Agua Rica is the group lot of Rodolfo Choque, his son Alvaro Choque and three other producers. 70% of the lot is made up of coffee produced by the father and son, and all the harvesting is done by the whole family – father, son, mother, and uncle. On this occasion, we visited their farm to talk to them.
“This farm was started by my father, so my son is of the third generation. We also do pig and bee farming here, but the focus is around growing coffee. We started coffee production around 1975, and we mainly grow Typica. We also grow Catuai and Caturra, but I am very attached to Typica because we have been growing it since I was a child. We even collected Typica seedlings from the forest to grow them at the farm. You can identify a Typica tree by its brown branches. Trees with green branches have been bred, so that’s how you can distinguish them. Even though Typica has a low yield, it is very close to purebred and has an excellent sweetness and flavor. It is a wonderful variety that grows strong and adapts well to different regions.
We had exported our product eight years ago, but it turned out to be a scam and we were bought out at a low price. We sold to a local middleman after that, but they never confirmed the quality. Previously, through Juan, we were able to sell for 300 bolivianos (about 40 USD) more per 60 kg bags than the middleman, and we were able to secure a lot of revenue. I was very happy with how they valued the quality of our coffee.
Honestly, we were thinking of giving up coffee production until last year, but we were saved by being able to sell our coffee at a better price. This year, we are more motivated and have taken proper measures to prevent parrots from eating the coffee beans, whereas before we left them alone. We plan to cover the drying beds with tents and use different storage bags among other things to improve quality. In the future, we would also like to work with authorities to revitalize local farms by growing the Typica variety and encourage more coffee distribution.”
The quality put forward by Agua Rica is remarkable, as is evidenced by the fact that the entire batch was sold out immediately upon the first offer. It is also shocking to learn that such wonderful coffee has barely been exported to other countries until now. By distributing their coffee abroad through direct trade, coffee production in Agua Rica will surely revitalize and prosper with Rodolfo’s family at its center.
Originally written in Japanese by Ayane Yamada