Episode 685

Bolivia Don Carlos Coco Natural Catuai

This is just a great big bowl full of peaches and cream! There's a little drizzle of maple syrup over the top, but it's all about peach and cream (and what a delicious flavour that is!)

Bolivia Don Carlos Coco Natural

Due to the complications within the Bolivian coffee industry, many of the smaller Bolivian farms we have worked with in the past are no longer producing coffee. Whilst this has created some challenges for us, it has had a much more significant impact on our exporting partners AgriCafe, who have been working with these growers for many years. As a result, AgriCafe have decided to begin farming for themselves, in an effort to demonstrate what can be achieved with the application of more modern techniques and a scientific farming approach.

AgriCafe now manage seven farms, and these are collectively known as the Buena Vista Project. Finca Don Carlos is the second farm of the project, and it was planted in Caranavi in 2014.

The farm is named in honour of Carlos Mariaca AKA Don Carlos, the oldest and most unconditionally awesome employee of AgriCafe. He was there at the start of the specialty coffee trend and, together with Pedro, helped to build the wet mill in Caranavi. To show their gratitude for all his good work, the company decided to give him partnership of the farm.

This farm, along with the other Buena Vista project farms, is run by Pedro Pablo Rodriguez, the son of Pedro Rodriguez who owns AgriCafe. AgriCafe first bought their farms in 2012, when it became clear they were facing rapidly decreasing coffee production across the country. They have 12 farms in total and this is one of 8 in the Caranavi region (the traditional coffee producing area of Bolivia). Pedro Pablo studied agronomy in Honduras and bought techniques he had learnt there to the Buena Vista Farms.

In 2016, farms surrounding Don Carlos suffered badly with Leaf Rust (also called Roya). This caused a substantial drop in production, but the farm developed a strong program to combat the disease, which they can now use when other farms are affected.

Processing coffee in the natural style isn’t common in Bolivia and it presents a number of challenges with their conditions. However the Rodriguez family saw the value that Natural (and Honey) processed coffees could bring in terms of diversifying the range of flavours you get, so they decided to invest both money and effort into creating a way of doing these processes which would work in Bolivia.

When they were asked about this new method of processing their coffee, they called it “Coco” - so in fact all the Natural processed coffee we have from Bolivia could also be nicknamed “Coco Processed”.

The process is...

Cherries selected - As I’ll explain in a moment, they can only do small batches of Naturals at a time, so a lot of attention is paid to only choosing the very ripest cherries, from the beginning. Ripeness is checked both by colour and using measurement of the sugar content of the fruit.

Sun drying on raised beds - having checked the weather reports so they know to expect a period without rain, the selected cherries are laid out on raised beds in the sun. During this period, the cherries are moved around every 30 minutes to make sure the drying is even and any slightly under or over ripe cherries are piked out. They will stay outside for between 1 and 3 days, depending on the weather. To finish this stage, they may be moved to inside greenhouses with material to block out UV and keep the heat in.

Drying out in stationary driers - The cherries then need to be dried out to a stable moisture, where more fermentation won’t occur. To do this, they have built large boxes with hot air vented in through the bottom. These “Stationary Driers” keep the temperature below 40C for the 40 to 50 hours it takes to finish drying the cherries. During this stage, the coffee is moved every hour (again, to keep the process even across all the cherries).

This is just a great big bowl full of peaches and cream! There's a little drizzle of maple syrup over the top, but it's all about peach and cream (and what a delicious flavour that is!)

  • Country: Bolivia
  • Region: Yungas
  • Municipality: Caranavi
  • Colony: Bolinda
  • Farm: Finca Don Carlos
  • Producer: Carlos Mariaca
  • Altitude: 1,546–1,650 m.a.s.l.
  • Farm size: 18.6 hectares
  • Coffee growing area: 6.63 hectares
  • Processing method: Coco Natural
  • Varietal: Catuai


Peach, cream, maple syrup

  • Clean cup: (1–8): 6
  • Sweetness: (1–8): 7
  • Acidity: (1–8): 6.5
  • Mouthfeel: (1–8): 7
  • Flavour: (1–8): 7
  • Aftertaste: (1–8): 6.5
  • Balance: (1–8): 6
  • Overall: (1–8): 7
  • Correction (+36): +36
  • Total (max. 100): 89

Roasting Information
Medium - nice and quick between first and second crack, keep the development time short. Drop just before second begins.