This coffee was produced by Carmela Aduviri in Copacabana, a small and remote settlement 180 kilometres from La Paz in the heart of the Caranavi province. This region is the epicentre for specialty coffee production in Bolivia, with incredibly high elevations, rich soil, and wide daily temperature ranges providing the perfect conditions to produce exceptional coffee.
The inhabitants of Copacabana first started farming coffee around 40 years ago. Farms here are small and traditional, and almost all the work is carried out by the farm’s owners and their extended families, with just a handful of temporary workers hired to help out during harvest.
Carmela has worked in coffee for 40 years, all while raising seven children. Her farm, Carmelita, is around three hectares in size and sits at an elevation of 1,500–1,670 metres above sea level. Today, Carmela manages the farm with her sons Elvis and Luis, and together they work incredibly hard on improving and producing the best quality coffee they can. On their farm they cultivate a mix of Caturra and Catuaí variety trees that grow in rich clay soil under the protective shade of native forest trees. Their heavy leaf fall creates a natural mulch fertiliser, and their canopy provides an important habitat for the many bird and insect species in the area.
Carmela’s coffee is part of Agricafe’s Sol de la Mañana program, which is aimed at improving infrastructure and farming practices at farms in order to create a more sustainable future for coffee in Bolivia. Since becoming a member, Carmela has built a vibrant coffee nursery and learned to prune, feed, and manage her coffee plantation in order to increase her yield. The program has helped her invest in her plantation and encouraged her to take a long-term view towards coffee farming, and in doing so she has established the foundations for a more sustainable, and ultimately more profitable, future for her family.
Prior to participating in the program Carmela explained that she made around $1000 a year from coffee, and was forced to grow coca (which is illegal in Caranavi) to supplement her income. She estimates that she now earns over $20,000 a year from coffee alone. “Coffee has bought our family together. We used to live far apart, but now my sons are at the farm helping me every day. Coffee is a viable crop for us now.” The benefits to the family are undeniable, as her sons Elvis and Luis (pictured above), have begun learning from her and taking on responsibilities at the farm, as part of a generational change the region is going through. Another one of her sons, Mauricio, is planting his own plantation after having worked alongside Carmela for the last few years. This past year, the farm’s yields reached the point that Carmela and her sons no longer had the capacity to process their own cherry and had to do it at Agricafe’s Buena Vista mill instead.
We're loving this coffee for it's delicious depth, like a chocolate rum 'n raisin bar with a bright, balanced pop of tropical brightness! Our favourite batch this year. Yeeehah!