Close

Bolivia’s Back!

A country that has so, so much going for it in terms of quality coffee production, but that has had the deck stacked against it in so many ways for the past 20 years. I <3 Bolivia!

Regular readers of this blog will know that I love the country and the coffee of Bolivia. If you’re not sure, check out this video below I delivered on the tamper tantrum tour of Asia presented in Taiwan:

The potential and the quality of the coffee is undeniable, but the quantity of the coffee has been on the decline for years.

Despite this, we have been working hard with the Rodriguez family to promote and increase production. Bolivia’s past is interesting although it’s a commercially viable coffee exporting country, it’s production has always been small. The conditions, although challenging, are exceptional for growing coffee, and this produces a very rich agriculture built on a long history of farming on a very difficult and difficult terrain. In 1991, there was a government led initiative to encourage the endogenous population to participate in coffee farming, which led to a fractured system counter-intuitive to quality. The arrival of the Cup of Excellence Program in 2004 allowed buyers to find the quality coffee for which Bolivia was already known, but that had become difficult to source.

The main problem for producers was (and, to some extent, still is) that they are unable to make enough money to be sustainable. To subsidize their income, they looked to other crops, mainly coca (the crop that is used to produce cocaine, legal in Bolivia). Encouraged by the government, coca is four times more profitable and is much easier to grow than coffee, and this sadly led to coffee producers turning their back on coffee or, even worse, abandoning their farms.

Coca farming involves a lot of chemicals and fertilisers that are not good to the soil and land, so farming coca leads to the soil being infertile and overworked. Over time, coca-farmed land is unusable for any crop. Bolivian governmental support for growing coca has led to a break-down of relations with the USA, who had previously supported Bolivian agriculture and economy in the early 2000s. The resulting war on drugs in Bolivia has since led to many initiatives to help coffee farmers, with things like the Cup of Excellence being financially supported by USAID.

As if these difficulties weren’t enough to overcome, the arrival of leaf rust in 2013 (a fungus that attacks the leaves of a coffee tree and makes it impossible photosynthesize) meant that the country lost over 50% of its production that year alone. The combination of both government policy and leaf rust means that Bolivia’s coffee production has dropped by over 70 % in the past ten years, leaving the county a minor player in the world of coffee.

This means that to find the very best coffees from Bolivia, we have to pay a much higher than normal price compared to other coffee producing countries—but this isn’t a bad thing. The small volumes available and current demand for great coffees mean that, for once, coffee producers are on the front foot.

The Rodriguez family own their own mills, processing and exporting coffee for farmers in the Caranarvi and Sud Yungas region. The family have been sourcing coffee from small coffee producers for three decades, but the steady decline of coffee production has put the sustainability of their export business in jeopardy. Without the intervention of people like the Rodriguez family, however, the future of coffee production in Bolivia is at risk of disappearing.

In 2014, the Rodriguez family bought a number of farms in Caranavi region to showcase their practices and educate other producers in sustainable farming, as well as increasing the overall volume at their mills. One of the farms is La Linda and there are a number of varietal and processing experiments going on.

Bolivia La Linda Experimental Washed Caturra (£7.50)
This is a wonderfully sweet and fruity coffee, raspberry Starburst meets sweet orange with red apple on the finish. Super delicious and a shining example of the wonderful things a bit of experimentation can do.

Bolivia La Linda Washed Caturra (£7.50)
Think sparkling white wine with some candied lemon around the edge of the glass, then on the aftertaste pineapple cubes. A deliciously fruity and bright coffee.

Bolivia La Linda Pulped Natural Longberry (£10.00)
Those candied lemon pieces that are covered in white sugar with a clean and delicate finish of rosewater and floral notes.

Bolivia La Linda Natural Caturra (£8.00)
This is a liquid rhubarb and custard sweet, with a bit of dark rum thrown in for fun! A really creamy and boozy coffee.

And some old favorties return too, and many more to come over the coming weeks!

Bolivia Teodocio Mamani Washed (£7.00)
Expect a lovely fruit sweetness, with orange jelly wobble mid-palate that finishes with peach juice.

33953436006_9e9400f525_k

 

Viva Bolivia!!

Boing Boing It’s Easter Time

Want to make sure you have cawfee in the house over Easter? READ THIS!

The time of year where I feel the need to dress up as a big red bunny and bounce around the roastery is heeeere! But unfortunately for you it’s not safe for me to do that and roast coffee so I’m afraid we’re going to have to close for 2 days while I have my fun 😝

Easter

In all seriousness the Easter bank holiday weekend is coming up and so we aren’t going to be at work on Friday, April 14th or Monday, April 17th. And it’s not just us that are taking time off, no no no not just lazy Hasbean, Royal Mail and FedEx are doing the same.

What does all this mean for you? It means that you might need to plan ahead a little with your coffee ordering. Here’s a quick breakdown of our last recommended ordering dates to receive your coffee for the Easter weekend…

Royal Mail

First Class: Wednesday, April 12th
Second Class: Monday, April 10th
Special Delivery (Mon-Fri): Wednesday, April 12th
Special Delivery (Saturday): Thursday, April 13th

FedEx

Economy (1-3 Days, Mon-Fri): Monday, April 10th
UK Courier Pack: Tuesday, April 11th
Next Day (Mon-Fri): Wednesday, April 12th

We’re going to need your order before 1300hrs on those days to get it out the door the same day. We roast to order and FedEx/Royal Mail collect from us at 1600hrs, those 3 hours are the quickest we can take your order from placed to ready to roll.

For more information please see the page on our website that’s all about Easter https://www.hasbean.co.uk/pages/easter-2017

We don’t want you to be without coffee this bank holiday weekend and will of course do all we can to keep you caffeinated, if you have any questions about Easter ordering (or anything else!) please get in touch.

From all at Team Hasbean, Happy Easter!

We’re opening a shop

Late last year, we got an email from UNIQLO UK wanting to know if we’d be interested in opening up a pop-up on the third floor of their flagship Oxford St shop – and the answer was definitely yes.

Way back when – and I mean when, it was 1999 – I was roasting coffee on an alpenroast home roaster and selling three 250g bags of coffee a week at the Stafford market when I remembered Snapes, the coffee shop in Wolverhampton I loved so much when I was little, and how the ability to offer a cup of coffee is a big thing for a roaster. We found a shop in Stafford town centre – very small and in an awful location – but cheap and affordable.

It was a slog opening that first shop in 2000 – the whole shop needed to be refit as a café, and I was still working my “real” job while trying to make coffee my main job – but it was ours. It wasn’t fancy-fancy (it did have a bright red room in front and a funky electric blue room in back) and, although we didn’t sell lots of coffee or convert the good people of Stafford to specialty, we did kind of achieve our goal – it was through the shop that I found my first 2kg roaster and Pete, the guy who built the first-ever Hasbean.co.uk. The day the online shop launched, I sold more coffee than I had the whole week on the market stall.

As you can guess (or already know because I’ve told this story so many times) we closed the shop in 2003 and focused on building the webshop and roastery, so the rest is pretty much history but I am finding myself thinking about that first (and only) shop we’ve ever had more and more for reasons you’re about to figure out.

Late last year, we got an email from UNIQLO UK wanting to know if we’d be interested in opening up a pop-up on the third floor of their flagship Oxford St shop – and the answer was definitely yes. 14 years is a long time to go without having a shop but I’m excited that this is happening – for quite a while now we’ve thought about how we might present coffee differently in a shop of our own, so when UNIQLO’s email arrived, it was a no brainer.

[H]AND by Hasbean is what we’ve put together for the space – it’s all about collaboration and service not sales (even if it pains me to say it) and we’re all pretty excited about how things are coming together in time for tomorrow’s opening.

We’re only serving filter coffee (Hasbean obviously) tea from Lalani & Co, brewed with the fancy new Mix, the Tsubambe & Kalita collection, and Lalani’s own Aurora brewer which is made just up the road in Stoke-on-Trent (Roland’s homeland), but there will also be retail coffee, tea, and equipment available on site for those who want to do things at home

It’s also been nice to bring back a familiar face – Pete Williams (not the Pete who built the site, but familiar to those who remember him from 3fe and WBC) is running the ship

Anywho I could bore you with all the details here, or I can point you in the direction of the shiny new website we have for [H]AND (www.madebyhandcoffee.com) – drop in and say hello!

Costa Rica La Pira

Don Carlos is an eccentric, and an innovator and an experimenter. He doesn’t follow the rules he makes them–listen to our chat as we walked around the farm earlier this year.

From this January’s trip, one of the highlights for me was to meet up with Don Carlos from Finca la Pira in Tarrazu, Costa Rica.

You see Don Carlos is an eccentric, and an innovator and an experimenter. He doesn’t follow the rules he makes them.

The walk around was lots of fun, and I recorded our conversations, so you can share a little of the trip here.


You can also see the Flickr pictures here 

Brew Guides

Not sure how to brew? Luckily for you, there are GUIDES!

Following on from the coffee 101 blog post, I’m still looking at the newbies with the new equipment for Christmas, who might be struggling to get the best out of their new kit.

Fear not, I’m here to help! Of course coffee101 is a good place to start, but doesn’t get into the nitty gritty of brewing the stuff called coffee…

sidebar-brewguides

So, I’m here to remind you about our lovely brew guides. Take a look at them all here at this link, from Vac pot to aeropress, all your needs covered!

Coffee 101

Happy new year to old friends, I hope that you got all the coffee gifts you wished over the festive period. Welcome also to new people finding us here, I know that at this time of year we see an influx of new coffee converts, people who were lucky enough to get equipment, subscriptions and coffee as gifts and are researching their new hobby.

It also means this time of year we get hit with lots of emails from new people with lots of new people questions. We are of course always happy to field these (well Chris and Katie are) but we also know theres lots of question people don’t ask, as they “should know”.

photo-05-12-2016-14-20-50-1024x683

We disagree, theres no silly questions, but to get around this years ago I created a thing called coffee 101. Coffee 101 is a basic introduction to the fundamentals of coffee. A daily email over 10 days covering everything from the history of coffee, to how to get the best out of your brewing. Its a foundation introduction to getting the best out of your new found interest.

Its free to sign up and there really is no catch, its my gift back to the world (and to temp you we even put some special offers in there too) and to inspire you to find out more about your favourite beverage.

Would love to hear your feedback on the updated site and emails and anything you think we may have missed.

http://www.coffee101.co.uk