabica production, particularly throughout its greater Yungas region (Yungas is Aymara for "warm lands"), whose mountain ranges connect the low and humid Amazonian basin to the dry Andean altiplano above. The most productive municipality in the Yungas is by far Caranaví, where 85-90% of Bolivia's specialty coffee has continued to thrive over the decades. Caranaví's landscape is steep, cloudy, rugged, and remote, with natural forest making up more than 90% of the territory. Coffee farms in this high and tropical climate tend to be well-managed but small, challenged by isolation and lacking in long-term industry support. Bolivian growers still often don’t have processing equipment or transportation of their own, a massive hurdle in such territory.
Biodiversity, soil health, elevation, and progressive leadership in AGRICAFE all work undeniably in coffee’s favor. Yet, facing each and every Bolivian coffee, especially the best ones, is one of the most strenuous overland transits in the coffee world, passing elevations of 4000 meters over the top of the Andes and west to the port of Arica on Chile’s coast. The country’s low production, select few producer groups in the specialty game, and formidable logistical challenges, means each and every arrival is something to be cherished.
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