“Sol de la mañana.” It’s a phrase with a warm, uplifting timbre, and the meaning—Spanish for the “sun in the morning”—matches the sound perfectly. It’s also the name of a project at Las Alasitas, where Pedro Rodriguez is working to train the next generation of growers. To learn more about the project, appreciate the real significance behind the effort, and understand the promise it holds, you have to sift through a few layers of context. Most Bolivian coffee farms are small, family-run operations with strong ties to traditional methods and little in the way of modern-day techniques. Coffee trees grow wild among virgin forests, and the growers tend to harvest on intuition—once the cherries start to sprout, they head out to the fields. Going on “feel” alone prevents the farmers from maximizing their hauls, however, often sapping overall productivity and prompting growers to shift toward the more productive, cost-efficient practice of coca cultivation. With that trend constantly thinning the coffee-grower ranks in Bolivia, the country’s coffee production has fallen so precipitously that Bolivian coffee exports now amount to a measly one-third of their levels just 10 years ago.


With the Bolivian coffee community sinking into a deeper crisis, Pedro decided to start up his own coffee farm in 2012 while running his existing export business. Incorporating modern techniques to boost productivity and researching his way toward better quality levels, Pedro has created a coffee operation with a sterling reputation—and built a massive network of farms, now 11 strong. One of those farms is Las Alasitas, where the coffee fields strike a distinctly modern look. Tidy rows of coffee trees trace the contours of the mountain topography in orderly lines, imbuing the farm with a visual character at once lush and methodical in its organization. Hanging from the flourishing branches are plump cherries with deep, rich colors and incredibly sweet tastes. The trees are the stuff of legend in the area; not only are the growers from nearby farms abuzz with rumors that the trees are “enchanted,” but the farm’s saplings have even been the targets of robbery attempts. That’s the kind of allure Las Alasitas has—but it’s not some miraculous, magical force that makes the coffee so amazing. It’s Pedro’s commitment to quality, his dedication to proper cultivation.


Pedro doesn’t keep all that success to himself, though. He’s started a new project to share all of his expertise with the young, aspiring growers of the next generation—the “Sol de la mañana.” If those successors can master modern farming techniques, Pedro knows, they’ll be able to boost productivity and see how they can make coffee cultivation work on their own. Bolivian coffee had been losing its vitality for years, fumbling around in the dark. Pedro envisions a better tomorrow, one where a new sun gleams bright. In the coffee world, the grower makes the flavor. Now’s your chance to taste a bit of Pedro’s unique personality—and we’re sure you’ll be able to sense his sincere, infectious optimism in every sip.