In Bolivia, specialty coffee is grown at an altitude of 1,200 to 2,000 metres above sea level and is mostly centred around the province of Caranavi, 3 hours north east of La Paz. Other commercial commodity grade coffees are also grown at altitudes below 1,000 metres in the province of Santa Cruz.
Bolivia is a paradise for micro lots and the average farm area is around 3 to 5 hectares. Bolivian farms are normally run and managed as family businesses where every member of the family contributes at all stages of production. Since the arrival of the Cup of Excellence programme in 2004, Bolivia has opened up to the world and the quality has been improving every year. These small producers have managed to gain international market access and we have been able to develop a fantastic relationship with our exporter and producers from Coroico, Sud-Yungas and Caranavi.
There are also a great number of cooperatives and associations officially linked to the Bolivian Federation of Coffee Growers and Exporters (FECAFEB) now gaining market access abroad.
Bolivia is a landlocked country and exports are typically shipped out of Peru. The country also boasts the world’s most dangerous road, the infamous ‘Death Road’ that connects the Yungas coffee-growing region with the capital, La Paz. For the last 30 years, agricultural trade was transported along this road creating huge bottlenecks and numerous fatal accidents. It took 3 decades and 10 governments to build the new highway that has been operating since 2006, by-passing to the north one of the most dangerous sections of the old 'Death Road'. As a result, this has provided a massive improvement to agricultural transportation and the development of the Yungas region.
The main coffee regions are Caranavi, Coroico, Nor & Sud Yungas, Inquisivi, Provincia Ichilo, Samaipata and Mairana. The main coffee varieties cultivated are Tipica, Catuaí, Criollo, Caturra and Catimor.
The coffee cherries are washed by the wet method and mostly dried on African beds. Depending on the distance of the farm from the nearest mill, coffee cherries may be delivered direct for processing or the coffee may be pulped at the farm, dried and delivered in parchment.
The harvest in Bolivia takes place from March to October. Our selection from each new crop will typically be available from our UK warehouse from February.