Peru is an incredible country. Full of diversity. From its wide range of traditional native speaking peoples, to the varied topography of coastal planes, mountainous (Andean) backbone and Amazonian basin rain forest. For years Peru has been a consistent player in the Latin American coffee basket. At times it has been known merely as an interchangeable and somewhat replaceable coffee with the likes of Mexico and Honduras, offering roasters flexibility and choice. Traditional notes of chocolate caramel and toffee, with moderate levels of body and mild acidity make it the perfect coffee for blending with milk, and other coffees.
But today Peru has become so much more than an interchangeable ‘filler’. Looking to produce over 4.5m bags in the 2017/18 season, the nation of a little over 30m people has come a long way since the 2013/14 Leaf Rust epidemic that plagued much of Central America and decimated the coffee industry there. With sustained government help, policy changes and investment, Peru has regenerated over 80,000 hectares of coffee producing land (almost 20% of total producing land) with new varietals, and increased agro-inputs. Even domestic consumption has doubled over the past 5 years – although this still stands at a diminutive 180,000 bags in total – roughly 4% of production (compared to Ethiopia’s almost 50%)
Two thirds of Peru’s coffee is produced in the North, with 50% coming from Amazonas and St Martin regions alone. Most of this coffee continues to be produced in shade grown environments at an altitude between 1000m and 1800metres above sea level. The formidable Andes mountains range provide the backdrop for some of the most dramatic landscaped coffee farms producing today. This combination of shade growing and high altitude with moderate climate and cool evening temperatures are perfect for the cultivation of high quality Arabica coffee. According to the producers we work with, over 70% are growing Typica, Caturra, Bourbon and Catimor varietals but some are now pushing to plant Geisha – a rust resistant varietal and one that is also famed around the world for its high quality producing characteristics
Trouble in Paradise
Sardonically; the remote and serene environment in which Peru grows it coffees is frustrated by the poor supportive infrastructure. It is not uncommon for trucks to be delayed for many days, after heavy rainfall makes mountain roads impassable. This can have direct impacts on the quality of coffee arriving in the dry mills in Jaen, Lambayeque or Lima.
But – thanks to a strong development of the Co Operative system, and the Governmental assistance, Peru is one of the leading nations in producing Organic grown coffee, as well as many Fair Trade, UTZ and Rain Forest Alliance certified farms. In 2016 – Peru had over 90,000 hectares of Organic coffee land.
Our last visit in August took us to Junin region in central Peru, visiting farms in Pichanaki, La Merced and Satipo and in the north of Peru in Tarapoto and Moyobamaba. It is clear to see there is still potential for Peru to improve still further. Quality from these areas has been rising exponentially, with some cooperatives regularly offering coffees scoring in the 83 and 84 pts region, with some higher still. But yield remains a problem. With average nationwide yields of only 750kg per hectare much can be done to improve the livelihoods of smaller producers with a focus on yield AND quality working together in harmony. Improved farming techniques, the exchange of knowledge and investment are helping to combat this problem – as are micro finance loans that help reduce the burden of expensive private loans, or the contractual obligation to sell at fixed prices to collectors.
We are excited this season to be working with some fresh new Co Operatives to our books, offering Fairtrade, Organic and RFA certified coffees – minimum cup score of 83 pts on arrival, these coffee are bursting full of sweetness and bright flavours. The Pre Ship samples for our latest coffees are full of orange-citrus and chocolate notes, red berry and strawberry fruit flavours, with long lasting notes of caramel and thick creamy toffee mouthfeel.
If you’d like samples or more information of what we have available, get in touch and speak to one of our traders:
|Rutger van Otterlo||Direct +31 756 126312||Mobile +31 619 191275|
|Salvatore Russo||Direct +31 756 126315||Mobile +31 621 446703|
|Will Hobby||Direct +31 752 060026||Mobile +31 615 658698|
|Sven Oostveen||Direct +31 752 060031||Mobile +31 615 486523|
|Gustavo Santos Castillo||Direct +31 756 126316||Mobile +31 621 318744|
|Jens Nielsen||Direct +31 756 126313||Mobile +31 653 496366|