The Bolivian Coffee Industry

Bolivian Coffee Industry

Bolivian coffee is new to the world of specialty coffees, only now creating the infrastructure, technology, and skills needed to promote a quality product that supports economic, social, and environmental sustainability. Fair trade and organic initiatives, coupled with economic development projects  provide support and opportunity to coffee producers on a local, national, and international level.

Bolivian Coffee Industry

Bolivia is a very small player in the coffee industry, ranking 38th in coffee production, behind the US at 35th. Ninety-five percent of coffee production in Bolivia is in the Yungas region.

Coffee first came to Bolivia in the late 18th century where the coffee trees were initially used as property markers or to line roads. By the late 1950’s, over 17,000 acres were in coffee production, but the government’s interest in mining resulted in a near-abandonment of coffee farming due to the lack of incentives.

Prior to 1991, most farms in Bolivia were owned by wealthy land owners who hired Brazil’s native people to work for them.  In 1991, a governmental land reform forced the larger landowners to return the farms to the families who had originally owned them.  These small plots range in size from 2.5 to 8 acres, but these organic farms produce between 85%-95% of Bolivia’s coffee, despite the fact that often only a small percentage of the land is dedicated to coffee.

The Bolivian coffee industry has been adjusting its quality by improving its post-harvest techniques, mostly due to the Market Access and Poverty Alleviation (MAPA) project, a USAID-funded project that provides technical assistance to coffee growers in Bolivia. This young coffee industry is in the hands of more than 23,000 small growers are learning how to make better coffee while bringing home a steady income.  These small landholders use little or no fertilizers or pesticides, typically hand-picking and washing their coffee beans before sun or machine drying.

Bolivia has all the components necessary to be a high-quality coffee producer: altitude, fertile soil, and a consistent rainy season. However, the rugged terrain and lack of infrastructure and technology make post-harvest quality control quick difficult.  Green coffee beans had to be sent along the “Death Road,” a dangerous mountain road.  Conditions along this road make keeping the coffee beans dry a difficult task, affecting the flavor of the coffee.   Recent funding from external agencies has helped establish co-ops in the rural areas.  Since 2006, the “Death Road” has been upgraded and modernized.  Bolivian coffee farmers now have the ability to ensure quality coffee while providing more community jobs and tapping into the global organic market.

Within the entire Bolivian coffee industry, 28 privately owned firms control more than 70% of  the coffee export trade. The remaining percentage is traded by Bolivia’s 17 coffee cooperatives. Both the private and cooperative sectors are members of the Bolivian Coffee Committee, or Cobolca. Most of Bolivia’s green coffee beans are exported to the US, the European Union, the Russian Federation, and Japan.


bolivia_coffee_map_topographyLocated in the western heart of South America, Bolivia covers an area of 1,098,581 square kilometers – roughly three times the size of Montana. Two ranges of the Andes Mountains stretch across western Bolivia, shaping the country’s three major geographic regions: the mountainous highlands and Altiplano in the west, the semitropical Yungas and temperate valleys of the eastern mountain slopes, and the tropical lowlands that span across the northern and eastern regions, known as the Oriente.

The Coffee Crisis 1998-2004

The global coffee crisis

The global coffee crisis of the early 2000’s was extremely devastating for Bolivia’s rural farmers. In 1997, Bolivia exported 6,725 metric tons of green coffee and received $26,040,000, making each metric ton worth approximately $3,872. In 2003, however,  green coffee exports totaled 4,453 metric tons, returning only $6,389,000, thereby  valuing each metric ton at a mere $1,4237. This staggering price disparity reflects (on a smaller scale) the natural boom and bust cycles of the coffee economy, making small-scale farmers extremely vulnerable to cyclical price shocks,thus crippling rural incomes and trapping coffee farmers in chronic poverty. Hundreds of thousands of coffee farmers were forced out of business during this crises.

Programs and Social Change

Fair Trade, organic, and shade grown coffee

Specialty coffee labeling, such as Fair Tradeorganic, and shade grown, and the cooperative movement have gained momentum among a variety of rural farmers. Many cooperatives have united under this movement, yet others are incapable of paying the certification costs, which are considerable in the context of such poverty. ANTOFAGASTA, established near La Paz in 1992, was one of the first cooperatives on the Fair Trade register that sells a portion of their coffee through Equal Exchange’s Fair Trade market.

Bolivian Coffee

Correctly processed Bolivian coffee has a full, almost fruity taste.  Some describe this coffee as having a classic clean taste, sweet with fruity notes of pear, tangerine, lemon, apricot, and apple. Bolivian coffee that has been deep roasted tends to develop a more caramel and mild chocolate flavor.

The next time you thinking about trying something new, consider Bolivian coffee.  Every bag of fair trade Bolivian coffee you buy promotes sustainable farming while helping the coffee farmers become self-sufficient.

Companies and organizations exporting coffee in La Paz Bolivia

95% of the coffee production in Bolivia is concentrated in La Paz, with 3% in Santa Cruz, 1% in Cochabamba and the remaining 1% in Tarija and Beni. 

export data Bolivia

Business name Address City
AIPEP ASOC INT. OF ECOLOGICAL PRODUCERS Calle Pucarani No. 340 San Sebastián Peace
ACEB Federico Zuazo No. 1885 Central Peace
AGRICOLA CAFETALERA BUENA VISTA AGRICABV SA. Pasaje Santa Rosa No. 100, Villa Fatima Peace
AGROECOLOGIAS.PILON LAJA Calle 6 No. 6 Villa Santa Rosa El Alto – La Paz
AIECE LTDA. ASOC. INT. EXP. CAFE ECOL. Colonia Niño Jesús, Lot No. 5 central Nor Este Caranavi Peace
ASOC. OF WORKING GROUPS MINGA C. Rosemhamer esq. Chiquitos s / n San Ignacio de Velasco Puerto Suárez – Santa Cruz
AGROINDUSTRIAL ASSOCIATION PROD.DE LA PAZ – AGROINPAZ Juan Santos Atahuallpa No. 3131 Villa Mercedes El Alto – La Paz
TAIPI BEACH ASSOCIATION ASOCAFE The High Zone Cupilupaca C. Rio mapiri No. 1115 Peace
ASOCIACION DE CAORES ECOLOGICO “APROCAFE” Colonia Juan del Valle No. 14 Central Zone (Caranavi) Peace
ROSARIO AECAR ECOLOGICAL ASSOCIATION OF CAFICULTORES C. Socabaya No. 240 Edif. Handal P-7 Department 704 Central Zone Peace
INTEGRAL ASSOCIATION OF PRODUCERS Road to Viacha No. 50 Love of God El Alto – La Paz
CELCCAR LTDA. Av. Mariscal Santa Cruz No.148. Caranavi
CENT.DE ASOC. COFFEE PRODUCERS New road Llusta s / n Canton San Lorenzo Caranavi – La Paz
CENTRO DE COOPERATIVAS CAFETALERAS NOR YUNGAS LTDA Av. Juan Sagarnaga y Pinilla. S / n Central Zone Coroico – La Paz
CIAPEC LTDA. Huayna Potosí No. 50 Horizontes III El Alto El Alto – La Paz
COAINE Calle Carabuco No. 1140 V. Spring, El Alto
El Alto – La Paz
COOP. AGRICOLA CAFETALERA SAN JUAN LTDA. C. Pucarani No. 340 Edif. Llajta P-01 Area San Sebastián Peace
COOP. AGRICULTURAL VILLA EAST Av. Estructurante 268 Zona Villa Mercedes Peace
COOP. AGROP. AND COM. HIGH SAJAMA Location San Sebastián Av. Idelfonzo de las Muñecas Peace
COOP. AGROPECUARIA MEJILLONES LTDA. Area Rosas Pampa Av 3 C – 15 Nº 14 El Alto Peace
COOP. INT. AGRICOLA NUEVA ALIANZA LTDA. Cyan Canton Carrasco Province Caranavi Reserve Peace
CORACA CRC Street pichincha No 667 Peace
CORP. AGROP. CAMPESINA REG. IRUPANA “CORACA -RI” Landaeta – March 23rd No. 533 – Zona Churiaca Av. Del Estudiante No. 254 Irupana Peace
CORPUS CRISTHY ILLAMPU LTDA. Central Entre Ríos s / n Cantón Rosario Entre Ríos Peace
EXIMCAR SRL. – CARLO IMPORTS EXPORTS C. Octavio Campero Echazu No. 1115 Urb. Litoral El Alto El Alto – La Paz
EXIMPAZ C. Socabaya 240. Edif. Handal, P. 7, Dept. 704 El Alto – La Paz
INDUSTRIA COPACABANA SA. C. Luís Salinas Vega and Av. Vásquez No.108 zone Pura Pura Peace
PUCO DEL TUCAN Av. 6 de Agosto No. 6 Zona San Roque Peace
PROADES SRL C. Kalapachita 13 No. 1170 Cosmos 79 El Alto – La Paz
RAINFOREST EXQUISITE PRODUCTS Av. General Lanza 2003. Sopocachi Peace
SITRONPAZ SRL Luís Espinal No. 5015 Rió Seco, Urbanización Villa Ingenio Peace
SOC. AGROP. IND. TEC. “SAITE SRL.” Urb. Cosmos 79 Zn. Collpavi C. Esquillana No.4014 Peace
SOC. IND. CAFETALERA SOINCA LTDA. Villa Fátima Pasaje Santa Rosa No. 100 Peace
TORR EX LTDA Rio Orthon Street No. 2064 El Alto – La Paz
UNION PRO AGRO Cologne Second Tupak Katari Central Bethlehem Chijchipani (Caranavi) Peace
VICOPEX SRL Calle 16 Gonzáles No. 8292 Sur – Calacoto Peace
ZAVALA SRL Av. 20 de Octubre s / n Sopocachi Peace
AGROECOLOGIA ANDINA ECOGREZ SRL. Av. Ballivián No. 53, Villa Juliana Zone, Peace
IRUPANA ANDEAN ORGANIC FOOD SA. Av. Costanera No. 36 Villa la Merced Peace
LARA IRAHOLA CHRISTIAN JORGE 7th Street – Achumani Plateau No. 77 Peace
RAINFOREST EXQUISITE PRODUCTS Av. General Lanza 2003. Sopocachi Peace
IMPORT EXPORT SANTA CATALINA INC Av. Ayacucho No. 127 Between Heroines and Colombia Planta Baja Of. 5 Cochabamba


Bolivia are working 4 certification companies, which not only perform certifications, but also carry out the inspection process for other certifications.

 Companies and organizations exporting coffee in La Paz.

First name

Type of certification they perform

Accreditations for organic certification



Friendly with the

European Union – DAP
United States – NOP
Canada – CAAQ

La Paz
Address: Calle Otero de la Vega No 645
Telephone: +591 2 2490267
Fax: +591 2 2111543


Utz Kapeh
Best Practices

European Union – Reg 2092/91
United States – NOP
Japan – JAS

Address: Calle Guillermo Vizcarra Nº 125, Tupuraya zone? Telephone: +591 4 4480585 Fax: +591 4 4297361? Email:



European Union – Reg 2092/91
United States – NOP

Address: General Gonzáles 1314, San Pedro, 1st floor, office N ° 103? Phone: 591-2-490747? Fax: 591-2-490747? Email:


Utz Kapeh
Good Practices
Friendly with the birds

European Union – Reg 2092/91
United States – NOP
Japan – JAS

Address: Calacoto 14 # 798? Telephone: +591 (2) 27 92 274
Cell phone: +591 72 57 11 50 y 71 96 14 32? Email: 



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