I’ve never been a fan of Peru coffee, I am not sure why and it’s been a vast generalisation, but I am pleased to say, this coffee has changed my mind.
This coffee is grown by 127 smallholder farmers in the fertile valleys of La Convención and Quebrada, near the town of Cusco in Peru’s southern highlands. It is the area’s main legal crop, and as such plays an important role as the most profitable alternative to growing coca, the plant used to produce cocaine, which is frequently grown (illegally in Peru) in the same areas as coffee.
These small farms are located at between 1,200 to 1,900 metres above sea level in the steep Andean valleys in the region around Cusco. Most are traditional family run operations, which have been passed on from generation to generation of farmers. All are fully organic certified and their coffee is grown in the shade of native trees – including Pacaes, Pisonay, Yanay, Incaty, Sumbaillo, Achihua, Chalanqui, Motoy, Toroc, Lúcumas, Pashacos and Paltas trees. These provide important habitat for many indigenous bird and animal species, such as parrots, humming birds and armadillos.
The harvest runs from March until August. All of the family usually take part – around five people -plus around another five temporary workers. The coffee is fully washed by each producer in the traditional manner – the bad or unripe cherries are separated by immersion in water (the ripe cherries sink), then the cherries are de-pulped and fermented for between 12 and 18 hours to remove the mucilage. The waste water from this process is filtered to avoid contaminating the surrounding land. The coffee is then dried in the sun on concrete patios until it reaches 12% humidity.
I have to tell you a secret. I don’t normally like a lot of the Peru lots I’ve tasted. When I see organic Peru I shudder in the corner, and in fear. Peru produces a lot of average coffee, but this coffee shows why it is so important to cup blind and without prejudice. On a blind table. But this coffee shows why it is so important. In the cup expect floral, expect super juicy with black tea notes with a delicious orange zest, and sweet sugary after-taste. I love this coffee, and I am so pleased to have found it.
Farm: 127 smallholder farmers
Varietal: Bourbon Caturra Catimor Catuaí Típica
Processing: Fully Washed and dried on patio
Altitude: 1,200 to 1,900 metres above sea level
Owner: 127 smallholder farmers
Region: Yanatile, Calca and La Convención