This and the Colombia El Pedregal are our two standout South American Washed coffees of the spring. Absolutely gorgeous, body for days, complexity, but not so weird that they can't be a daily drinker. This is one of those coffees that bridges the gap between something your dad would be happy drinking, but equally your fussiest hipster barista will find complex mouthfeel and unusual notes to tickle their palate. 100 percent recommend. Notes of Cinnamon and Blackberry Pie, with a buttery, flaky texture.
We sourced this coffee through our friends at Falcon Coffee who have completely re-written the rules on working directly with producers in Peru and ensuring additional payments make it all the way back to the farmers.
Luz and Roger, passionate coffee farmers from the El Diamante village in the San Jose de Lourdes district of Peru, are proud cultivators of both yellow and red Caturra coffee varieties on their 3-hectare land. Situated at elevations above 1900 meters above sea level, their coffee farm benefits from the rich flavours imparted by high-altitude conditions. Along with their family members, who also own coffee farms in the vicinity, Luz and Roger work together to manage their coffee plantations. While each family member has their own land, Roger takes on the responsibility of overseeing the picking, processing, and drying of the coffee cherries.
To ensure optimal taste, they harvest the coffee cherries at peak ripeness before allowing them to pre-ferment in bags overnight. The cherries are then depulped and fermented for 24 to 36 hours, depending on weather conditions. This extended fermentation and cherry maceration process results in a distinctive fruity note that beautifully complements the coffee's pronounced citric acidity, a characteristic attributed to the high-altitude growth environment.
The drying process involves placing the coffee inside a well-ventilated greenhouse on a wooden patio lined with plastic. Once the moisture content falls below 11%, the coffee is transported to Jaén, where it is delivered to the Falcon Coffees Peru warehouse. Through their dedication to sustainable farming practices and commitment to quality, Luz and Roger bring the unique and exquisite flavours of their Peruvian coffee to the world.
We have been working in northern Peru for several years, buying specialty coffee from cooperatives and associations with whom we have built lasting relationships. Whilst a lot of the arrival quality we have seen in previous seasons has been good, we have struggled to impact upon that quality or make improvements in the supply chain as we would like. More importantly, the premiums we had been paying for quality rarely makes it directly back to producers, something we have had very little control over in previous years.
In Peru, like some other origins, coffee farmers are sensitive to market changes and often lack basic training and the incentive to produce higher qualities of coffee, as premiums often don’t materialise. For these reasons we decided we needed to change the way we buy coffee in Peru and work directly with producers, allowing us to control and improve upon existing quality and have full financial traceability. Ensuring these two factors would help us to pay higher prices for the coffees and to make sure that producers received a fair price for the coffee they delivered us, above the market price. In order to do this, we set up a warehouse in Jaen and started to buy in parchment directly from producers.
The Cajamarca region holds a lot of potential for quality coffee, with ideal growing conditions and great varieties, but quality is often lost in picking, processing and drying, with producers lacking infrastructure and knowledge. The most vulnerable producers are those that are unassociated – those who aren’t members of a cooperative, association or organisation – and they represent 75% of producers in northern Peru. These producers don’t have access to training sessions or premiums for quality or certifications, and their income is totally dependent on the market price. Often, local aggregators – a buyer who lives in the same area – will come to the farm or house of a producer and buy their coffee for cash before selling it on, in some cases, directly to an exporter or more often to other traders and middlemen. This results in the producer being paid very little for their coffee and a lot of quality coffee is lost.
This shift in approach to sourcing will allow us to forge long-term relationships directly with farmers, improve the coffee quality we can offer from these areas and increase producer household income through access to quality premiums.