You are here

Lots of potatoes in Bolivia. Seriously. Photo by Tim Hill. So, with this trip report, I am going to try something a little bit different, so please bear with me. I posted 30-40 pictures on Flickr to visually take you into the sight and scenes – including notes along the way.

An Overview:

I left North Carolina not really knowing what to expect. We have been working with the Cenaproc cooperative for many years now, and, while the coffee had been good, we have certainly had some issues, as well. The goal of the trip was to see if further work with Cenaproc is possible, and to see what else is going on around the country.

On this trip, I visited a single farm, 2 co-ops, a few wet mills, and two dry mills. Overall, I was impressed with everyone. The term microlot has become a standard, and single farmers and co-ops alike are realizing that if they separate out quality, they can earn more for that coffee.

A cross-pollinated coffee cherry that looks like a beach ball. Photo by Tim Hill. Cenaproc, without question, has tons of potential. Everyone knows they have great coffee, and, out of 27 samples I tasted, 6 of the top 8 were from Cenaproc. They do have some processing issues, but those should be easy fixes. We will taste some microlots this year, and hopefully the relationship between us we thrive. Next year, I believe things will be even better.

I met Maria Nidia Ascarrunz, who owns Finca Copacabana and the Vicopex dry mill. Both were very impressive operations. Vicopex is doing great processing, and I believe coffees from there will be better than anywhere else.

My last stop on the trip was to Agritrade. I met Pedro Rodriguez and his daughter, Daniela. Agritrade is a large operation, but they also have the ability to select out some very good small producer lots. I was well calibrated with everyone there and hopefully we will taste more coffee from them in the future.

Bolivia is a really interesting place, but does have some internal problems. The travel of the coffee from the Yungus at high moisture content is something that needs to be solved, and it may be Bolivia’s greatest challenge for coffee quality. We have a couple ideas that may lead to answers for this. Bolivia’s politics are also something to keep a watch on. The country is leaning more and more towards countries like Venezuela, and groups like USAID that, in the past, have provided funding for good projects in coffee, are no longer quite as prolific around the area. As with every country we do business in, the potential in Bolivia is huge, but the question is can certain challenges be overcome.

To see a lot more of this trip, go to the Counter Culture Coffee flickr page.

-Tim
Recent Updates:
We will not be roasting on Friday, April 29, as our staff is traveling to Durham for our new-headquarter's grand opening event and annual company meeting. Please place your orders with this in mind. We apologize for this interruption! Thank you in advance for your understanding. Order received...
Counter Culture Coffee moved to downtown Durham! We'd like to invite you to see our new facility, taste coffee with us, learn more about our education and labs, and check out our pop-up store. We'll provide tasty treats from some of the Triangle's best chefs and serve up our newest Limited-Release...
Thirty-six coffee professionals from around the country participated in the United States Barista Championships in Atlanta last weekend (April 14–17), a competition presented by the Specialty Coffee Association of America and the Barista Guild of America. Lemuel Butler, Counter Culture Coffee...
We wish all the competitors at the 2016 United States Coffee Championships (USCC) the best of luck! This year, there are 10 competitors in the finals of the USCC using Counter Culture Coffee. We asked them 5 questions to get to know more about the baristas and brewers behind the bar. Here is a...
At Counter Culture, we talk a lot about transparency and partnership in relation to how we buy coffee. Both are essential to improving the quality and sustainability of the coffees we purchase in direct ways: Transparency builds trust and trust helps us build the partnerships that make continuous...