Coffee Review: Bolivian Caranavi Villa Oriente, Fratello Coffee Roasters
Company: Fratello Coffee Roasters
Bean Origin or Blend: Bolivian Caranavi Villa Oriente (Organic Fair Trade)
Brew Method: Drip and French Press
Price: $31.25/2lbs. (Here)
We detailed Fratello Coffee Roasters in our review of their Panamanian bean, so check it out here. They have a great thing going! Fratello’s Bolivian bean is a free trade and organic bean from the Caranavi region. Bolivia provides an excellent geography for producing coffee due to its high altitudes. Chocolate has always been the chief export for Bolivia but coffee is beginning to provide some competition and is overcoming some of the historical difficulties that have slowed its success.
Any coffee grown in Bolivia has had to make its way across “Death Road” – the road that leads over 12,000 feet passes into the commercial center of La Paz, where it was processed. The farmers would depulp and wash the coffee at the farm before making the trip, leaving the beans slightly wet for the journey. As the coffee experienced the altitude changes of the trip, it was freeze and thaw, which led to continued fermentation and off-flavors. Regardless, it was bought and shipped out as Bolivian coffee.
With USAID funding – for the purpose of combating the drug industry, processing centers have been built much closer to the farms, meaning that the coffee is fully processed before making its way across the Death road.
More recently, with the continued monetary input of US anti-drug money, the Bolivian Specialty Coffee Association has been formed to promote better growing and processing practices… (source)
As some of these issues have been eradicated, the results have been very promising, with some recent Cup of Excellence awards and a ranking of 38th in the world for production, a number that is slowly growing.
This Bolivian bean is medium brown, oily, and slightly larger than a peaberry. The aroma is primarily of chocolate with hints of white pepper, raspberry, and black cherry. On the pour, the aroma remains consistent with some added mint. The consumption profile is excellent, with a moderately bitter and thick chocolate, the slightest bit of white pepper, and some very pleasant acidic fruits. The finish is long, creamy, and thick and the Bolivian is fairly clean with a light acidity.
The intense complexity of this bean makes for an exceptional experience that can be enjoyed at various times of day; it’s great with a morning bagel, alone as an afternoon pick-up, or as an after dinner cup of dessert. Add to the excellent flavor profile the environmental friendliness and medium price range and you will find a coffee well worth your time and money. Don’t hesitate to pick up a pound of Fratello’s Bolivian.