El Mirador Bolivia is an exceptional coffee that has traveled an epic journey from its landlocked, high-altitude farm, to your cup.
Our current Roaster's Choice, El Mirador Bolivia, is from a single small farm, belonging to Lucio Mamani and his family. The farm, Finca El Mirador, is located in the North Yungas province and is rooted in a terrain that is gifted for Arabica production. This region is bordered by the tall mountain ranges of the Andes that peak at over
22,000'. (Photo: Royal Coffee)
For coffee farmers in the Yungas area, the Andes present an extremely treacherous and often deadly route to traverse. This journey is essential- crossing this range is the only way for coffee growers to get their crop into the hands of distributors and roasters.
El Mirador comes from the same area that is famous for The Death Road; a trade route that connects the Yungas region to the city of La Paz, the hub of trade.
The logistics of transport is not the only reason that coffee growing has not flourished in this country. The history of coffee’s cultivation in Bolivia is a rollercoaster of trial and error, obstacles and triumphs. The coffee plant has thrived in Bolivian soils for hundreds of years but its story of cultivation really begins with the revolution of 1952. The uprising, led by indigenous laborers murmuring and then shouting the slogan ‘the land belongs to those that work it’, resulted in the redistribution of land from wealthy landowners to the working people. In the aftermath of the revolt, a mass migration occurred to the Yungas region. Working folks, who were most familiar with ranching, arrived to their new land plots and an unfamiliar agricultural lifestyle. This prompted a region-wide quest amongst struggling families to find the most productive and successful crops.
While coffee grows well in the Bolivian climate, it requires significant investment in time and resources and it takes years to yield a profitable harvest. In contrast, coca (the plant that is processed into cocaine) is quickly profitable and requires much less labor and care- it was an obvious choice for most farmers. Coca production monopolized the use of prime real estate in the region for decades. However, coca plants are also linked to soil depletion and social degradation and around the 1980’s governments began incentivize farmers to grow coffee instead.
(For a great read on the history of Bolivian Coffee, check out Royal Coffee's Blog Photo: Royal Coffee)
Coffee farms located in this highland, that is rich in biodiversity and verdant soil, have thrived- producing beautiful crops of coffee beans. However, coffee growers are still challenged by isolation. The Death Road was rebuilt for safety in 1994 but Bolivian growers still often don’t have the infrastructure to process or transport their coffee on their own, presenting a challenge to exporting beans from such territory.We call this coffee El Mirador, meaning ‘vista’ or ‘lookout’ in Spanish, not only as a nod to its place of origin but also because this coffee defines an immersive experience of taste of place. This rare coffee is a manifestation, and a testament, to endurance and perseverance. It is a coffee to cherish.