We first stocked this coffee last year from the Cup of Excellence, and it very quickly became our favourite coffee of that year. It also proved to be one of your overall favourites regardless of its Cup of Excellence price premium.
We met Mario who owns the farm with his wife Maria in Corico on the Friday of the 2007 competition when we went to an awards ceremony for the coffees that had made it to the international jury finals. We didn't know who had won or which coffees we had cupped, just that these guys were behind them. It was a great chance to meet the farmers, as I had an early flight booked and would not be at the presentation day on the Saturday.
The meeting place was in something that I can only compare to a greenhouse. The heat was the worst I've ever experienced. A week of travelling around the local area, crammed with far more work than is good for anyone and some serious heat took its toll. I had to go outside and grab some fresh air. Whilst there I got chatting to one of the farmers who then disappeared to kindly get me a bottle of water, which was one of the best things I could have wished for at the time. We chatted some more, swapped business cards and that was that. When he got his certificate, I asked if he minded me having a photo taken with him, and wished him the best for following day.
Once back home, I looked through my cupping scores and decided what I was going to go for as my number one lot of choice in the auction. This coffee was it. I also decided it didn't matter how much this coffee cost, we were going to secure it. It was only after looking through my business cards that I found out it was Mario who I had met and got on with so well. Since then we have exchanged emails and I really like Mario. They were also really pleased that we were the ones to secure the lot. I have found that it means more when you get to know the individuals involved with coffee, and it seems to work both ways too.
So taking advantage of this special relationship, with the help of our importers who work with exporters and are fluent Spanish speakers, I started to speak with Mario to see if we could secure the coffee for this year. This is our first world exclusive coffee where we have bought all of the coffee from the farm. It is only available at Has Bean. We have also tied in some incentives to maintain and improve quality, and paid a great price that is way above the fair trade price, directly into Mario's hands.
This coffee is very complete in the cup. It just has the most wonderful sweetness, but not too much, a great dark chocolate and rich drinking chocolate. But that's not all, it has just enough green grape acidity too, though not enough to dominate the cup. It has body, big bold body in fact with a spicy aftertaste. I'm making this sound like a wonderful coffee, or at least I hope this is the case because that is precisely what it is, simply wonderful. It is certainly not too big a claim to make in saying this is one of the best coffees that I have ever had. Very special single estate espresso, a wonderful filter and a special French press. That's what happens with good coffee, it's good at everything.
Farm: Machacamarca BV Farmer: Maria and Mario Nina Lupe del Rosario Andrade Rank: 25 City: Chulumani Region: Sud-Yungas Country: Bolivia Farm Size: 67.00 Hectares Coffee growing area: 5.00 Hectares Altitude: 1790 masl Variety: Criollo (80%), Caturra (20%) Type of Soil: Clay Average Annual Rainfall: 1,790 mm Type of Shade: Hardwoods, citrus Weeding: Twice per year Pruning: Sanitary pruning Processing System: On-site wet processing, solar drying