Juana Mamani

  • Country
    Bolivia
  • Province
    Caranavi
  • Colony
    Uchumachi
  • Altitude
    1,500–1,800m above sea level
  • Variety
    Caturra
  • Processing
    Washed
  • Producers
    Juana and Juan Mamani

Yellow nectarine and orange, with a juicy body. Dark chocolate and toasted hazelnut on the finish.

This coffee was processed by the dynamic team of Juana and Juan Carlos Mamani, a couple renown throughout the region for the coffee they grow and the impact they’ve had on specialty coffee production within their community.

Juana Mamani is a first-generation coffee farmer. She bought her six-hectare coffee farm when she was just 16 years old after working nearby on her sister’s farm for five years – long enough to save up to buy her own plot. At 23 she went on to win second place in Bolivia’s Cup of Excellence 2007 with a score of 90.78.

Juana and Juan are members of one of the most influential coffee farming families in Bolivia. Mamani is a very common name throughout Bolivia, but in this case, we refer to family members Mauricio, Nolberto, René, and of course, Juana and Juan.

 

When Juana and the extended Mamani family first got into coffee, they would sell it to the local market as wet parchment – known locally as café en mote. But over the last decade (since the arrival of the Cup of Excellence), the entire family has focused on producing specialty coffee. They have been working closely with their neighbours to institute better agricultural practices to improve coffee quality around the settlement of Uchumachi, where they are based. The family processes their coffee at their own wet-milling and drying before selling the coffee in parchment to our export partners, Agricafe.

ABOUT AGRICAFE

Agricafe is a Bolivian family business owned by Pedro Rodriguez and his daughter Daniela and son Pedro Pablo. The trio’s mission is to build the production of, and market for, Bolivian specialty coffee. To do this, they have invested efforts and funding across the entire specialty coffee production chain, including buying coffee from hundreds of local farmers, establishing state-of-the-art wet and dry mills, launching producer training programs, and planting new coffee farms across the regions of Caranavi and Samaipata.

Over the last decade, Agricafe has been working to try and save the Bolivian coffee industry. Despite its international recognition and highly sought after coffees, the production of coffee across Bolivia has decreased dramatically and has been at risk of completely disappearing. A combination of ageing coffee plantations, traditional and very unsophisticated farming techniques and diseases such as leaf rust have resulted in significantly reduced yields, and this, combined with the proliferation of the competing coca industry (used for cocaine), has seen coffee production more than halve.

To try to save coffee production in Bolivia and build a more sustainable future for it, the Rodriguez family started a project called Sol de la Mañana (which translates to ‘morning sun’) in 2015. They invited the entire Mamani family (including Juana and Juan) to be founding members, along with 10 other leading small producers in the region.

SOL DE LA MAÑANA

The first of its kind in the country, the Sol de la Mañana program is aimed at sharing knowledge and technical assistance with local coffee producers to help them renovate their farms and improve yield quantities. By doing so Agricafe hopes that coffee production can be a sustainable and financially stable crop for smallholder farmers for many years to come.

As members of the Sol de la Mañana program, the Mamanis followed a very structured series of courses focused on improving both quality and, critically, yield. The curriculum hones in on one aspect of farming at a time and includes information on building and maintaining a coffee nursery, when to prune and use fertiliser, how to avoid and treat leaf rust, and how to selectively pick coffee. Agricafe has also helped the Mamanis identify which parts of their farms to renovate, repair, and plan where to replant new trees, with a focus on long term, sustainable, and ultimately profitable farming practices.

The results of the Sol de la Mañana program have been profound for the Mamanis, with improved quality and significant improvements in their average yield. Off the back of the program the entire family has become more confident, proactive and engaged, and they have begun to actively share their learnings and experiences with each other and their wider community.

 ‘We know how produce exceptional coffee but we are now taking a more scientific approach to coffee farming,’ Juana explained

With the knowledge gleaned from the program the Mamanis have planted a vibrant new nursery, aggressively renovated their farms, pruned the trees, and taken a more structured and planned approach to the way they farm.

 

HOW THIS COFFEE WAS PROCESSED

Juana Mamani now owns two coffee farms, which are both located at 1,500–1,800 metres above sea level. This lot was selected from the very highest parts of their farm, where the altitude helps ensure a slow maturation of the coffee cherry. This allows the concentrated sugars to develop more evenly, giving the cup more structure and complex flavours.

Today, Juana’s main role is to control the quality of the coffee, while also caring for her young daughter Jenny. Her husband Juan, along with other members of his family pulp and ferment the coffee, while Juana is in charge of the drying.

The coffee is carefully handpicked and pulped at the family’s wet mill. It is then fermented for 12–16 hours before being washed and carefully dried on raised African beds. While drying, the coffee is carefully inspected for any defects (often more visible in wet parchment).

Once the coffee is dry, it is then transported to La Paz where it is rested and then milled at Agricafe’s dry mill, La Luna. At this state-of-the-art mill, the coffee is meticulously hulled and sorted using machinery and also by hand, when a team of sorters do so under both UV and natural light. The mill is one of the cleanest and most impressive we have seen, and you can read more about it here.

WANT TO KNOW MORE?

See a video we produced of the Mamani family here. Read about the Sol de la Mañana program here, about Pedro Rodgriguez here, and about Bolivian coffee more generally here.