Life on the Finca

The Finca
Las Tacanas  Finca ( 16◦ 11’ 20.20’’ S,  67◦ 42’ 52.53” W), where Apasionado Coffee comes from, is a small, ten-hectare (twenty-five acre) farm, in the picturesque cloud forest of  the Bolivian Andes, near Coroico, Bolivia situated at an elevation  of 1500m (4920’) to 1700m (5576’) above sea level, approximately 100 km(60 m) NE of La Paz . The farm is named after the numerous remnants of Pre-Colombian, agricultural stone terraces, “Tacanas”, in the local indigenous language, found on location.
             In 2010, a dedicated team of coffee aficionados, including local farmers, and led by Yehuda Lilo, a retired international geologist, took on the challenge of restoring cultivation on the finca. It had been an abandoned, jungle claimed, overgrown farm, and we worked to preserve the ancient terraces that follow perfectly the topographic contour lines which was critical to conservation. From the outset, this plantation was designed to produce a very special coffee, by taking advantage of ideal natural conditions and by applying the utmost care and technology throughout the entire cultivation, harvest and post harvest processes. With time, our farm is also becoming a leader and center for coffee growing conversations with farmers, and thus, knowledge transfer within the community is happening.

Our coffee grows on a polycultural farm, in amongst various fruits and other flora, and under the shade of the Sikili trees. It is a refuge for green parrots, who love to steal the ripe berries before we can harvest them.

We are delighted to share coffee produced from the Arabica Typica and Red Catuai trees with other coffee aficionados around the world. Apasionado Coffee is indeed very special, ranked as highly as many other famous specialty coffees. It is distinguished by both sweetness and acidity, bringing up the fruity flavors of citrus, grapes, berries and melon, and promises flavor quest in every cup.


Harvest and Wet Post Harvest Process

Producing coffee of the highest quality requires special harvesting techniques as well as a methodical, post–harvest processing, which we carry out on our farm.

To ensure quality and the best possible flavor profile, we harvest, by hand, selecting only mature cherries.  For this activity, we rely heavily on members of the community, especially women, during the harvest season, which extends from April to August. Once harvested, the cherries must begin the Wet Process in the same day that they were picked.

The cherries are brought up to a central processing location on the finca, where different grades of beans are selected by-hand based on color of the cherry, general appearance, and a float test. The top grade coffee comes from burgundy colored cherries. We make sure that the selection is done under natural light for utmost accuracy.

Next, each grade is de-pulped separately, and the beans are stored in tanks for fermentation for about 14 hours, depending on weather conditions.

Once the beans reach the optimum fermentation point, they are washed thoroughly with spring water, and are moved to an initial drying and selection bed before entering our drying facilities consisting of solar green houses. At this stage, another rigorous selection is employed to detect any beans with defects such as insect boring or beans that were broken during de-pulping. 

After a few hours on the initial drying bed the beans are removed to be further dried on elevated beds inside green houses. The beans must be moved daily to ensure uniform drying and we take outmost care not to expose them to direct sun light. The entire drying process takes approximately ten days until the beans reach 12% humidity. At this stage the beans are still covered with a small layer of husk called parchment. This layer is removed before roasting through a dry milling process outside the farm in La Paz, where it is cooler and drier. It is best to store the coffee in parchment until roasting. For maximum flavor, we age the coffee for at least two months before roasting.

The beans make the journey from the tropical oasis of the finca, over a pass at 4650 meters (15,345 ft) into the mountainous plateau where La Paz, the capital city, and roaster is located, and from there, across the world by plane, to your door.

Our quality control process includes periodic cupping of samples as the harvest progresses in order to detect any possible mistakes or improvements needed in any stage of the process.  

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