Episode 587: Bolivia Las Alasitas Washed Longberry

Las Alasitas is the biggest farm of Fincas Buena Vista in Caranavi where, every year, a festival is held in honour of Ekeko (iqiqu), the god of abundance. It has everything in miniature – but in abundance, just like him!

'Buy me!' said Alasitas. And well, we did! It's all in the name...

Las Alasitas (which literally translates to 'buy me' in Aymaran) is owned by the Rodriguez family, who have been doing some awesome things for coffee in Bolivia. They own their own mills, processing and exporting coffee for farmers in the Caranavi and Sud Yungas region. The family has 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, the future of coffee production in Bolivia is at risk of disappearing.

Back in 2014, the Rodriguez family bought land in the Caranavi region to showcase their practices and educate other producers in sustainable farming, as well as increasing the overall volume at their mills.

Caranavi is located just north of the department of La Paz city, 150 kilometres from the capital, and is the central hub of Bolivian coffee production. Its altitude and fertile soils make it perfect for producing brilliant and unique coffees.

The Rodriguez family prepared the land they bought across 20.6 hectares, where they planted Red Caturra, Java and Geisha. They’ve also introduced a sustainable model for the producers who supply them at their mill. They built this on three mantras: economical sustainability, social understanding, and environmental awareness – the Sol de la Mañana program.

The family decided that they could make a change and make things better. They have taken on the challenge of increasing the production of Bolivian coffee by planting their own new coffee plantations. They are currently also developing woodland on their farm to combat the ongoing issue of deforestation. What superstars!

Las Alasitas is a 20.6-hectare farm that's located at 1,550 metres above sea level in the Bolinda colony of Caranavi, Bolivia. Of those 20 hectares, 16 are used to grow coffee.

As far as we can tell, the Longberry varietal (also known as Java) is a Typica-type coffee because of its bean shape, as is the Geisha. Its physical appearance is a uniform seed that is elongated, and it has been described by several of our customers as an 'Ethiopian Long Berry type'.

A true marriage of classic flavours, from the Longberry varietal you'll get a hit of lemon zest and florals, but the Bolivian land it's grown on gives it extra depth and sweetness and reminds me of golden sugar. It finishes with a return to its distant Ethiopian heritage with a clean black tea flavour.

  • Country: Bolivia
  • Region: Yungas
  • Municipality: Caranavi
  • Colony: Bolinda
  • Farm: Las Alasitas
  • Altitude: 1,550 m.a.s.l.
  • Farm size: 20.6 hectares
  • Coffee growing area: 16 hectares
  • Varietal: Longberry (Java)
  • Processing method: Washed
  • GPS: 15º46'43.07"S 67º32'53.06"O

Cupping notes: Lemon zest, floral, golden sugar, black tea

  • Clean cup (1–8): 7
  • Sweetness (1–8): 7
  • Acidity (1–8): 7
  • Mouthfeel (1–8): 6
  • Flavour (1–8): 8
  • Aftertaste (1–8): 6
  • Balance (1–8): 6
  • Overall (1–8): 7
  • Correction (+36): +36
  • Total: (max. 100): 90

Brewing Tip: As this berry is long it will benefit from a slightly finer grind than you would use for a more regularly sized bean. Not as much as you would change things up for something like a Pacamara, but a little tweak finer should set you up for deliciousness.

Roasting Information: Medium - slow this down a little as you go through first and push it through the gap, but don't let it get close to second.

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