I’ve spent the last week in Bolivia, and instead of doing a day blog diary while I was there, I decided I wanted to do it once I got home, time to consider and ponder on the long flight home.
The reason for the trip was to go spend some time and better understand the farm Machacarmarca. This farm is one of our most important coffees, and is the first that we buy the entire production from. I also found out that we have been the only buyer since the farm produced commercially, which got me super excited.
The farm, is based is the Sud (south) Yungas region near to the town of Chulumani. The size of more than 100 hectors and has a history of growing oranges and coffee but for personal consumption. In the late 90’s there was a disease that attacked the orange / lemon and grapefruit trees that wipes out the crop. With a need for the land to be worked and to be able to offer work to the local community, it was decided something needed to be commercially planted.
The Chulumani region is notorious with the growing of the coca leaf. It is legal within Bolivia to grow coca for chewing, and it is a traditional thing to partake in. It suppresses hunger, gives energy and can have benefits with altitude sickness. In fact on this first day I took some coca tea that really helped me feel better from my altitude sickness.
Anyway it was decided to plant some more coffee and double the production of coffee from three hectares to around 6 hectares. More could be planted but without impacting on the farm as it is and lowering the quality. There is a long term plan in place to change this gradually and with care.
The first harvest of this coffee was in 2007 and was the entire lot that was put into the cup of excellence. This was the lot that I bought (13 x 69kg bags) which came 25 out of 26 but ended the 15th most expensive. I was part of that jury that year, and this was in both cupping’s my favourite coffee, and today still stands as one of my all time favourite coffees.
Anyway not much of a diary so far. I arrived early on the Sunday morning and spent most of the day sleeping and getting used to the altitude. I did go out to tour the city and got to see some amazing sights, here are some of the photos.
Everyday will come with a thing I learnt as this trip was all about learning. Trivia tip no.1 Coca leaves have medicinal uses and a cultural place in Bolivia history, and can not be looked at black or white.
Coming tomorrow the trip to the farm.