Farm: Communidad Villa Imperial
Varietal: Caturra, Catuai
Processing: Fully washed
Altitude: 1,550 to 1,700 metres above sea level
Owner: Asociación ASOCAFE - various small producers
Town / City: Villa Imperial
31 August 2015
Overall: Walnuts and white chocolate define this balanced coffee
Communidad Villa Imperial, Taypiplaya - Bolivia
Perched in the high hills of Bolivia’s coffee heartland, Villa Imperial was established approximately 25 years ago by migrants from the altiplano of the Potosi department – some 200 kilometers to the south. Upon settling in the Caranavi region, these migrants named their community ‘Villa Imperial’ after their hometown of Potosi, which was known as ‘Villa Imperial’ due to its history as one of the main sources of sliver for Spanish Conquistadores.
Today, around 30 families compose the community, all of whom rely on income from coffee and citrus fruit production for their livelihoods. For many years they had sold their coffee only on the local market. Upon joining the Taipiplaya Coffee Producers Association (ASOCAFE) the coffee farmers of Villa Imperial were presented with new opportunities to participate in a wide variety of specialty coffee markets, such as the Cup of Excellence program. Since that time, they have focused on improving the quality and quantity of their production.
Villa Imperial delivers their coffee to ASOCAFE’s central processing plant in the town of Taypiplaya, transporting each day’s pickings via station-wagon taxis. Cherries are then separated according to quality, pulped, fermented and dried on African beds or drying tables. Because of the high altitude, drying at the Taipiplaya mill can take up to a week, depending on weather conditions.
Prior to ASOCAFE’s setting up a mill in the region, families would have had to deliver their cherry to La Paz - which lies at least 150 miles to the south along trecherous mountain highways - or sell
their cherry to local collectors for a very low price. By working with ASOCAFE, the producers of Villa Imperial can begin working towards producing some of the best quality coffee in the region – a goal towards which great gains have already been made.
The community plans to install a wet mill so that they will be able to process their coffee themselves in the near future.