Juan Boyan Guarachi

Nayra Qata

It is not easy for us foreigners to connect with coffee producers in chaotic environments like Bolivia. Politics, culture, power relations, human relations, and the harsh natural environment are all intertwined and drag us further and further into chaos. The most famous Bolivian producer is Agricafe and the rest of the producers remain in a black box. Juan is a key person to unravel such a black box. He retired from Agricafe where he worked for many years and built a dry mill in La Paz last year. He started working with smallholders to process their coffee. Juan’s ambition is to shine a light on smallholders in Bolivia who are still unknown to the world. Many smallholders come to Juan’s dry mill with their coffees. He can judge the quality correctly, process it properly, manage lots, and deliver them to coffee markets around the world. From a roasters’ point of view, Juan is the only point of contact for smallholders in Bolivia that no one knows yet. Nayra Qata means “to be first” in Aymara, the language spoken in South America. We traveled together with Juan to the Caranavi area. I’ll never forget the night we spent cupping at the hotel in Caranavi. We were all exhausted but Juan prepared for the cupping saying just a few words. The cupping continued until 11:00 pm. Juan is a large man with a relaxed demeanor but when he talks about his work, his eyes sometimes become sharp. We listened to him as we walked through the dry mill. Juan’s Encounter with Don Pedro “Since my family was poor, I needed to start working at a young age,...

Nayra Qata

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