Toffee, red apple, white grape.
Located in the Samaipata region of Bolivia, the Samaichacha farm is right next door to our longstanding producing friends at El Fuerte, but it's our very first time offering you one of the coffees from here. If you've been enjoying our Bolivian selection for a while then you may know that quite a few of the farms we buy from in Bolivia (El Fuerte, Alasitas, and La Linda to name a few), are owned by Pedro Rodriguez and his family. They are superstars in the world of Bolivian coffee, we think it's fair to say that the landscape of Bolivian coffee production would look a lot different without Agricafe's phenomenal work. Agricafe initially entered the coffee industry in 1986, when Pedro Rodriguez decided to pursue his passion for agriculture. Now they produce coffee from their own farms in the La Paz and Santa Cruz departments, source high-quality micro-lots from small local producers, and carry out the processing of everything at their state of the art mills.
The steady decline of coffee production in Bolivia has put the sustainability of the family's business in jeopardy. Without the intervention of people like the Rodriguez family, the future of coffee production in Bolivia is at risk of disappearing. It's an expensive place to grow coffee, which means that the specialty market is the only sustainable model – higher quality means that producers can demand higher prices for their harvest. Alongside the exceptional work at their own farms and mills the Rodriguez family run the Sol De La Manana project, which seeks to educate local producers by providing agronomical expertise to improve the quality of their farms, and the Qhatu Café program which sources from small Organic producers to assure them a market for their coffee. In their own words, “In line with our values, it is very important to us to improve Bolivian Coffee culture and to diversify Bolivian coffees. Therefore, we believe we have to work together as a team with local producers of the regions where we produce. We aim for a sustainable coffee production in the long term, and this is why we decided to found two social programs in the area of Caranavi, supporting over 500 families in the region.”
The name Samaipata is derived from the Quechua “samay” meaning to rest, and “pata” meaning elevated place at the top bank of a river. Samaipata isn't a traditional coffee growing region - it's better known for it's vineyards - but it's one that the Rodriguez family have pioneered. The climate of the Samaipata region is temperate, semi-dry in the winter months, and mild with an average annual temperature of 19.9°C. During the winter months, cold fronts called Surazos come from the Argentine Pampas and enter the plains and valleys of Santa Cruz, these cold winds combined with the altitude can reach temperatures below freezing. In the summer the days are warm and the nights cool, this variation in diurnal temperature causes the cherries to take a longer time to ripen and their mucilage becomes very thick. The local soil contains a lot of magnesium, which is great for growing coffee and means that the coffee plants are less susceptible to roja, or other fungi. All of these factors contribute to a very unique taste profile.
A few years ago, following the success at El Fuerte, Pedro's sister Elisa decided she wanted a farm in Samaipata too. She's affectionately known as Chacha, so the land which she bought got called Samai-chacha. She asked the Agricafe team to handle the day to day running of the farm, but ultimately decided she didn't want to keep it. It's no surprise then that she sold the farm to her brother and it effectively became an extension of El Fuerte. However, the family still think of it as her land, so it's still kept it's old name. The staff at Samaichacha have experimented with different coffee plant varieties on the land, planting Bourbon and Caturra (like this lot) as well as some Java - grown here for 7 years now, with the trees producing enough to harvest for 4 years. This year's harvest was trickier than usual because of the impact of Covid-19 but thankfully there were still enough staff available to safely complete the harvest as needed. Once picked, all of the cherry grown locally goes next door to the El Fuerte mill to be processed.
Processing is one of the many things that the Rodriguez family do exceptionally well and they run a very strict, controlled environment that is thoughtful and thorough. In recent years they have been focused on ways to innovate their processing methods to explore the range of flavours inherent to Bolivian coffee. They have looked to other coffee-producing countries for inspiration, as well as other industries such as winemaking. Normally processing methods are led by what's cheap and easy to carry out locally, the Rodriguez family's way of doing things is right at the other end of the spectrum, doing difficult things to see what's possible. They are not seeking to mimic the flavour profiles of other well-known producing countries or processing methods, making their coffees taste like other traditional Naturals or Honeys for example, rather they want them to be noticeably Bolivian and celebrate the terroir of the different regions they are growing in. They believe that this extra effort is worthwhile for the exploration of what's possible with Bolivian coffee, and consequently expanding it's market in the specialty world. For the most part, this is a traditional Bolivian Washed coffee, which means that the cherries are mechanically depulped and then put through a secondary mechanical scrubber to remove all the mucilage. The innovation here comes in the form of a fairly long 48 hours in water to ferment between the depulping and scrubbing stages. All these steps mean you're left with a very clean bean going into the drying stage.
Lots of sweet toffee fills this cup, but with a gentle acidity of red apple balancing it out. It finishes with a little burst of white grape before that sweet toffee returns for the long, rolling aftertaste.
- Country: Bolivia
- Province: Aguarica
- Region: Samaipata
- Farm: Samaichacha
- Producer: Los Rodriguez
- Altitude: 1,650 m.a.s.l.
- Variety: Red Caturra
- Process: Mechanically washed
Toffee, red apple, white grape
Clean cup (1–8): 6
Sweetness (1–8): 7
Acidity (1–8): 6
Mouthfeel (1–8): 6.5
Flavour (1–8): 6.5
Aftertaste (1–8): 6.5
Balance (1–8): 6.5
Overall (1–8): 6.5
Correction (+36): +36
Total: (max. 100): 87.5
Medium-dark – through first crack, keeping the pace not too quick or too slow, then finish with no more than the first pops of second as it cools.
We roast all our coffee to order five days a week (Monday–Friday).
If you place an order before 07:30, it will be roasted and dispatched that day. If you order after 07:30, it will carry over to the following working day for roasting.
The cost of postage is additional to the cost of our coffee. One bag at First Class postage will cost £1.50, and one bag at Second Class postage will cost £1.00. DPD next working day delivery is available for a flat rate of £5.00 for all orders up to 10 KG.
For more information please visit https://www.hasbean.co.uk/pages/shipping