This is a certified fair trade organic Bolivia Co-Op coffee with sweet, clean flavor. On the map, you'll find Bolivia landlocked between Peru and Brazil. This can make it hard to export as passage to port requires co-operation of a competing country. Bolivian farmers also have a reputation of being "hard to work with." So a good Bolivia doesn't come on market all that often, and I snatched this one up excitedly. It's fresh 2014-2015 crop, just came in December 2014. This is from the FECAFEB co-op, which is the Federation of Coffee Exporting Producers of Bolivia, one of the largest FTO co-ops. The beans themselves are very high quality with very few defects. The beans are uniformly sized, and are reasonably large, roughly a 15-16 screen size.
Compared to the other South American coffees, Bolivia is most closely comparable to a Peru. In the lighter City and City + roasts, you will get a coffee that is boring and normal, but altogether pleasant. It is smooth and has a clean finish. Nice body, nice aroma. Use your imagination and say there's a taste of honey in there. I drank the whole pot of it before I could help myself...but overall, it's just not memorable. It would make a great coffee to flavor, because there's nothing here that's going to compete with the taste of the flavorings. At the second cracks, it starts to get a little bite at the finish -- I suppose if you use your imagination you'd call it bakers cocoa. It's still smooth and oh-so-drinkable, but just ever so slightly bitter with a cocoa taste at the end, and once I brewed it up, I thought, "yes, this is the right profile for this coffee." But then I tried 30 seconds into the 2nd cracks, and this was more interesting yet. Now it had some real character to it, a nice full body, with traditional flavor, and that great cocoa bite at the end was getting better and better, and I was really happy with this roast. And then I took it 60+ seconds into the 2nd cracks into French Roast territory, and it held up fantastic, was a great French Roast and made AWESOME single origin espresso. We were drinking espressos and macchiatos all afternoon and didn't sleep all night, but we couldn't wait to get back to the shop and have more of it.... So all this to say -- if you like light roasts, roast it light. If you like medium roasts, roast it medium. And if you like dark roasts or espressos, take it dark. I almost never say this, but this Bolivian really is a one-size-fit-all kind of coffee bean. There's not any one sweet spot for this bean, but if I did have to pick one, I'd recommend trying it 20-30 seconds past the first snaps of the 2nd cracks.