We've really been working hard to build up our "Classic" coffee lineup. We know that a lot of you coffee lovers out there prefer a chocolatey, thick, heartwarming cup of coffee in the morning, and that's exactly what we've found with this absolute classic from Peru. Notes of Milk Chocolate, Pecans, and Buttered Toffee
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.
This coffee comes from La Naranja farm of producer Elevi Rufasto. Elevi has been a coffee farmer for more than 20 years and manages the farm with his family. They hire 4 staff for help during the harvest. This small 2 hectare plot is situated at 1700 masl and produces catimor and typica between June and October.
After washing and pulping this lot is fermented for 48 hours before being dried in solar tents for 14 days. Once ready the coffee is taken to Falcon’s warehouse in Jaen where it is assessed for quality. At this stage a price is agreed for the coffee depending on its perceived cup score. Prices are set according to lot quality and Falcon aims to pay 30% above the local price as this quality bonus will have a huge impact on the farmer’s livelihood, and that of their family. Finally, the coffee is transported to a plant called Café Selva Norte SAC and checked for any defects before being bagged and moved to the coast for shipping.
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.