You may have already heard of the Rodriguez family, but if you haven't then suffice to say that they have been amazing long-time friends of ours who make everything we get from Bolivia possible.
The family owns the La Llama farm. They gave the farm its name on their first visit there. Looking around the farm they were planning to buy, they came across a llama. It’s the beloved national animal of Bolivia and, in their words:
'[...] we encountered a llama that with its pointy ears, alert look and proud stance seemed to be saying “come near my land and I’ll spit on you."'
The farm is surrounded by dense, lush forest with good access to local water streams. At 1,650 metres above sea level, it's the highest altitude farm the Rodriguez family owns in Caranavi.
It's a bit of an experience to reach the highest point on the farm: you have to jump in a 4x4 and travel on some winding roads with the land rising steeply on either side. You'll also find yourself winding past perfectly arranged rows of coffee trees. Beautiful!
La Llama is run by local people and is the Rodriguez family's only farm in the Villa Asuncion Colonia. With local people working the land and managing what happens on the farm, it's become a fantastic example of what can be achieved with local knowledge and best practices.
The farm grows Java (Longberry), Geisha, Yellow Caturra, SL 28, SL 34, Bourbon, Batian and Ethiosar.
Before it was called La Llama, the farm was known as Puerto de Cuelo. It had been producing coffee for fifteen years, but when the Rodriguez family took over they wanted to renovate and remodel the farm to prove that it is possible to create a new coffee plantation on an older coffee growing area. The intention is to demonstrate that such things are possible, and to hopefully inspire others to follow their lead and renovate the ageing coffee-growing areas of the country.
Geisha is a super interesting varietal that has attracted a lot of attention among coffee lovers in the last few years. It’s become famous for its complex floral flavours that are reminiscent of Ethiopian coffees, but is grown in Central America.
But what’s a Geisha 'Hawaii'?!! It turns out it isn’t a cocktail: it’s a particularly specific lineage of the Geisha. The plant stock we call Geisha came to Central America from Ethiopia in the 1950s, after which it was forgotten (it’s not a very practical plant for producers to grow) until it was rediscovered in Panama.
Now, this Panamanian Geisha is the one we’re all most familiar with. It's floral, perfumed, and light-bodied. On the way to Panama, the plants first went through Costa Rica, and some of the original stock has survived there too.
Geisha Hawaii is the Rodriguez family's name for this Geisha plant from Costa Rica. This is the same lineage as some of our favourite Costa Rican Geishas, such as the one from Finca De Licho. That fact just adds to our excitement to see it grown at La Llama. If you’ve tried the Panaman Geisha from El Fuerte, you'll find that this is a great example of the difference in the two lineages. It lives up to the 'Hawaii' bit of its name, too; it's less floral, more tropical, less delicate, and juicier.
This'll be the juiciest thing you've had since your morning glass of orange juice. It's fresh apricot and sweet pineapple mashed up with orange. You might get a shoulder of florals, but make no mistake: this Geisha is all about the fruit.