Bolivia Coop San Juan
This is a show-stopper of a coffee from Bolivia Cooperativia San Juan. It has been over ten years since we had a Bolivian coffee come through our doors. Let's talk about how special it is.
First of all, it's absolutely delicious.
The aroma is oaky, with notes of fresh bread and sweetness, with a hint of citrus.
The cup is smooth and velvety, with the sweet taste of cordial cherry.
The finish is lingering with notes of milk chocolate and hot cocoa. I'm so pleased to be able to bring this coffee to you.
Bolivia Cooperativa San Juan is grown by 40 farmer members across Caranaví, united to support small family farms and organic, chemical-free methods.
Bolivian coffee faces one of the most arduous overland journeys in the coffee world, passing elevations of 4,000 meters over the top of the Andes before traveling west to the port of Arica on Chile's coast.
Bolivia is South America's only landlocked coffee-producing country and is the smallest exporter of coffee on the continent.
Formidable logistical challenges mean each triumphant arrival of specialty coffee from Bolivia is something to be cherished!
Aroma: Oak, Wheat, Bread, Sweet, Orange/Citrus
Cup: Smooth, Velvety, Cordial Cherry, Very Sweet
Finish: Very Clean, Lingering, Milk Chocolate, Hot Cocoa
About this Coffee
GROWER: 33 farms organized around Cooperativa Agrícola Cafetalera San Juan
REGION: Caranavi, La Paz, Bolivia
ALTITUDE: 1500 meters
PROCESS: Fully washed and sun dried
VARIETY: Typica, Caturra, and Catuai
CERTIFICATIONS: Certified Grown Organic
Cooperativa Agrícola Cafetalera San Juan was formed in 1974 with 40 farmer members across Caranaví united to support small family farms and organic, chemical-free methods. The cooperative started strong; by the mid-2000s, Bolivia was hosting annual Cup of Excellence competitions.
There was a high level of international development interest in the Yungas coffee sector, of which Caranaví is the center. However, cooperative members' productivity declined tremendously from 2006-2017 due to aging trees and falling investments.
That year, Felix Chambi Garcia joined the organization, bringing with him over 16 years of specialty experience as a cupper and member of various other Bolivian cooperatives. Since then, the coop's total production, quality, and diversity of coffees have increased significantly. Felix sees himself as part of Bolivia's younger, renewed generation of coffee lovers—including baristas and roasters—who are fortunate to be in a producing country with such high potential. However, this generation certainly believes there is much ground to cover.
Cooperativa San Juan relies on individual farmers to process their own coffee. Felix has made quality control central to the coop's operations, and his lab in Alto Cochabamba serves as the central control point for all exportation. Parchment lots that don't meet quality requirements are sold domestically rather than abroad.
Harvesting follows a standard protocol: coffee cherry is picked exclusively ripe, floated to sort by density, depulped on small mechanical depulpers, and fermented for 18-24 hours. Once fermentation is complete, the parchment is washed clean in narrow basins and sundried on raised screen beds.
Bolivia is South America's only landlocked coffee-producing country and is the smallest exporter of coffee on the continent. Nevertheless, Biodiversity, soil health, elevation, and progressive leadership in San Juan all work in favor of small farmers seeking sustainable livelihoods with coffee.
Bolivia's terrain and geography are gifted for arabica production, particularly throughout the greater Yungas region, whose mountain ranges connect the low and humid Amazonian basin to the dry Andean altiplano above. The most productive municipality in the Yungas is 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, and challenged by isolation. In addition, Bolivian growers still often don't have processing equipment or transportation of their own, a massive hurdle in such territory. In addition, every Bolivian coffee faces one of the most strenuous overland journeys in the coffee world, passing elevations of 4,000 meters over the top of the Andes before traveling west to the port of Arica on Chile's coast. These formidable logistical challenges mean each successful arrival of specialty coffee from Bolivia is something to be cherished.