Drop Coffees - Carmelita, Washed Caturra, Bolivia
Flavour description: Carmelita makes such a clean and delicate, yet chocolatey style, coffee. It is straightforward sweet. An aroma of a cold chocolate drink with flavour notes of white grape and milk chocolate, with a hint of white tea. A medium caramel sweetness. A long finish of fresh cacao nibs.
Producer: Carmela "Carmelita" Urduvi
Location: Copacabana, Caranavi, Bolivia
Elevation: 1550 – 1850 Meters above sea level
Farm size: Three hectares
Price transparency: The FOB price paid for this coffee is 4,5 US$/Ib.
Drying: Mechanical for 46 hours after the professor Favio Borems' guidelines with a quicker drying phase in the beginning and a slower process towards the end of the drying.
This is one of our flagship coffees. We have bought from Carmelita ever since she re-started her farm after being hit by leaf rust. Carmela is one of the hardest-working people we have ever met in coffee. We have seen her farm grow from half a hectares with a low yield to three hectares with beautiful and lush production. It has helped to be a part of the sustainability program Sol de la Mañana that won the SCA Sustainability Award for Most Sustainable Business Model 2019. Carmelita has more than tripled her yield compared to before the leaf rust hit her farm a decade ago. We are proud to hold the European exclusivity on the coffee from Carmelita.
Bolivia is a remarkable country, with extraordinary high altitudes, and mountains everywhere. But also its diversity in coffee takes our breath away. Compared to most coffee we bring in from Bolivia, the coffee from Carmelita is slight crisper. This is probably is a positive outcome of Carmelita always washing the coffee cherries directly after picking, before delivering to Agricafé, where the coffee is processed and exported to us. On top of this, Agricafe has a new direction in the processing of the coffee, where bacteria is controlled. This means that the coffee will be even crisper this year! We are so tremendously proud, happy and excited to present another production of the sweet yet delicate floral coffee from Carmelita to you.
We visited Carmelita for the first time in 2015, her hard work and dedication to the farm impressed us greatly. She had less than a hectare, which had a low yield, after being hit with Roja, which is why she decided to become part of the sustainability project “Sol de la Mañana”, which is run by our exporter Pedro Rodriguez with family. When we met, Carmelita had just prepared her land for a second hectare and was ready to start planting her new Caturra and Catuaí seedlings from her nursery. This time she wanted to do everything right from the beginning, with the help of the agronomists in the Sol de la Mañana project.
Carmelita Urduvi has been working in coffee for 40 years. Originally she is from Omasuyos, near the lake called Titicaca. She moved with her husband to Caranavi when a government led to reform and gave the land back to thousands of indigenous families. Since then they had 8 children. Carmelita raised their children while running the farm after her husband disappeared. Carmelita told us that the management of the farm is her greatest achievement, and yes we are all impressed by her extraordinary producing standards and the farm is always clean, tidy and in great shape. Her oldest son works full time on the farm throughout the whole year, another two of her sons work for our exporter at Rodriguez Buena Vista farms.
Unique to anyone else we have met in Bolivia, she is known to clean each cherry after picking and before putting it into her bags and delivering it for processing at the Rodriguez mill. By producing a better quality coffee she is able to earn more money and have a better future for her and her children. She believes that joining the program has helped her to better understand what she needs to do in order to produce better coffee and keep her crops strong and healthy.
Relationship and sustainability
Since the first time, we met Carmelita we had a strong feeling that we were going to work together. She is driven, strong and very focused on attention to details. Visiting and buying her coffee for years now, has become one of our strongest relationships. We have done brewing classes, competitions on best Sol de la Mañana-cup (Carmelita won), played football... but most importantly Carmelita has a steady business and she is growing rapidly but safely. After being hit with leaf rust about six years ago, she joined the sustainability project Sol de Mañana and started growing new plants of Caturra. Carmelita’s farm is three hectares, triple the size it was before.
We could talk about Carmelita for much longer, and if you wish to see more of her, have a look at this interview we did with Carmelita while in Bolivia a couple of years back here.