This coffee was produced by smallholder farmers around the district of Illimani, a remote community in Bolivia’s Caranavi province.
Illimani was founded in 1968, when a few families in search of land settled in this fertile area. There are now some 30 extended families living in Illimani and the district has its own school and health center.
This lot consists of a mix of Caturra (50%), Catuai (30%) and Typica (20%) varietals, grown in the shade of native trees at an average elevation of 1500 meters above sea level.
The harvest in Illimani runs from May to September, peaking in June and July. The cherries are picked by hand only when they are fully ripe. They are then prepared using the fully washed process, either on the farms themselves or at the Buena Vista Wet Mill in Caranavi.
Welcome to my Table, here in the corner of this cafe. Today we’re sipping the Illimani Bolivia, from Amaya Roasting Company in Houston, Texas. Feel free to pull up a chair.
region: Illimani, Caranavi, Bolivia
farm/factory: Buena Vista Wet Mill
producer: smallholder farmers
elevation: 1500 meters above sea level
cultivars: Caturra, Catuai, Typica
process: fully washed, patio dried
The aroma of the Illimani is incredibly decadent—brimming and spilling over with enormously sweet scents of chocolate cake batter, vanilla ice cream, strawberry, brown sugar, and baking spices.
Taking my first few sips of the coffee is like the first few licks of an ice cream cone; except, you know, hot. So I guess it’s not all that similar to an ice cream cone, but it does have really sweet and decadent flavors of vanilla ice cream, graham cracker, chocolate, and a dusting of praline, brown sugar, and baking spices in the finish.
As it cools off, the coffee gets even sweeter—and brighter—with beautiful and juicy flavors of bing cherry, Fuji apple, raisin, and marzipan, while a bittersweet citrus acidity streams down the center and sides of the tongue.
Full body; buttery mouthfeel; citrus acidity; clean finish.
THE BOTTOM LINE:
Those of you who have been readers for a while will know that Bolivian coffee will always have a soft place in my heart, so I approach each Bolivian coffee that is sent to me with a balance of anticipation and trepidation. I’m always excited to taste really good ones, but equally nervous that the sample’s going to taste not really good (which is very disappointing for me). Luckily, that didn’t turn out to be the case with Amaya Roasting Company’s Illimani Bolivia.
This coffee was supremely decadent and, if not for its full bodiedness, would be best enjoyed as a dessert; I mean, it tastes like a deconstructed ice cream sundae anyway—why not enjoy it like one?
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Andrew is a husband, father, dog lover, craft beverage enthusiast, content creator, and niche market Internet celebrity. Formerly of A Table in the Corner of the Cafe and The Pulitzer Project and contributor to Barista Magazine and Mental Floss, he’s been writing on the Internet for years.