|Espresso beans dropping into a cooling tray at Weaver’s Coffee & Tea roaster.|
Why We Drink Coffee from Peru
GUEST BLOG / BY VINCENT DISTORLA, Weaver’s Coffee & Tea, San Rafael, CA--When we think of Peru, we often think of a huge expanse of the Amazon rainforest that runs through the eastern part of the country, or the longest continental mountain range in the world, the Andes Mountains which form a continuous highland along the western edge of South America.
We know that Peru also served as home to the incredible Incan Empire and that tourists can visit remarkable historical sites such as Macho Pichu and Sacred Valley. However, there is one thing that many tourists may have little knowledge of when visiting Peru, most of them do not know about Peruvian coffee, the incredible flavor of the Peru coffee bean, and the importance of Peru's coffee farms to the Peruvian economy. Since Peru is one of the most beautiful places in the world it makes sense that Peru would be able to grow one of the most beautiful and delicious coffees in the world and that coffee would play a key part in the Peruvian economy.
Peru's coffee farms and coffee bean production started in the 1700s. While coffee trees grew well and quickly thanks to the vast microclimates that Peru enjoys, the beautiful coffee beans that coffee farmers harvested were often was kept as a domestic product versus being an export.
In the early 1900s, European investment aided in the country’s infrastructure to make Peruvian coffee an export. Coffee soon became over half of Peru’s export, and today, Peru is the 10th largest coffee producing country and 5th largest Arabica coffee producer in the world.
Now, there are over 120,000 farmers cultivating Peruvian coffee on the slopes of an enormous area of the towering Andes Mountain Range covering nearly 20 degrees of latitude. It is important to remember that most of the coffee farmers producing coffee have minimal access to technical assistance and without much financial incentive to invest in quality, yet the soil found in this climate means Peruvian coffees have a nuanced sweetness comparative to sugarcane.
Fair Trade is an institutional arrangement that was created to aid producers in developing countries to achieve better trading conditions on the global market. Fair Trade advocates the payment of higher prices to exporters, is focused on particular commodities such as handicrafts, coffee, cocoa, wine, sugar, fresh fruit, chocolate, flowers, and gold.
Coffee Co-ops in Peru
Some of the Peru organic coffee farmers are part of co-ops. Growing coffee is hard work, and most coffee farmers need to do the growing, picking, washing, and prep work by hand without the aid of technology.
The Cenfrocafe Co-op
Cenfrocafe Co-op was founded in 1999 the co-op consisted of 220 small-scale coffee farmers. Today, the co-op serves more than 2,000 farmer members spanning across twelve districts within the lush Cajamarca region. Cenfrocafe Co-op helps with technical assistance, quality control workshops, as well as economic and leadership training for young people in rural communities. The financial team of Cenfrocafe Co-op helps provides short-term credit for farmers to cover the front-end costs of the harvest and materials that are needed in coffee production.
The Peru La Florida Co-Op
A group of 50 small-scale coffee farmers from Peru’s Chanchamayo region came together in 1966 to form the Cooperativa Agraria Cafetalera La Florida (CAC La Florida) in order to bypass local intermediaries. Since starting in 1966, the co-op now includes up to 1,200 members at its peak.
Like Cenfrocafe Co-op, they offer education programs that provide training for members, workshops on coffee production and management sessions for community youth. They have been able to include access to new libraries, school gardens, and uniforms for members as well.
CAC La Florida believes their children are the future of the cooperative and must, therefore, provide support in educating strong leaders capable of management roles.
While high-quality Arabica coffee from Peru may be blended into other Latin American blends or Organic Coffee blends, Peru Organic Coffee shines beautifully as a single-origin coffee. Served as a drip coffee, pour-over coffee or French Press coffee, it has a medium body that tickles the tongue with a tangy fruit finish.
|Coffee Farm in Peru|
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