Day breaks humid and overcast but with hearts full of hope.
Our lesson learned from yesterday we start early and have time to nurse one of Mr Ian’s signature Aeropress brews over a small plate of scrambled eggs and a dry biscuit. I’m told the more you chew the better the flavour of the buscuit; I didn’t find that to be the case.
Then, just as the Cavalry is mounted and ready to roll for the day, ready to attack, ready to…flat tire.
Aaaaggggh. Even when we’re on time we’re late!
The universe having rectified our mistake of trying to be early in Bolivia, we were off and Siri did not disappoint.
Butterflies abound on the road today, scattering like flakes of snow as the Land Cruiser savagely claws it’s way up the sinewy track to our one and only appointment — the AIPEAD Cooperative.
We’ve bought their coffee before and it’s a pretty cool to be able to tell them in person that it’s great, they’re great by extension, and we love their coffee. I don’t shy away from laying on a compliment thick as Texas Toast and even the most meek amongst the group cannot but help smile with pride at the recognition for their incredible work.
The feeling here was the best yet – muy tranquilo if I can get a little New Age on you for a moment.
Lovely people with that infallible hospitality we have seen here from the start. Case in point – while ogling their wet mill and raised beds I was poured a cold glass of Coke “The Real Thing” to freshen the palate and lift my tired eyes…I could barely be further away and yet….
*shaking my fist at the sky.*
The story here is the same; beautiful healthy trees-40% lower production this year.
In the touring of the land, we were given a demonstration of a “Garabato”; a hooked stick with a rope on the end that is stepped on once the hooked end has gently pulled the top half of the coffee tree toward you. An elegant method that facilitates the picking of the topmost cherry on the tree.
Simple in principle but when Jorge, the agronomist, went to demonstrate, he made it in fact look like more work to use the Garabato. As is often the case, we needed a woman and slick as quicksilver she had the stick in place and a handful of ripe, red cherry in her hand.
These beans might be in your next cup of Ethical Bean coffee!
Yellow Catuai is the varietal that rules the day here. Some Typica but not much. The Typica although the darling in the cup yields approximately 20% less and in the commodity game (which coffee most certainly is), that’s a lot. Typica also tends to be a bit more delicate, requiring more attention on the part of the grower.
Here is Juan Carlos, the young president of AIPEAD and most obviously destined for great things.
The day ended with a Golden Hour stroll down Main St.
Wednesday is market day and the town was a bustle with the influx of people.
Yes, Caranavi can actually have traffic jams!
Tomorrow we charge onward in spirit and strength.
Two more Coop visits before a return to La Paz and the week’s climax; cupping the coffee from all the folks we’ve just met and all the places we’ve just been.
It’s going to be bonzer – I hope you’ll join me.