||Bolivia Las Alasitas Honey Geisha 2020
When you come across a Geisha from a farm with a name that means, "buy me" in the local language, you just have to buy it, don't you?! Well that's what I did, and wow ... just wow.
Alasitas: an important date for your Bolivian calendar and a delicious coffee for your mug! The 24th of January each year sees the beginning of the month-long festival of Alasitas, held in honour of Ekeko (iqiqu), the god of abundance. Ekeko is presented with miniature models as offerings of what each person wishes to have or achieve, and I know for sure that if I'd been in Caranavi this January then I'd have been making my offering of an itty-bitty miniature bag of this coffee! "Alasitas" literally translates to "buy me" in the local Aymaran language, and that's just what we did!
Las Alasitas is the biggest farm of Fincas Buena Vista and is owned by the Rodriguez family. You'll have heard of them before if you're a long-time Hasbean fan, because we love to champion the outstanding things they're doing for the Bolivian coffee industry.
The farm covers 20.6 hectares (16 are used for coffee) at 1,550 metres above sea level in the Bolinda colony of Caranavi, Bolivia. This is just north of the department of La Paz city, 150 kilometres from the capital, and is recognised as the gold standard area for coffee production in Bolivia due to its fertile soils and high altitude; these are factors that contribute to famously high-quality coffees.
The Rodriguez family have a long history (three decades!) of processing and exporting coffee from their own mills for the farmers in the Caranavi and Sud Yungas regions. Due to the steady decline of coffee production in Bolivia, they branched out in 2014 by buying land in Caranavi to showcase their practices and educate other producers in sustainable farming.
Without the intervention of people like the Rodriguez family, the future of coffee production in Bolivia would be at risk of disappearing altogether. Thankfully for everyone who loves Bolivian coffee, they decided that they could make a change and make things better. They have taken on the challenge of increasing production in the country by planting their own new coffee plantations. They are currently also developing woodland on their farm to combat the ongoing issue of deforestation. What superstars!
The land at Las Alasitas has been planted with Caturra, Java and Geisha. The family have also introduced a sustainable model for the producers who supply them at their mill. They built this on three mantras: economical sustainability, social understanding, and environmental awareness – the Sol de la Mañana program.
There's a spectacular blend of citrus and florals from the Geisha varietal with silky body and sweetness from the Honey processing and the Bolivian soil. Expect a citrus zing, which for me is like yuzu. Behind it is a sweetness that reminds me of blossom honey, with the floral side of it really coming through on the finish. The finish is juicy but clean, and leaves an aftertaste of refreshing green melon.
Farm: Las Alasitas
Altitude: 1,580 m.a.s.l.
Farm size: 20.6 hectares
Coffee growing area: 15.8 hectares
Processing method: Honey
Drying method: Mixed raised beds and mechanical dryers
Yuzu, blossom honey, floral, green melon
Medium – once you hit first crack, let is slow down just a little and develop. You're looking to finish the roast once you're through first crack and into the gap.
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