Pedro Flores

  • Country
    Bolivia
  • Province
    Caranavi
  • Colony
    Villa Rosario
  • Altitude
    1,500 -1,670m above sea level
  • Variety
    Caturra
  • Processing
    Washed
  • Producer
    Pedro Flores
  • Farm Name
    Finca El Mirador

Clean and transparent, with juicy acidity and great depth of sweetness. Mandarin, red grape and cherry.

This coffee was produced by Pedro Flores in the settlement of Villa Rosario, which is located 180km from La Paz, in the heart of the Caranavi province. This region is the epicentre for coffee production in Bolivia, with incredibly high altitudes, rich soil and wide daily temperature ranges providing great conditions to produce exceptional coffee.

Pedro’s farm, El Mirador, is 10 hectares in size and is located at 1,500–1,670m above sea level. On the farm there are heirloom Caturra, Catuaí, and Typica varieties, and the harvest runs from June to October, with the peak harvest in June and July. The cherries used for this lot come from the most elevated part of the farm, where the ripening process is slower, allowing the sugars to develop more evenly to produce a very sweet coffee.

Pedro Flores was born in the Aroma province, in the department of La Paz. When he was six years old, he and his family moved to Caranavi. At the time, there was a crisis in the mining sector, because the commodity price for minerals was very low. To try to boost the economy and support the poorest communities in Altiplano (a town above La Paz), the government gifted parcels of land in Caranavi to many families, including Pedro’s, to encourage them to move out of La Paz and find other ways to build a living.

Pedro inherited his family’s farm when he was just 14 years old, and at 18, he started growing coffee, alongside tomatoes and citrus fruit, on the farm. Like many families in Villa Rosario, Pedro initially relied on selling his coffee at the local market, which meant low prices and little reliability. But over the last decade, Pedro has focused on producing specialty coffee. Now, he selectively picks his coffee cherries and sell their top-grade coffees for substantially higher prices to our partners the Rodríguez family at Agricafe as part of their Sol de la Mañana program. This initiative is aimed at improving infrastructure and farming practices at farms in order to create a more sustainable future for coffee in Bolivia.

Pedro Flores has been part of Agricafe’s Sol de la Mañana program since its establishment in 2014. As part of the initiative, Pedro follows a very structured series of courses focused on improving both quality and, critically, yield quantity at his farm. 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 Pedro identify which parts of his farm to renovate and repair, with a focus on long term, sustainable, and ultimately profitable farming practices.

The results of the Sol de la Mañana program have been profound, with improved quality and quantities for all participating producers, including Pedro. He is now achieving yields of 30 bags per hectare; a significant achievement! Prior to participating in the program, his yields had fallen to less than six bags per hectare. Head here to learn more about this wonderful 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 particular lot from Pedro Flores was carefully hand-picked and processed on the same day at the Buena Vista washing station. This meticulously run mill is owned by Agricafe, who painstakingly process each of the exceptional specialty lots they receive separately to allow for full traceability back to the individual farmer or settlement.

Evenings at the mill are always bustling as arrivals of fresh cherries begin in the late afternoon after the day’s picking, and continue deep into the night. It is widely known around Caranavi that only perfectly ripe cherries will be accepted by this mill and all lots are inspected on arrival prior to processing. In an arrangement somewhat unique to this mill, many farmers use taxis to deliver coffee, and by 7 pm a long line of taxis forms along the road leading to the mill.

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 48 hours, the coffee was washed with fresh, clean water and placed inside one of Buena Vista’s ‘stationary box’ dryers for a total of 3 days. 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.