Coffee in Peru has had a rocky start. When it was first grown starting around 1740, it was entirely consumed locally and exports didn’t begin until 1887 to England. In the 1990s, when Peru defaulted on a British loan, Britain was given 5 million acres of land in Central Peru as repayment. A good portion of this land was used for growing crops, especially coffee. Eventually, the British left and some of the land came to be owned by those who farmed it.
However, the 1970s, the Peru government crippled coffee’s growth through lack of proper infrastructure. It was also hurt by the an International Coffee Agreement which guaranteed sales and prices. When The Shining Path, a communist party, took over, they further destroyed crops and drove away farmers.
The history of coffee in Peru isn’t all bad though. More recently, non-government organizations like Fair Trade have rescued the coffee industry in Peru which is why you find a lot of their coffees to be Fair Trade certified and more and more land being dedicated to coffee. They are now one of the biggest coffee producers in the world.
Infrastructure is still a limiting factor in Peru for high quality lots. Little infrastructure means coffee has to travel far to be processed. 1/4 of the 100,000 small producers are members of cooperatives (remember, you must be a member of a cooperative in order to be Fair Trade certified). There is also a strong culture of certified Organic coffee, although this certification is unrelated to cup quality and often brings down the prices of higher quality coffees. Leaf rust is also an increasing problem for Peru…
Tasting Notes: Toffee, savory, lemon and nut
Varietal: Typica, Caturra, Bourbon
Process: Method Fully Washed and Sun Dried On-Site
About the Coffee:
CENFROCAFE is one of the strongest cooperatives in Peru, both in terms of volume and quality. They have programs in place to increase production through organic fertilization also keeping plants healthy which is extremely helpful during coffee leaf rust outbreaks. CENFROCAFE produces about 120,000 quintales (1 quintal = 100 lbs) of coffee per year being one of the leading cooperatives in the country in volume. The average production per hectare is about 22 quintales which is high for organic production around the world. CENFRO recommends its producers to fertilize with Guano de Isla, phosphore ore, and Ulexite to achieve these yields.
In terms of quality, CENFROCAFE is one of the top exporters in Peru as well. They have placed in the top spots in national competitions, the having a big potential for microlots,and they have excellent delivery with consistent full containers. Beginning in 2013 Cafe Imports began offering microlots to complement the APU full containers.
Coffee came to Peru in the mid 1700s and was most likely introduced by Dutch immigrants. The Dutch brought the Typica variety which still dominates especially amongst the older farms and micro-farms. The first coffee plantings were in Chinchao, Huanuco in Selva Central and disseminated from there to the Northern (Cajamarca) and Southern (Cusco and Puno) regions of the country. Peru had its first coffee shop in 1771 in Lima and started exporting coffee in 1887.
Peru is a country which has great potential but for particular reasons it is extremely hard to find 87+ coffee landed in consuming countries. The potential is there: the country is the 8th largest producer of coffee in the world, has plenty of farms at and above 1600 and 1800 meters, and has predominantly Typica and Bourbon varieties; all of these conditions should give us, in theory, 88 – 90+ coffee. But this is not the case, high-end coffee out of Peru is very scarce due to the challenges they face. Most farmers own a couple of hectares only and are in remote areas. Many times their farms are 4 hours by foot from the nearest town and the town could be 8 hours by truck from the nearest port. This means coffee can sit at the farm unnecessarily for extended periods of time after it is dried. During the drying season climate conditions tend to be very humid with precipitation. Without proper storage, such as GrainPro, coffee will gain moisture and destabilize cup-quality.
This coffee was sourced through Cafe Imports, along with the description of the coffee.