OK sorry for the slight delay in finishing off this blog diary, its a few weeks now since I left Bolivia but still in my mind its incredibly fresh.
Day 5 was leaving the farm and going back to La Paz to see the milling / warehousing and to enjoy a cupping.
The exporters anditradecoffee who were my hosts on the trip, were amazing, they put together an awesome program for me and I am incredibly grateful to them. This day was all about seeing what they do and visiting there facility. It was also a chance to cup some new crop coffees that was very exciting.
The offices are in the main down town part of the city very close to the hotel that I was stopping at. The warehouse / mill is in El Alto which is very close to the airport. This is at 4000 meters above sea level and here you can really feel it, the air is very thin. So thin that when you are coming in to land you just do not slow down when you hit the runway and when taking off its the longest run, because the air is so thin.
Now all of this altitude talk is going somewhere, cupping at this altitude effect the extraction of the coffee and perceptions of the coffee. Also as silly as it sounds by slurping the coffee it effects breathing (although not in a big way) all these things come together and you have to keep in mind.
Everything here is hand sorted to make sure only the best coffee goes through to our cups. The facility is amazingly clean and tidy and really smart. This is equally important as the farm doing a good job in the chain.
The cupping was great fun, a bling table, and hidden on the table of eight I knew the new crop Machacarmarca was there, the rest were new coffees for me to take a look at.
From the table number one, two and three were all very solid good coffees but very simular in profile and taste, were all from the same farm, just different sections, very pleased they scored 85 86 and 85. Number 4 was very solid 87 and again from the same region as the first three. Number 5 and 6 were amazing, like 92 and 94 amazing, really good but similar, from the same farm just two lots that I liked a lot and we are hoping to secure for this year. The last two posed a problem I knew by this point one of them had to be the Machacarmarca but I couldn’t decide so I said both in the end. It turned out they tried to play a trick on me and placed it on twice. Feeling very smug with my self we all really agreed on our cupping scores. But another example of how good Bolivian coffee can be.
So the end of the trip, and a great one at that, good people good coffee, and for me the best coffee trip I have ever had, by a long stick, I love this place.