There are a lot of regions I am completely unfamiliar with when it comes to coffee and Bolivia is one of them. I had seen a few roasters offering Bolivia selections recently so I was wanting to find one to get in. I had settled on PT’s Coffee’s Finca Mamani, but truthfully because the cupping notes of cotton candy, candied apple, and butterscotch had me completely intrigued. What I didn’t expect was everything else I learned from this bag of coffee.
Roaster: PT’s Coffee
Location: Uchumachi, Bolivia
Farmer: Lorenzo Mamani
Process: Kenya Process
Elevation: 4900 mas
Kalita Wave | 40g © to 552g (w) | 3:35 end time | 204 degrees (preferred method)
The aroma filling the house post brew is as if we just made fresh caramels.
The nose of the cup is slightly citrusy, but can’t quite pinpoint anything specific.
Rich and smooth at first while dark honey welcomes you to the cup. There is a sweetness to the aftertaste where I can see why they chose “cotton candy” as one of their descriptors, yet there also seems to be a slight roastiness to the cup along side elements of dark chocolate.
As it cools it definitely presents itself softer than it did initially. The sweetness is airy - crystallized sugars with hints of raspberry. Caramel flavors too (not syrupy though) seems to slide down the tongue.
It’s very silky, actually, despite a more full mouthfeel. Juicy apple is the main fruit that seems to take form as it cools, along with notes of pear. As it grows even cooler, notes of raisin and cherry seem to show up as the cup presents itself in delicately soft and deep fruit finishes.
Delicate, airy sweetness, silky.
V60 no stir | 34g © to 453g (w) | 3:35 total time | 200 degrees
Silky, yet juicy mouthfeel. A little dark honey taste like in the kalita but mostly delicate fruit notes and cream.
Predominantly apple notes with a tartness too in the finish that reminds me of raspberry, cherry seems to be there as well.
It is slightly spiced like cinnamon baked apples, carrying along brown sugar notes too.
There seems to be a light sparkling green apple acidity that stands out a little more as the cup cools.
The finish contains a natural sugary sweetness that dances around the palette.
Silky, sparkling, sweet.
Aeropress Inverted | 18g © to 240g (w) | 1:30 inverted then press by 1:55 total time | 205 degrees
Big apple tastes but also a really bright and tart acidity alongside of it.
Really juicy - like apple cider with concentrate.
Continues to sweeten as it cools.
Chemex | 28g © to 407g (w) | 3:32 total time | 199 degrees
Initial tastes left more to be desired, and seemed slightly grassy.
Tastes like spongey chocolate cake but lacking sweetness.
Fairly rich, but not necessarily heavy.
Cream taste starts to creep in, slight delicate notes of apple as well with a granny smith acidity. It sort or reminds me of Apple Jacks cereal, when it is slightly soggy from the milk in the bowl.
Settles into a slick mouthfeel with a tea-like body.
Very pleasing and easy to drink overall.
Delicate, apple, tea-like.
Woodneck | 34g © to 476g (w) | 4:45 total time | 203 degrees
While grinding, the smell reminds me of freshly made pralines - like I’m standing in the doorway of River Street Sweets in Charleston, South Carolina.
The first sips are sweet- a little buttery, a little nutty, and a little caramel. There is a molasses sweetness with hints of cinnamon and a hint of roastiness.
The acidity isn’t as sharp in this method, but still sits mid to rear mouth. It is still very wide in mouthfeel, rich in flavor, but not very heavy.
Instead of the juicy fruit notes, the apple seems more subdued here - more like eating an apple turnover.
As it cools further the notes seem to be creamy, sweet, light and refreshingly juicy.
Sweet, wide, apple, refreshing.
To be completely honest again - this didn’t start out as my favorite coffee. I wasn’t finding the notes that were portrayed in the cupping notes, so it had me digging around for information on coffee from Bolivia. I referenced a great read from Equal Exchange as well as Sweet Marias that really helped shed some light on this coffee for me. To just highlight a few sections:
Bolivia has all the ingredients to be a high-quality coffee producer, such as altitude, fertile soil, and a consistent rainy season. However, the rugged terrain and lack of infrastructure and technology make post-harvest quality control a challenging task. Funds from development agencies are working to establish processing facilities in rural areas so that farmers have access to the resources that will help ensure quality beans, while also adding value to their product.
In the past few years specialty labeling (Fair Trade, organic, and shade grown) and the cooperative movement have been gaining momentum among various rural commodity producers, including such goods as coffee, cocoa, bananas, and crafts. The purpose of these initiatives is to support sustainable livelihoods, improve working conditions, allocate credit, and promote environmentally sound agricultural practices, such as biodiversity, while maintaining productivity.
Great Bolivian coffees are delicate, bright and aromatically sweet, the classic “clean cup.” They have subtle fruit notes, like pear, apple, apricot, tangerine and lemon. They can develop roast flavors that are malty, chocolatey, nutty, with caramel or honey sweetness. The best flavors really emerge as the cup cools and do not diminish but grow in intensity.
Now, I won’t go on about Fair Trade, organic, or any of those labelings because I am not well educated on the practices and the longevity or realistic benefits. All I will say is that, given the information I was able to sift through, there have been things put in place to aid in bringing an awareness and procedure to culturing the coffee in Bolivia (and other countries for that matter.)
It would be easy for me to drink this and compare it to other coffees from other regions all around, some highly known for producing excellent coffees and some not. In fact before reading the above articles that was exactly what I was doing. Once reading Sweet Marias’ notes on what actually describes a good Bolivian coffee, I started to notice different elements of my cups. While it wasn’t my favorite coffee profile I was able to enjoy the coffee for what it was - a Bolivian coffee nuanced with subtle fruit notes, delicate presentation overall, pleasing sweetness, and lasting juiciness. Based on that, and until I welcome other Bolivian offerings, I’d say it was a grand Bolivian coffee.
It really taught me that, and with all coffee offerings that I encounter, I should be referencing them more to the region, and less to all other coffees I’ve had. By doing that I find myself enjoying the coffee more for what it is than I might otherwise.
I want to thank whoever runs PT’s twitter account for assisting in me getting this coffee. It got pulled from their selection before I was able to order and they still managed to get a bag to me.
Co-host of the I Brew My Own Coffee Podcast and always has all the chocolate. I also love to play board games. Yea, let's go do that right now.