Orders are shipped every Monday, Thursday and Friday. Blends are roasted on Mondays and Fridays each week whilst single origins are roasted only on Wednesdays at this stage (due to batch size requirements).
This coffee was produced by Carmela Aduviri from Copacabana, a small and remote settlement located 180 kilometres from La Paz in the heart of the Caranavi province. This region is the epicentre for specialty coffee production in Bolivia, with incredibly high altitudes, rich soil, and wide daily temperature ranges providing the perfect conditions for exceptional coffee.
The inhabitants of Copacabana first began farming coffee around 35 years ago. Farms here are small and traditional. Almost all work is carried out by the farm's owners and their extended families, with a handful of temporary workers taken on to help out during harvest. All of the producers at Copacabana were born into the Aymara, an ancient indigenous group which lived on the Altiplano (a vast plateau of the central Andes that stretches from southern Peru to Bolivia and into northern Chile and Argentina). The region was known for the world’s highest lake, called Titicaca, and when their families moved to Caranavi, they named their ‘colony’, or settlement, Copacabana.
Carmela has worked in coffee for fourty years while raising eight children. Her farm, “Carmelita”, is about 2 hectares in size, and is located at an altitude of 1,400 to 1,550 metres above sea level. Today Carmela manages the farm with her son, and together they have worked incredibly hard on improving and producing the best quality coffee they can. They grow a mix of Caturra and Catuaí variety trees on their farm, which grow in a rich clay soil under the protective shade of native forest trees, whose heavy leaf fall creates a natural mulch fertiliser, and whose canopy provides an important habitat for the many bird and insect species in the area.
The families who live in Copacabana, including the Aduviri family, used to depend on the local market to sell their coffee, meaning low prices and little reliability. Now they selectively pick their coffee cherries and are able to sell their top-grade coffees for substantially higher prices to MCM's partners at Agricafe, which processes specialty lots at its Buena Vista wet mill which is located in Caranavi.
Agricafe is a Bolivian family business which produces coffee from its own farms and also sources and processes high quality micro-lots from small, quality focused producers of the Yungas region, like Carmela.
Agricafe was established in 1986, when its founder, Pedro Rodriguez decided to ditch his suit and his accounting job to pursue his passion for agriculture. Over the last three decades, Pedro has worked tirelessly to build the production of, and market for, Bolivian specialty coffee, helping hundreds of local farmers recognise and realise the potential of their land and crops. He works alongside his daughter Daniela, in charge of the marketing and operations, and his son Pedro Pablo, who graduated in agriculture.
Over the last decade, Agricafe have been working to try and save the Bolivian coffee industry. Despite its international recognition and highly sought-after coffees, production of coffee across Bolivia has fallen dramatically. A combination of ageing coffee plantations, unsophisticated farming techniques and leaf rust have contributed to dramatically reduced yields, and this, combined with the competing coca industry (which is illegal in Caranavi but appealing as it is more lucrative for farmers), has seen coffee production more than halve over the last five years. To try to save coffee production in Bolivia and build a more sustainable future for it the Rodriguez family started a project called Sol de la Mañana.
The first of its kind in the country, the Sol de la Manaña program is aimed at sharing knowledge and technical assistance with local producers to create better quality coffees in higher quantities. By doing so Agricafe hopes that coffee production can be a viable and sustainable crop for producers, like Carmela, in the region for many years to come.
Carmela joined the Sol de la Mañana program in 2015. As a member of the program, she has followed a very structured series of courses, focused on improving her quality and yield. The curriculum focuses on one aspect of farming at a time, and covers things such as how to build a nursery, how and when to use fertiliser, how to prune, has how to selectively pick coffee. Agricafe also hosts workshops with leading agronomists throughout the year. These forums have allowed the producers to meet one another, share their experiences and discuss ways to tackle problems they are experiencing. Over time the producers have become more experienced and confident and actively sharing their learning with each other.
The results of this program have been profound, with improved quality and quantities for all participating producers. In addition, the producers have become more confident and proactive and engaged as a community and are sharing their learnings and experiences with each other. Daniela explains that this is where the program becomes really powerful: “We are giving them the tools and know-how, but they are actively choosing to follow our advice and invest in their farms. Now they can see the results, they trust us 100% and helping their neighbours achieve similar results.”
Since becoming a member, Carmela has built a vibrant coffee nursery and learnt to prune, feed, and manage her coffee plantation in order to increase her yield. The program has helped her invest in her plantation and encouraged her to take a long-term view, and in doing so she has established the foundations for a more sustainable and ultimately more profitable future for her family. As her farm has increased its yield and quality has improved Carmela has recognised that she can live off her 2 hectares of land if she focuses on quality and takes a modern farming approach. She is now actively teaching her sons what she has learnt so that they can buy a farm themselves and implement best practice farming techniques from the outset.
Carmela carefully hand-picked this coffee and delivered it to the Buena Vista washing station via taxi. This meticulously run washing station is owned Agricafe, who painstakingly process each of the exceptional specialty lots they receive separately, allowing for full traceability back to the individual farmer or colony.
Evenings at the mill are always bustling as arrivals of fresh cherries begin in the late afternoon (after the day’s picking) and continue deep into the night. It is widely known around Caranavi that only perfectly ripe cherries will be accepted by this mill and all lots are inspected on arrival prior to processing. In an arrangement somewhat unique to this mill, many farmers use taxis to deliver coffee, and by 7pm in the evening a long line of taxi cabs forms along the road leading to the mill.
After the coffee was delivered, it was placed into a floatation tank and all floaters were removed. The whole cherries were then dried on on raised beds in the sun and turned turned regularly to ensure it dried evenly. The drying was then finished off at a very low temperature in a stationary drier. The coffee was then transported to La Paz where it was rested, and then milled at the Rodriguez family’s brand new dry mill. At the mill, the coffee was carefully screened again by machines and also by hand to remove any defects.
Carmela worked hard to collect and process the cherries for this special micro lot and carefully hand polished all of the cherries before delivering them to the mill! A whole lot of love and hard work has gone into this coffee.. we hope you enjoy it!
Read about the Sol de la Mañana program here and Pedro Rodgriguez here and about Bolivian coffee more generally here.
Chiri originates from the Sidama coffee growing region in the eastern part of the Sidamo zone, in Ethiopia’s Southern Oromia State, in the ‘kebele’ (local village) of Hora Ela. It is named after the ‘woreda’ (administrative division) that is located in: Chiri (Chire). The washing station sits at 1,900m above sea level, and is privately owned by Kenan Asefa, who buys cherries from 650 local families; each family cultivates a small plot of land (averaging 2.5 hectares in size), located 1,800–2,200 metres above sea level.
This coffee is a mix of varieties that we refer to as “heirloom varieties”. This term is all encompassing and very broadly used by many actors in the coffee industry to categorise Ethiopian coffee varieties that are from native forest origins. Whilst this describes many of the varieties found in Ethiopia, it is also a bit simplistic, and does not recognise varieties that have been specifically developed and widely distributed by the Jimma Agricultural Research Centre (JARC).
In the Sidamo growing region, there are four “Specialty Group varieties” that have been released by JARC. These are called Angafa, Faye, Koti and Odicha. There are also native or “landrace” varieties in the region that were originally selected from the forest and have been propagated in the Sidamo region for decades. Three are well-known to local producers, who typically grow at least two of them; they are called called Dega, Karma and Wolisho. There is little documentation on the history of these varieties, and it is hard to know if they represent single varieties or a wider group of varieties, however it is widely accepted that they play a major role in the quality of the coffee from this region, with a distinctive floral and citric cup profile.
This coffee is natural processed. It is classified as Grade 1, indicating that a lot of effort has been put into the selection and grading during processing. Processing naturals well requires a high level of attention to detail. Ethiopian coffee has been processed this way by generations of farmers who have mastered the art of the natural method through centuries of tradition and experience.
Each day, carefully hand-picked coffee cherries are delivered to the wet mill and are meticulously hand-sorted prior to processing to remove unripe, overripe, or damaged fruit, in order to enhance the quality and sweetness of the cup. The coffee is then graded by weight and spread evenly on raised African beds (screens) to sun-dry. Initially, it is laid very thinly and turned regularly to ensure consistent drying and prevent over-fermentation. This is done very carefully to avoid damage to the fruit.
After a few days, when the coffee has reached 25% humidity—this is called the “raisin stage”—the layers of coffee are gradually increased. Careful attention and control during this drying phase ensures the coffee is stable and that a clean and balanced cup profile is achieved. The coffee is turned constantly whilst drying to ensure that it dries evenly and consistently. At midday, the coffee is covered to protect it from full sun. It is also covered overnight to prevent damage from morning dew. Once the coffee reaches the optimum moisture level (usually after 15–18 days), it is hulled and rested in bags in parchment until it is ready for export.
Aroresa (pronounced “A-ro-ress-a”) originates from the Bensa ‘woreda’ (administrative district) in the Sidama Zone in Ethiopia’s Southern Oromia State. It is named after the ‘kebele’ (local village) of Aroresa.
The washing station sits at 1,856m above sea level, and is privately owned by Wochesa Achiso, who buys cherries from local families - each cultivate small plots of land (averaging 2 – 5 hectares in size), located 1,900–2,000 metres above sea level.
Wochesa Achiso works collaboratively with Testi Coffee, who supports the washing station with quality control and also supports the washing station to market and sell their coffee. Testi Coffee is a family owned business that was founded ten years ago by Mr Faysel Yonis. The company is committed to maximising the potential of Ethiopian coffee and enriching the lives of the communities that are connected to it.
Testi Coffee’s business model is basically to buy coffee cherry from their ‘out-growers’ (an Ethiopian term for a small-holder who contributes to a particular washing station), while working with them to improve the quality of the coffee, and help develop the social conditions in the communities for the out-growers.
The team at Testi Coffee are very proud of the quality of coffee that they produce. In 2018, they launched a quality improvement program called the Premium Cherry Selection (PCS). Through this program, they pay a premium to producers who pick only the very ripest cherries from their farms. These coffees represent the very best that they have to offer, and this lot from Aroresa is a Premium Cherry Selection lot.
Mr Faysel, the owner of Testi, strongly believes that increased rewards for the out-growers should be shared by their entire community as a whole, rather than just delivering more financial benefits to the out growers themselves. To this end, he has launched an initiative called Project Direct, which focuses on directly helping coffee farmers, their families, and surrounding communities in tangible and positive ways. The project has helped to build schools and get communities access to clean water. Their goal in the future is to get support from their importing and roasting partners to make this initiative more fruitful.
This coffee is a mix of local varieties, including native coffees from forest origin that are collectively known as ‘Ethiopian Heirloom’. All of these varieties are Arabica and most originate from a Typica predecessor, but with wild mutations that result in some exceptional and unique flavour profiles. The coffee has been processed as a washed lot using fresh water from the nearby river Hamile. It is classified as Grade 1, indicating that a lot of effort has been put into the selection and grading during processing.
Each day, carefully hand-picked coffee cherries are delivered to the Aroresa mill and are meticulously sorted by hand and a floatation tank prior to processing to remove unripe, overripe, or damaged fruit, in order to enhance the quality and sweetness of the cup. The coffee cherries are then pulped using a disk pulper to remove the fruit and skin, and then graded by weight; heavier beans are superior quality and deliver a sweeter cup. After grading, the parchment-covered coffee is soaked in tanks of clean water for 24–48 hours to remove the mucilage (sticky covering) by allowing it to ferment and detach from the coffee. The coffee is then re-washed and graded again by density in washing channels and soaked in clean water for 12–24 hours.
The coffee is then dried for around 12 days on African drying beds, firstly under cover (for up to a day) and then subsequently in the sun. Whilst drying, the coffee is carefully hand-sorted, and any defects are removed. It is also turned regularly to ensure that it dries evenly and consistently. At midday, the coffee is covered to protect it from full sun. It is also covered overnight to prevent damage from morning dew. Once the coffee is dry it is rested in parchment until it is ready for export. Aroresa is a fine example of the distinctive and unique nature of coffee produced in this region.
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Country: Brazil State: Bahia Region: Chapada Diamantina Town: Mucugê Altitude: 1,150m above sea level Variety: Catuaí Processing: Natural Owner: Borré Family Awards: Cup of Excellence 2015 #15 Sourced Through: Melbourne Coffee Merchants ---
Fazenda Progresso is a beautiful farm nestled in the Chapada Diamatina mountain range in the heart of Bahia. The farm is surrounded by the Chapada Diamantina National Park, known for its mountainous cliff formations (Chapada) and 19th century diamond mining (Diamantina).
The history of Fazenda Progresso dates back to 1984, when the Borré family migrated from southern Brazil to the northeast and purchased some land in the municipality of Ibicoara, near the town of Mucugê. In the early years, the family tried growing crops such as soybeans, wheat, and English potatoes. The potatoes turned out to be an incredibly successful crop, stimulating investments and making the family one of the largest producers of potatoes in Brazil!
In 2005, the Borré family sought to diversify the activities on their land, and so began to focus on coffee. As MCM learnt when they first met the family, when they commit to a new project, they seek to do it to the very highest possible standard. Their work with coffee is no exception. The family’s commitment to producing exceptional coffee has been unwavering over the last decade. They have sought advice from some of the most respected professionals in the field, including Silvio Leite, founder of the Cup of Excellence and president of the Brazil Specialty Coffee Association, with 30 years’ experience in coffee grading, tasting, and quality control.
The Borré family has invested heavily to ensure that they have the very best infrastructure to process coffee, which allows them to control quality every step of the way, from picking right through to export. They have a dedicated quality control lab with a talented cupping team headed up by Ednaldo Nascimento (AKA ‘Gandula’—nicknamed after the boy that replaces the ball during a soccer match)! Gandula and his team assess every lot of coffee produced and ensure that the quality is the very best it can be.
The Borrés are very hands-on in their approach to managing the farm. They are extremely professional in the way they conduct their business, and they take great care to create an excellent work environment for their staff. Throughout the year, there are around 200 permanent staff members on the farm, and this number grows to 650 during the harvest. Many of these harvest workers return every year, and all are provided with daily bus transportation and food.
In total, 700 hectares of the property are dedicated to coffee; this land is divided up into different plots, which are processed separately. Over time, the family has worked out the optimum way to plant coffee trees in order to maximise productivity, with 50 centimetres between each tree and three metres between each row of trees.This year we have purchased coffee from four different plots on the property; each is extremely unique in its profile, and all are exceptional!
Historically all of the coffee at Fazenda Progresso was processed using the pulped natural method, but in 2017 Fabiano started to experiment with naturally processed coffee, and the results have been exceptional. This lot is a natural processed lot from the farm, which was carefully hand-picked by a specially trained team in August. The cherries were selected at the peak of ripeness, and then carefully dried on meticulously clean patios in the sun, and turned regularly to ensure they dried evenly. When the cherry was almost purple, the dried fruit skin and parchment was taken off with a mechanical huller at Progresso’s mill. The coffee was then rested until ready for export.
The Borré family business has always been managed and directed by family members and is now in its third generation of operation. Fabiano Borré looks after everything to do with the coffee side of the business. He is young, focused and very motivated to produce the very best coffee he can. You can read an interview with Fabiano Borré here.
“Working with something so sensitive, so changeable, involving the most varied areas of knowledge and then get to share all this with incredible people… it’s amazing. That’s why I choose coffee!” – Fabiano Borré
The Borré family takes great care to protect and preserve the ecological health of their area. Water is conserved and meteorological stations are positioned throughout the farm to optimise irrigation and ensure the trees get the right amount of water. Cascara pulp from processing is composted (along with potato wastage, which is very high in potassium and great for coffee trees!) and used to fertilise trees throughout the plantation.
In 2015, for the first time, the Borré family entered their coffee into the Cup of Excellence competition. It placed 15th—a fantastic achievement and testament to the hard work, resources, and focus that have been put into producing exceptional coffee.
We have been roasting coffee from Long Miles since 2014 - when our head roaster Adam visited them in person in the beautiful hills of Burundi. We had heard amazing things about what they were accomplishing in terms of both quality and the prices paid to the growers - it was all true - and then some. They are truly re-inventing both what Burundian coffee can be and what a transparent, premium based and sustainable coffee chain means. From Adam, in regards to one of his career highlights:
"It’d be from my first origin trip, walking down a dirt road into the Long Miles Coffee Project Bukeye washing station in the hills of Kayanza, Burundi. It was the end of a long day and the air was thick with the aromas of cherry pulp, fermentation and coffee flowers. Unforgettable."
This coffee is grown and produced by farming families in the northern province of Ngozi, a stone’s throw away from the Rwandan border. The Nyamuswaga river runs through these neighbouring coffee hills, turning much of the surrounding landscape into a lush wetland. Bananas, maize, potatoes, beans, cassava, sweet potatoes and peas can be found growing alongside coffee, wrapping the hill in every imaginable shade of green. More than 1533 farming families from 20 nearby coffee hills deliver their cherries to this collection point. While women make up only 32% of the producers who contributed to this coffee, they are without question the thread that holds coffee farming communities together in Burundi. They work incredibly hard- hand tilling the soil, growing, harvesting, sorting and hauling multiple crops- not just coffee. They often do it with a baby on their back or a child at their hip.
A farmer might walk as far as 8km on narrow dirt footpaths carrying coffee cherries on their head to reach this collection point. There are a pre-selection area and floating station at this collection point where their coffee cherries are taken to be sorted and floated once again. Any underdeveloped, low- density or insect-damaged cherries will float to the top and are easily skimmed off. The cherries that rise to the top ('floats') are bought at a lower price, their quality immediately separated from the others then processed and sold as a lower grade coffee. After each farmer’s cherries have been selected, weighed and their contribution recorded, this coffee is laid out in a single layer on traditional African raised beds to dry in its whole fruit. The cherries are then meticulously hand-sorted for colour, ripeness and insect damage by a team of pickers. The drying cherries are rotated continuously throughout the day and covered when the sun’s rays are too intense when it’s raining and overnight. Commitment to the perfect moisture level (10-11%) means coffee spends 20-30 days slow drying, depending on the weather conditions, soaking up as much of the hot East African sun as possible. Bonuses are paid to farming families in the form of a second payment at the end of the export year- before the next harvest season opens.
"We are a small American family living in Burundi, which is smack dab in the heart of east Africa. We are passionate about producing amazing coffee and caring for the well-being of the coffee farmers who grow it. We weren’t always coffee producers. First, we were a family with a dream.
Our dream was that one day we could facilitate direct and meaningful relationships between coffee roasters and coffee growers by producing great coffee and telling the story of the farmers who grow it. If we could do that, then the local farming community would thrive and the world would gain the gift of great Burundi coffee.
After some time sourcing coffee in Burundi, we realized that the only way we could see our dream come true was to build a washing station. That way, we could control the coffee quality and the price the farmers were given for their coffee. In our first season, with the help of our friends and devoted blog readers, we sold all the coffee before it even hit the drying tables. This overwhelming support allowed us to pay our farmers months before any other washing station in our area, and we quickly became established as a vital part of the community.
Living as a family in this part of Africa isn’t always easy, and sometimes we share the raw and honest truth about what that’s like on our blog. We rattle on about our Faith, raising boys in Africa and the expat life. We also share the stories of our coffee farmers, what it’s like at our washing stations and how we brew our morning coffee. So, if you want the real deal about life, hit that blog button.
If you are a roaster and would like to contact us about building a relationship with our family that works for both you and our farmers, please hit the contact button. If you are a lover of coffee or Africa or travel or adventure and you just want to connect with us, we’d love to hear from you too.
'Murakoze cane' (thank you very much),
The Carlson Family (Ben, Kristy, Myles, Neo, and Ariana)"
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Sitio Tejuco Preto (Natural) - Brazil
Raspberry lollies, honey and almonds.
Country: Brazil Region: Mantiqueira de Minas State: Minas Gerais Altitude: 1,150 masl Variety: Red Catuaí Processing: Natural Grower: Thiago Souza Sourced Through: Southland Merchants
Sitio Tejuco Preto is managed by Thiago Souza - who is the third generation of his family to grow coffee. His grandfather started coffee production in an attempt to add income to the family and he got successful.
“Since then my parents have also been involved in coffee production and this activity has brought all of us to the coffee culture. Our family has always produced specialty coffees but never knew the real potential quality they have in hands. We achieve a lot in quality and processing, but we are always looking for process improvement and high quality production."
Thiago finished high school, decided to go to Math University but didn’t enjoy, so after a year he went back to his parents' house and started to work with them on the field. After a year working there, he started liking coffee and seeking to learn more. “I fell in love with the entire coffee production chain and each day I'm more in love with the connections that coffee gives us”, Thiago says.
Mantiqueira de Minas region is located in the southern part of Minas Gerais state, a region naturally gifted with unique conditions for the production of specialty coffees, with fertile soils, a predominance of sunlight and high elevations that vary between 900 and 1, 500 meters. An area with exceptional terroir, producing singular coffees that year after year are prized in renowned coffee quality competitions like the Cup of Excellence, it encompasses the municipalities of Cristina, Olímpio Noronha, Lambari, Santa Rita do Sapucaí, among others and apart from Mantiqueira itself. Mantiqueira de Minas is part of the Serra da Mantiqueira micro-region, which comprises over 7,000 coffee growers with an estimated output of 1 million bags; the first in Brazil to obtain the Geographical Indication seal for coffee in 2011, which indicates that coffees produced in this region have unique qualities and features that are essentially attributed to their origin.
Nadia and Andre were born and raised in Brazil. In 2003 they established their export company and got involved in the coffee industry building a close relationship with local producers. Realising their dream of living in Australia, with its flourishing coffee culture, great people and breathtaking landscapes, Nadia and Andre moved to Adelaide in 2017 with their three children.
This tiny 400kg Geisha micro-lot is from a farm called Alasitas which is located in the colony of Bolinda, which lies in a lush, steep mountain valley around 10 kilometres outside of the town of Caranavi. Bolinda was founded 52 years ago and was once known as ‘Bolivia Linda’ or ‘Beautiful Bolivia’. Over the years this name was shortened to Bolinda, and it is now one of the larger settlements in the area.
Las Alasitas is owned by the Rodriguez family. The Rodriguez family has a family business called Agricafe, that produces coffee from its own farms, and sources quality micro-lots from small producers in the Yungas region. The trio’s mission is to build the production of, and market for, Bolivian specialty coffee.
Coffee production in Bolivia is, and always has been, very small. Pedro began his journey in coffee by working with small producers in Caranavi, building a wet mill to process their coffee, and educating producers to selectively handpick their cherries. He also started to process small micro-lots from each of the producers, and because of the unique combination of heirloom varieties, rich soil and incredibly high altitudes, the results were outstanding.
However, despite increased international recognition for its quality, coffee production in Bolivia began to rapidly decline over a very short period of time for many reasons. Some farmers switched to coca – grown for the drug trade and illegal to produce in Caranavi – because it provided them with a high year-round income. For those still in coffee, their yields were also declining as a result of ageing coffee plantations, unsophisticated farming techniques, and leaf rust. The combination of these factors resulted in the nation’s coffee production decline by more than half.
When MCM started buying coffee in Bolivia 2010, annual production was 70,000 bags. In 2016 it was a devastating 22,000 bags
In 2012, as leaf rust started to obliterate the production in many small farms, Pedro and his family began to invest in their own plantations, fearing that coffee production in Bolivia would disappear completely. This, they recognised was critical to guarantee a minimum level of supply and thus ensure the future sustainability of their business. They acquired land in Caranavi near their Buena Vista mill and created their first farm, Finca La Linda. “This is where the dream started,” Pedro says.
Today Agricafe has 12 farms and around 130 hectares of coffee under the banner of ‘Fincas Los Rodriguez’. Seven of these are in Caranavi, in the department of La Paz, and the remaining five are in Samaipata, in the department of Santa Cruz in Bolivia’s east.
Seven of the Finacas Los Rodriguez farms are in Caranavi, in the department of La Paz, and the remaining five are in Samaipata, in the department of Santa Cruz in Bolivia’s east.
The Rodriguez family’s approach to coffee production has been extremely methodical, innovative and scientific. Along the way, they consulted leading specialty coffee agronomists from around the world to help them produce exceptional coffee and build sustainable and healthy farms. A wide range of varieties have been trialed, along with different farming techniques, to optimise quality and output. They have carefully documented their findings at every step of the way and continue to innovate and invest in improvements to produce the very best quality coffee they can.
The Rodriguez farms are some of the most organised and beautiful MCM have come across. Coffee is well spaced in neat rows and meticulously planted by variety, making picking and lot separation much easier to manage than on more traditional farms in the region. The farms are vibrant, luscious and healthy, and produce exceptional quality and yields.
Alasitas was planted in 2014 and is 20 hectares in size, nearly 16 of which are planted with coffee. The farm sits at about 1,600-1,650 metres above sea level. This high altitude helps to ensure a slow maturation of the cherry because of the stable night-time temperature and mild day temperatures. The slow maturation leads to an increased concentration of sugars in the cherry and bean, which in turn helps to produce a sweeter cup of coffee.
Pedro and his family have invested a lot of time and effort into trying to make this a ‘model’ farm that other producers in the area can learn from.
Pedro and his family have invested a lot of time and effort into trying to make each of their plantations a ‘model’ farm that other producers in the area can learn from. Their learnings have also been shared with local producers through a training program that the family has developed called Sol de la Mañana.
At La Linda, Pedro hires pickers from the Bolinda community to carefully handpick the coffee during the harvest. These pickers are trained to select only the very ripest cherries, and multiple passes are made through the farm throughout the harvest to ensure the coffee is picked at its prime.
These crates ensure the coffee is not damaged during transport and also allows the coffee to breathe, preventing unwanted early fermentation.
This coffee was carefully picked and processed on the same day at the Rodriguez family’s Buena Vista Mill. After being weighed it was carefully sorted by weight using water and floaters were removed. It was then pulped and ‘dry fermented’ without water for around 48 hours. The coffee was then dried slowly and carefully in a mechanical dryer (for around 75 hours with temperatures no higher than 40 ˚C). When the coffee reached 16 % humidity it was rested for 5 hours in a silo, and then carefully dried until it reached 11.5% humidity.
Once the coffee was dry, it was transported to La Paz where it was rested, and then milled Agricafe’s dry mill, La Luna. At this state-of-the-art mill, the coffee is meticulously hulled and sorted using machinery and also a team of sorters who carefully sort the coffee by hand under UV and natural light. The mill is one of the cleanest and most impressive MCM have seen- you can read more about it here.
Alasitas means “Buy Me” in the local Aymara native language. The name comes from a festival called Alasitas, which is a festival of desires and honours the Andean god of abundance.
Starting at noon on the 24th of January every year (which also happens to be Pedro Pablo’s birthday!) Bolivia’s capital, La Paz, comes alive with a sense of promise, wishfulness and whimsy. The scene may seem strange to someone unfamiliar with this cultural event that has its roots in pre-Colombian Aymara traditions and has evolved over the centuries to incorporate elements of Catholicism and Western consumerism, but to locals, Alasitas is an important fixture in their calendar.
During the festival, thousands flock to La Paz to buy miniature items – cars, hours, university degrees, suitcases full of cash, potential spouses – of everything they want in the coming year. It can be something material, or something that brings luck – like a chicken that will help you find love, or a frog that will bring you good fortune. All miniatures are blessed by a Yatiri (a spiritual leader in Aymara culture) and offered to the Ekeko, the Andean god of abundance. Miniatures are exchanged with family and friends, in a hope that their dreams will be realised, and in turn, you will also be blessed with abundance.
Reciprocity is at the heart of the Alasitas festivals and it is for this reason that it is a fitting name for the farm. The Alasitas farm is one of the largest the Rodriguez’s own in Caranavi and was created with the vision of becoming a model farm local coffee growers could learn from, and be inspired by, thus helping them realise the vast potential of their land and crops.
Read about the Sol de la Mañana program here and Pedro Rodgriguez here and about Bolivian coffee more generally here.
Unique coffee, produced ethically, traded transparently.
This coffee is the result of a research project and public-private sector partnership in Uganda aimed at improving the food security of coffee growers and their families through increasing the quality of their coffee and creating access to high value export markets. Our head roaster Adam was privileged enough to be part of the project team and with two other Adelaidians he met 'on the ground' - Eddy and Daniel - (and the immeasurable support of many more) went on to co-found Intersection Traders in order to bring the amazing coffee that has resulted to Australia. In doing so he's had the opportunity to take what he has learned working in specialty coffee over the years and, working with researchers and farmers on the ground - excuse the pun - 'practise what we preach'.
The coffee was grown on the slopes of Mt Elgon - a dormant volcano located in Kapchorwa in the east of Uganda. Literally translated from the local dialect as ‘Home of Friends’, Kapchorwa has a long history of arabica coffee production and is linked directly to coffee producers in Kenya - located on a smaller portion of the very same Mt Elgon and producing some of the highest quality coffee on the market. With strong diurnal temperature variation and two rainy seasons the region possesses optimal conditions for slow coffee development and an amazing environment of waterfalls and lush vegetation. Despite this ability to grow incredibly high quality coffee, exports of Ugandan coffee have previously only been to the commodity market - due mostly to a lack of access to specialty markets, knowledge or pre-financing and a decentralised post-harvest supply chain. All of which we are working to overcome.
Intersection Traders approached the development of a new specialty coffee program in Uganda with an explicit focus on ensuring that everybody engaged in the value chain would receive substantial improvements in income. Working with researchers at universities in Australia, Uganda and the Netherlands, they’ve trialled and implemented a novel contracting approach that allows coffee pickers and growers to be involved in a transparent and higher-paying harvesting program based around picking quality. From the outset they have explicitly sought to work primarily with youth and women in order to provide more opportunities to disadvantaged groups; furthermore in 2019, working with the local growers’ society they developed the community owned Bugimotwa washing station - giving producers access to the infrastructure and scale required to substantially increase volumes, with an aim to establish more stations in future years along with training in agronomy.
After passing our quality assessment stage (which occurs within eight hours of cherries being picked) the coffee is floated and then for the washed lots it is pulped (using well maintained and clean equiptment) and then fermented submerged for thirty six hours, after which the coffee is washed twice then laid on raised drying beds. The naturals are placed on the drying beds in thin layers diretly after floating with layers being built-up as the coffee dries. The coffee is dried slowly with meticulous stirring for two to four weeks until it reaches eleven percent moisture, after which it is stored in GrainPro until dry milling.