Mamani Family

  • Country
    Bolivia
  • Province
    Caranavi
  • Colony
    Uchumachi
  • Elevation
    1,500-1,670m above sea level
  • Variety
    Caturra
  • Processing
    Washed
  • Producers
    The Mamani Family

Rich and creamy, with brown sugar sweetness and a clean finish. Toasted hazelnut, chocolate mousse and cherry.

This 2,400kg lot was produced by the influential Mamani Family in Uchumachi, 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 highelevations, rich soil, and wide daily temperature ranges providing the perfect conditions to produce exceptional coffee.

Mamani is a very common name throughout Bolivia, but in this case, we refer to the family members Juan Carlos, Juana, Mauricio, Nolberto, Lorenza and René – who are known throughout the region for the coffee that they grow and the impact that they’ve had on coffee production within the region. The Mamani brothers and their wives own neighbouring farms located in the Caranavi Province in Bolivia. 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.

The family members are Aymara, an indigenous people that originally lived on the Altiplano (a vast plateau of the central Andes that stretches from southern Peru to Bolivia and into northern Chile and Argentina). The region is known for the world’s highest lake, called Titicaca. When the Aymara first moved to Caranavi, they named this ‘colonia’, or settlement, Uchumachi.

When the 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. Now, they selectively pick their coffee cherries and sell their top-grade coffees for substantially higher prices to our longtime partners the Rodríguez family at Agricafe as part of their Sol de la Mañana program. Since joining the program in 2015, the family follows a very structured series of courses focused on improving both quality and, critically, yield quantity at their farms. 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.

The Mamanis work very closely together to support each other during the busy harvest time. Living so close to each other allows them to share important resources and labour from pickers during harvest. Together, they have established best farming practices, which they also share with their neighbours. The Mamani family has played a significant role within the colony of Bolinda over the last decade, working closely with neighbouring farms to institute better agricultural practices to improve coffee quality and access a higher paying market.

Agricafe has also helped the Mamani family identify which parts of their farms to renovate and repair, with a focus on long term, sustainable, and ultimately profitable farming practices. As the family explained on a recent visit, ‘Our focus right now is on improving our yield. We know how produce exceptional coffee but we are now taking a more scientific approach to coffee farming.’ 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. These efforts have paid off, as their yields have increased substantially over the years, and they no longer have the capacity to do their own wet-milling and drying. Instead, Agricafe handles the processing at Buena Vista, their impeccable wet mill in Caranavi.

 

Head here to learn more about the wonderful Sol de La Mañana program, and here to learn more about the incredible work the Rodríguez family and Agricafe are doing in Bolivia.

HOW THIS COFFEE WAS PROCESSED

This lot was selected from the very highest parts of the farms, where the elevation 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. The coffee is carefully handpicked and delivered to Agricafe’s Buena Vista wet mill in Caranavi.

After being inspected and weighed, the coffee was carefully sorted by weight using water, and floaters were removed. Following this, the coffee was placed a conveyor belt and was disinfected, in a similar process used for wine grapes. It was then depulped and placed in PVC tanks without water to ferment. After spending between 72-144 hours in the tanks, the coffee was washed with fresh, clean water and placed inside one of Buena Vista’s ‘stationary box’ dryers for up to 105 hours. These boxes are series of steel containers which use a gentle flow of warm air from below the coffee bed to dry the parchment slowly and evenly. Coffee was stirred manually every two hours to further ensure it dried at a uniform rate.

Once the coffee was dry, it was transported to La Paz where it was rested before being milled at Agricafe’s dry mill, La Luna. At this state-of-the-art mill, the coffee was first hulled and sorted using machinery, and then by a team of workers who meticulously sorted the coffee again (this time by hand) under UV and natural light. The mill is one of the cleanest and most impressive we have seen – you can read more about it here.