The day after going to see Las Tres Cascadas (the three waterfalls) in Coroico, Bolivia, I spent a relaxing afternoon sitting back and sipping coffee in M&M Cafe, block uphill from the Coroico Plaza. After explaining to the young coffeemaker that I just wanted to taste the coffee straight up without cream, sugar or the likes, he seemed to light up. His name was Mauro, and it seemed he was the one running the family business, M&M Cafe. He was delighted to see me with camera ready at the table for a classic “foodie pic” of the froth-topped, steaming mug.
He proudly began to boast about the family business. “You see, most Bolivians do not care about good coffee, for this reason, although Bolivia produces some of the best coffee, you can only find it abroad. We export most of our coffee to Japan, because like the U.S., where Colombian is the premium coffee, the Japanese are coffee people too. What we have done is made a good coffee here is Coroico and are selling it here, too. My father’s plantation,” he boasted, “is at high altitude. The best coffee is grown at altitude.” Mauro believed that his father’s plantation was at just about the perfect altitude to produce the best cup of joe, and I’m inclined to believe him. It was good stuff, and as a bonus, it gave me a hell of a caffeine buzz!
Mauro went on to show me a book full of beautiful pictures from his part of the country, giving me some recommendations and excitedly listening to my stories from La Isla del Sol, Huayna Potosí, and my quickly found love for Coroico.
Mauro and his M&M Coffee family are a shining example of going against the norm of exporting the best product to countries that will pay more, reflecting his national and familial pride. Not only do I recommend stepping off the gringo trail to spend a few peaceful days in Coroico, I highly recommend spending an hour sitting back to sip some amazing coffee and talking to Mauro at M&M Cafe!