When we first visited the communities around Caranavi and Coroico in Los Yungas, the market for fine Bolivian coffee was just getting started. We were invited by a group of UNDP agronomist who had identified small-scale coffee farmers. These farmers had unique advantages in the marketplace: they had never used chemical fertilizers, so their coffee was de-facto organic and they had unique elevation, climate and soil conditions, which meant that in the cup, this coffee was truly distinct.
Level Ground purchases from Agricabv, a privately owned milling plant, which purchases coffee from a selection of small-scale farmers in Caranavi (Yungas), Chapare and Buena Vista.
Background of Organization
Agricabv employees over 15+ individuals, over half of which are women. It has a well established cupping lab and purchase from approximately 1,200 farmers.
Los Yungas, near Coroico and Caranavi, Bolivia
Type of Organization
Organic Certified by CERES & C.A.F.E Practices Compliant
Farmers live in Caranavi (Yungas), Chapare and Buena Vista. The majority are Aymara farming families. Some farmers spend half the year in the high Andes tending potato crops and keeping llamas and half the year picking the coffee harvest and weeding and pruning their coffee trees. 15 farming families sell to a local washing and drying station set up by the Montano family. Their only export crop is coffee.
May through August
Bourbon, Caturra, Typica
Shade grown practices
Direct Fair Trade Premiums
Premiums from purchases of Bolivian coffee are directed towards educational training in agronomy, educational scholarships for children of farming families, and a salary for a local social worker assisting in the farming community.
The Montaño Family
Don Cervando Montaño has been farming all his life. As an orphan child, he served as a farm hand on an estate farm that belonged to a Spanish colonizer. As a wedding gift, he was given an acre of land to farm. Together with their ten grown children, Don Cervando and his wife Doña Alejandra Montaño are progressive and entrepreneurial and are determined to better their coffee quality. They host a community washing station on their farm that gathers red coffee ‘cherries’ from small-scale farms in the area. Their coffee is organic certified and has scored highly with international judges of the Cup of Excellence competition.