Peruvian Coffee Harvest Guide 2023/24

The narrative of this year's harvest has been shaped significantly by the challenges of 2023 — the resurgence of La Roya (leaf rust) which has wreaked havoc across numerous farms, and the impacts of the recent El Niño phenomenon. For this reason, we’ve leaned towards stories of resilience and sustainability.
Amidst these adversities, we’re witnessing the emergence of specialty Robusta, a testament to the adaptive prowess of Peru's coffee culture in response to the shifting climate and market demands.

Connecting the Knots

At the heart of Khipu Coffee’s ethos is the ancient Incan tradition of the Khipu — a sophisticated system of knots and cords used for communication and record-keeping, from census data to mythological tales. Embarking on this complex green coffee journey, we wish for the Khipu to integrate sustainability and traceability into the fabric of our practices. By fostering transparent and trust-based relationships with coffee producers across Peru, we align with the principles of traceability, accountability, and community empowerment, echoing the Khipu's historical role.

The spirit of the Khipu inspires our business model, as green coffee buyers, exporters and importers. Whether we’re supporting the first-time export of farms or aiding newly formed projects, our sourcing strategy prioritises organic and biodynamic farming, agroforestry, water conservation and personal development — all measures to ensure harmony within an ecosystem, much like the Incas’ agricultural systems.

Our contribution

As we build the narratives of each coffee lot with its origins, from seed to cup, we all contribute to weaving a modern-day Khipu that transcends mere taste profiles. This collective effort between all of us interested in Peruvian coffee not only celebrates the exceptional quality available but also shows support for the resilience of producers, the innovations in processing, and the cultural heritage that each lot carries. 

Together, we contribute to the preservation of the Andean region's biodiversity, support indigenous and local farmers' livelihoods, and nurture a coffee culture that is regenerative, profitable, and deeply rooted in tradition within a contemporary landscape.

Puno Region

What a year for Puno and Peruvian coffee!

Puno is known for being the folkloric capital of Peru and being the host region for the 2023 annual coffee conference, Ficafe, it held up to its end of the bargain and put on an incredible show.

This was the first time that Puno has hosted Ficafe and between 3 - 6 November the whole city was going coffee crazy.

To coincide with coffee festivities, La Fiesta Candelaria was also happening, this two-week celebration steeped in the indigenous Aymara and Quechua traditions is to honour the Virgin of Candelaria, the patron saint of Puno.

It was during this time that the country's best producers, cuppers, roasters, baristas and coffee professionals all ascended into Puno to celebrate the talks, workshops and of course, the Cup of Excellence Awards.

Exploring Puno

With Ficafe happening in Puno, this was a perfect opportunity for us to explore a coffee region we were not too familiar with. Puno is home to a very important and long standing cooperative called CECOVASA, you may be familiar with “Tunki Coffee'', with the logo as the famous bright orange bird, known as the Andean cock-of-the-rock and also the National Bird of Peru.

This native bird represents one of their finest blends, which they roast and sell into national supermarkets, as well as exporting it as green coffee.

Valleys of Sandia

The heart of Puno's coffee cultivation is in the Sandia province, an area rich in biodiversity and cultural heritage. It's here that Rigoberto Pelayo Anamuro, a local coffee expert, travels far and wide working with hundreds of coffee producing families in and around the valleys of Sandia.

Rigoberto tends to work with those in the Alto Inambari District, roughly a 12 hour drive from Puno city and it’s here where he helps producers with pre and post harvest techniques to improve quality and yield..

He sources coffee from these producers and offers them to the international market on their behalf. During the peak harvest period between June - October he’s out there on his motorcycle up and down the hills with his Ikawa sample roaster trying coffees at the producers farms.

During that busy period he’s cupping on average 50 samples per week and with this insight we lean on his expertise of coffee in Puno.

The Sandia province also borders one of the largest Amazonian Regions in Peru, Puerto Maldonado. It’s near this border where you’ll find many National Park Reserves with incredible biodiversity and endangered species, where indigenous people of Quechua and Aymara cultures follow and respect a philosophy of living in harmony with nature.

Preserving Biodiversity

This is where organisations like the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) contribute to the efforts of the people living in these rural areas and together are creating a way to sustain the biodiversity in the region. They have been working closely with coffee producers in these areas for a few years with a project that is paying premiums for their coffee because they are the ones who are protecting the land and wildlife. 

Coffee Hotspots in Puno

Altitude - 1600-2100m
Provinces - Sandia
Districts - Alto Inambari, San Juan Del Oro
Cities & Towns - Masiapo
Varietals - Bourbon, Catimor, Caturra, Geisha, and Typica
Popular Flavour Profiles - Blackberries, Carob, Chocolate, Red Fruits, Red Apple

Why Puno?

From visiting FICAFÉ we had the chance to cup the best of Puno in the heart of Puno! CECOVASA has a huge choice of coffees to suit most budgets and broadly scores between SCA 82-88, with specific blends tailored to certain flavour profiles.

Our firm favourites though, were those Rigoberto shared with us, a classic washed Bourbon and a washed Geisha. We’ll be looking to source predominately microlots from this region in the future.

Meet Loyola Escamilo from the Wildlife Conservation Society, Working with Coffee Producers in Puno to help Preserve the Amazon.

While in Puno, we had the opportunity to speak with Loyola Escamilo from the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), a global organisation founded in 1895 and operating in around 60 countries. We asked about WCS's activities in Peru, particularly in coffee-growing regions. Loyola, the director of the Madidi-Tambopata Landscape in Puno, shared insights about her role and the organisation's work.

How the WCS work with coffee producers in Puno

WCS is committed to conserving natural landscapes, particularly in coffee-producing regions like Puno. Their work involves gathering and studying biological information about ecosystems, implementing conservation strategies, and fostering partnerships with local and international organisations.

A key focus is integrating wildlife conservation in the coffee production areas, ensuring a harmonious balance between agricultural practices and nature preservation.

Since 1968, their efforts in Peru have concentrated on three key areas:

  1. Management of Protected Areas
  2. Conservation of Amazonian Waters
  3. Preservation of Various Species

Their work primarily spans two major regions: in the North, initiatives are centred in Loreto, while in the South, their focus is on the Sandia region in Puno, including the Tambopata valleys, and extends to the Madre de Dios region, located in the southern part of the Peruvian Amazon.

Vidal Oscaya, Finca San Francisco

Preserving the biodiversity together with coffee producers

In Puno, they are preserving biodiversity by integrating territory management using a basin approach. This basin approach involves treating the entire river basin as a cohesive ecological entity, interlinking various facets of river basin usage including water dynamics and human activities. The aim is to provide long term effective management to create a sustainable livelihood for the locals living in the protected areas.

Recognising that each action effects both upstream and downstream regions, this approach delivers collaborative efforts among diverse groups to safeguard their environment. Such a strategy has proven successful in tackling complex ecological issues like water scarcity, pollution, habitat destruction, and loss of biodiversity.

The Sandia province where the conservation is taking place is a renowned area for coffee production, with all of Puno's coffee coming from its intricate network of valleys. These valleys, amidst a backdrop of both biological and cultural wealth, connect the Andes to the Yungas' fog forests, embodying the rich heritage of the Quechua and Aymara communities.

Beneath these valleys lie the Bahuaja Sonene National Park and the Tambopata National Reserve, both acclaimed for their ecological importance. The region boasts a diverse biosphere, with fog forests enveloping 78% of the area and providing habitat to species like the Andean bear (spectacled bear), pumas, jaguars, red deer, and various monkeys and birds, including the cock-of-the-rock. The flora is equally diverse, featuring plants like quinoa and walnut.

How WCS work with Coffee

WCS collaborates with specialty coffee growers in Sandia to enhance the coffee value chain, connecting sustainable producers with buyers, roasters, and consumers who prioritise high-quality coffee that contributes to the conservation of the Amazon.

They partner with residents in conservation areas, helping them obtain premium prices for their coffee. WCS is committed to preventing further destruction of the Amazon. A key strategy is fostering conservation agreements with coffee-growing families, aimed at improving both the quality and yield of their crops.

In exchange?

Their commitment to forest preservation and biodiversity conservation. The idea is that if these families gain access to buyers willing to pay premium prices, they’ll continue to implement sustainable practices.

The Experience of Loyola

Loyola has been with WCS since 2015. Before this, she was involved in various projects across the Amazon in Puno and Madre de Dios. Her role included managing teams in these areas and serving as the director of the Madidi Tambopata landscape. Her current responsibilities involve leading interventions in this region, which encompasses designing and monitoring conservation strategies, as well as coordinating and establishing collaborative relationships with various stakeholders who reside in and impact the area.

Snapshot of WCS Impact in Puno

  • Conservation Agreements: 70 with Quechua and Aymara families in the Sandia Valleys
  • Community Involvement: Involves around 280 people, with women leading 12 families
  • Preserved Forest Area: 550 hectares
  • Sustainable Coffee Plantations: 82 hectares under sustainable management
  • Productivity Increase: Annual average increase of 25-30% in productivity

The challenges ahead

The primary challenges threatening both biodiversity and successful coffee farming in the Sandia valleys are closely connected. The most pressing concerns include the proliferation of illegal gold mining, the construction of unplanned roads, and the adoption of short-term, profitable, yet unsustainable agricultural practices.

In terms of coffee cultivation specifically, a key hurdle is enhancing productivity, which suffered a sharp decline due to severe leaf rust and pest infestations in recent years. Recovery has been slow, hampered by insufficient technical guidance, lack of investment in land management, reduced productivity, suboptimal post-harvest processes, and organisational issues within coffee cooperatives and associations.

The Potential of Puno

In the Sandia valleys of Puno, despite facing challenges like illegal gold mining and the threat of deforestation, local Quechua and Aymara communities are producing some of the world's finest organic and fair trade coffee, with quality ratings often exceeding SCA 84, and sometimes reaching as high as SCA 90. This coffee cultivation not only enhances the quality of life for these families but also plays a crucial role in conserving the region's biodiversity and preventing any more deforestation in the Amazon of Puno.

However, increasing the sustainability of coffee production is a significant challenge. The goal is to raise productivity from the current 10-15 quintals (46kg bags) per hectare to at least 40 quintals, without expanding into new forest areas. Achieving this requires better soil and plantation management, along with financial resources for inputs and labour, which are presently lacking due to low productivity levels.

Thus, developing viable financing mechanisms and strengthening the organisation of coffee cooperatives and associations are essential.

Moreover, the role of responsible consumers and companies is vital. By supporting deforestation-free coffee cultivation and ensuring fair pricing, they can help make coffee farming sustainable, improve livelihoods, and serve as defiant stewards against deforestation in the Amazon of Puno and the Bahuaja Sonene National Park.

Cusco Region

The friendly rivalry between Cusco and Cajamarca continued this year at the Cup of Excellence with 4 of the top 10 hailing from Cusco and 3 from Cajamarca. Some of our favourite coffee producers like Edwin Quea Paco from Finca Chiriloma ranked in the top 10, finishing the highest from Cusco at an impressive 3rd position, with his exquisite, washed, Orange Geisha.

The jewels of Cusco are not just found at the coffee farms!

Machu Picchu, the legendary, ancient Incan city just happens to be less than 6 miles away from a town called Santa Teresa, a truly wonderful place. From the hot springs to ziplines and coffee tours, this small town a few hours from Machu Picchu is well worth a visit.

Coffee tourism?

Well, thanks to Pablo from Vertikal Lodge, a hotel in Santa Teresa, you can now do coffee tours to award winning farms, use this place as a base while relaxing from to and from Machu Picchu, and even take out mountain bikes and go for trail rides.

Due to the success of Vertikal Lodge and Pablo’s infectious passion for coffee, in 2023, he set up Wild Coffees, an association bringing together 50 coffee producers from in and around the town of Santa Teresa.

Knowledge is power

With such high profile producers such as x2 time CoE winner, Dwight Aguilar Masias, living a 30 minutes walk from the centre and being a local of the town, knowledge sharing from those with speciality coffee experience is transforming the specialty coffee landscape of this small, rural town. From the intricacies of coffee processing to the know-how on how to access national and international markets, many have been encouraged to invest in their coffee farms with Dwight being living proof that this place is a coffee paradise.

Pablo, like many of the members in Wild Coffee, have been growing coffee for years and always sold to the larger cooperative in the centre of the town, Huadquina. It’s been hard for them to understand the exact quality of their coffee and how to market what could be microlots because much of their coffees go into blends.

However, now with the help of Pablo and the leadership team, their aim is to not only make improvements in every area of the coffee production process but also to teach and share their learned experiences along the way with their members.

A big part of their mission is to market the coffee from their town, Santa Teresa, instead of it being used in blends as coffee from Cusco or even Peru.

Currently, the majority of the sales have been to tourists on their visits through Santa Teresa in local coffee shops and on the coffee experiences hosted by Pablo and his team at Vertikal Lodge. Visitors are introduced to the world of specialty coffee brewing with various coffee profiles from Wild Coffee.

One of their biggest achievements to date has been successfully exporting 1400kg worth of microlots to the US with an SCA 85/86 and flavour profiles leaning towards tropical fruits with caramel to chocolate and red fruits.

Cusco's unique coffee flavour profiles

We asked two coffee professionals from Cusco who, combined, have over 30 years experience with specialty coffee from the region. Jose Prudencio, founder of Valle Inca, a cooperative and exporter of consistently high quality focussed on producers from the Calca province and Henrry Guillén Carreño from Cata Peru, a Q Grader and exporter with extensive experience of exceptional coffees from the La Convencion province.

Both shared their thoughts on the different areas of Cusco where they have the most experience, Jose, more from the north and north west of the region while Henrry more in the north west and towards the east.

In short, floral coffees are popular, some places with hints of jasmine, others with chamomile. Mango, peach, orange and kiwi tend to be the more expressive tropical fruit flavours while honey, vanilla and walnut provide a common body, and panela (cane sugar) and chocolate provide a well rounded sweetness.

Coffee Hotspots in Cusco

Altitude - 1800-2400m
Provinces - Calca, La Convención
Districts - Quellouno, Inkawasi, Ocobamba, Santa Teresa
Cities & Towns - Quillabamba
Varietals - Bourbon, Geisha, Limani, Sidra, and Typica
Popular Flavour Profiles - Blackberry, Citrus Fruits, Dark Chocolate, Tropical Fruits

Why Cusco?

Cusco is a land of coffee diversity. Bourbons and Typicas are the classic varietals, while Geisha is becoming very popular across the region.  Our favourites are those with tropical fruit notes such as mango and pineapple. You’ll often find many Bourbons with this profile, while Geishas are typically super clean, floral and sweet.

Sustainability in Coffee - Has Peru Got Untapped Potential? An Interview with Takayoshi Yamagiwa

With decades of experience working in coffee, Taka was recently commissioned by, the direct trade platform, to visit a few origins and report on their sustainability.

We introduced Taka to James Astuhuaman, a sustainability expert in Peru, and they visited coffee producing areas like San Martin and Cajamarca. They delved into the complexities of measuring greenhouse gas emissions and the implementation of sustainable practices amidst obstacles such as deforestation and resource constraints. Taka shares his thoughts and learnings from his recent trips and what he’s working on to help make coffee cultivation a more sustainable endeavour.

MR: Can you introduce yourself and the current role you have working in coffee, climate and general sustainability?

TY: Hello, I'm Takayoshi Yamagiwa, and I'm deeply entrenched in the coffee industry with a focus on sustainability. In my current capacity at Tenkí Coffee, I play a pivotal role in fostering green coffee relationships between producers and roasters. My work extends beyond mere facilitation, as I also provide consulting services to strengthen sustainability projects within the industry.

With a background steeped in development projects, my goal is to harness my experiences to channel more resources towards sustainability initiatives. I firmly believe that these projects address critical, life-or-death challenges that humanity is currently grappling with. Recently, I had the privilege of joining TYPICA, where I was given the opportunity to explore the coffee production regions of Cajamarca and San Martín in northern Peru. This hands-on experience further fuels my commitment to advancing sustainability in every facet of the coffee supply chain.

MR: What do you feel is the biggest challenge currently facing coffee in respect to climate change?

TY: The biggest challenge coffee faces due to climate change is that coffee farmers are not getting enough recognition or money for their efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. While countries in the European Union are seeing lower emissions because of government help, emissions in places like the US are still going up. Coffee farmers in poorer countries find it hard to lower emissions without financial incentives, like getting paid more for using sustainable methods.

Consumers often don't want to pay extra for eco-friendly coffee because they care more about the taste, which is usually hidden under milk and sugar. Even those who like the taste of coffee might not want to pay more to support farmers' efforts to be more environmentally friendly, partly because they might not trust the claims of sustainability.

One solution could be giving farmers carbon credits for using green practices, like keeping forests or using mixed farming. However, this is hard for many farmers because they don't know about the market or can't afford the costs, including measuring their farm's emissions.

It's clear that showing the value of fighting climate change costs money and farmers can't afford to be sustainable without help. Governments, NGOs, and farmer groups are important in giving the support needed for coffee farmers to work in more environmentally friendly ways.

MR: Where have you seen best practices being implemented and what hope does this give you to the future of coffee?

TY: Costa Rica stands out as an example of success in sustainable coffee farming, thanks to its innovative approach called the Low Carbon Coffee National Appropriate Mitigation Action (NAMA). This program, supported by the Costa Rican government and international partners like GIZ (German Development Agency), has made significant strides in making coffee production more eco-friendly. Efforts include reducing the use of nitrogen fertilisers, cutting methane emissions from coffee mills, managing biomass effectively, and incorporating agroforestry practices. These measures have impacted 50 coffee mills and 6,000 farmers over 25,000 hectares.

The project, which received a €7 million investment from the NAMA Facility, is a prime example of what can be achieved when there are strong partnerships between public and private sectors.

Costa Rica's experience, highlighted by the effective coordination among various government institutions and the support of ICAFE (Intergovernmental Collaborative Action Fund for Excellence), an NGO based in the US, demonstrates the global potential for sustainable coffee production. This case gives hope that with collective effort and commitment, achieving sustainability in coffee farming is not just a dream but a reality.

MR: Tell us about your recent trip to Peru

YT: My recent trip to northern Peru, a key coffee-growing area within the Amazon basin, was eye-opening in terms of sustainability efforts and challenges. This region is crucial for nature conservation, especially with the threat of climate change. Organisations such as Solidaridad, IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature), and Coop Coffees are working closely with local coffee cooperatives. Their goal is to promote agroforestry, which combines agriculture and forestry to improve biodiversity and reduce the need for clearing forests for farming.

Despite visible progress, the journey revealed obstacles. In San Martin, for example, I saw areas recently cleared for agriculture, highlighting the difficulties of completely preventing deforestation. Conversations with NGO workers underscored a gap in resources necessary to undertake all needed environmental protection activities. However, their long-term dedication to the region's sustainability showed the importance of continuing efforts to protect the ecosystems we depend on.

The trip also highlighted Peru's vastness and the logistical challenges it poses for sustainable coffee production. Travelling with sustainability expert James Astuhuaman, we journeyed 700 km from Lima to Tarapoto and then to Chiclayo, visiting various coffee farms. Coming from smaller countries like El Salvador and living in the Netherlands, the scale of Peru's coffee landscape was striking. The large number of producers and mills spread over such a wide area makes it hard for the government to coordinate efforts effectively.

However, the challenges also present opportunities for cooperation and innovation. The dedication of the people in Peru to sustainable coffee farming is a beacon of hope, showing that despite the difficulties, there are paths forward to ensure the future of coffee cultivation in this diverse country.

MR: What are your thoughts on the EUDR (European Union Deforestation Regulation) and who stands to benefit?

TY: In northern Peru, I discovered how cooperatives offer smallholder coffee producers a ray of hope, especially when it comes to meeting the requirements of the European Union's Due Diligence Regulation (EUDR). These cooperatives play a crucial role by building strong relationships with their members, which is key to their success. They collect important land use data from producers and share it with European buyers to comply with EUDR regulations.

These close relationships go beyond just collecting data. They form the basis for joint efforts, often supported by NGOs, to improve farm productivity through agroforestry. This approach not only increases yield but also helps prevent deforestation and enhances carbon capture, aligning with environmental goals.

However, the journey isn't smooth for everyone. While some private mills operate in ways similar to cooperatives, focusing on community and sustainability, others may need to adapt their business models to keep up with the increasing demand for traceability and sustainability in the coffee industry.

The call for change isn't just for cooperatives or mills; it's about ensuring all smallholder producers receive the support they need, whether through cooperatives or by transforming traditional mills into more community-focused entities. The EUDR's push for compliance is also seen as an opportunity to empower farmers and promote sustainable coffee cultivation worldwide.

Nilson Nolasco Benavides, Cooperative APROSELVANOR

MR: From your experience working in sustainability projects in coffee, what does the future look like?

TY: Climate change stands out as a critical challenge that threatens the future of our planet and human civilisation. Despite understanding its dangers for over two centuries since Joseph Fourier discovered the greenhouse effect, we've struggled to bridge the gap between knowing and doing. This gap is evident in many areas, including the coffee industry, which is part of agriculture contributing significantly to global emissions.

I envision a coffee sector that leads by example in addressing climate change, showing that it's possible to work towards reducing emissions while also benefiting from it. Coffee, being a key part of agriculture, has the potential to inspire wider changes across industries and lifestyles, moving towards sustainability not just for profit but for the health of our planet.

I admire those in the coffee industry who are already making efforts to protect the environment. Their dedication shows that changing our approach to how we live and work is necessary for a sustainable future. This change isn't just about altering our daily habits but involves a deeper shift in how we view success, happiness, and the value of our actions.

To make significant progress, we need a collective change in mindset, choosing to act for the planet's future rather than continuing down a path that could lead to our extinction. Despite humanity's history of questionable choices, I remain hopeful that we can choose a better path forward. Let's aim to be guardians of a thriving planet, ensuring it remains the solid foundation for our shared future.

If any of those topics resonate with you, do connect with Taka, he’s active on LinkedIn, Facebook and Instagram where he regularly shares updates. He also writes frequently on his blog which you can check out here. We thank Taka for his time and thoughts.

VRAEM Region

The Valley of Rivers, Apurimac, Ene and Montaro (VRAEM), is a region in Peru that includes parts of 4 regions; Ayacucho, Cusco, Huancavelica, and Junín. It’s a very remote, rural part of Peru which since the 1980s has been mired with problems from being a stronghold of guerilla groups to more recently, being the largest coca leaf-producing region.

With the terrain being so challenging and the lack of investment, over time, this area has at times become lawless and local populations have unfortunately been at crosshairs of government security forces, drug traffickers and insurgent groups, leading to many hardships for people of this area.

This complex situation has been damaging to local communities for far too long. Not only is the security issues a challenge for people but also environmental, the deforestation and chemical pollution caused by growing and processing coca is destroying agricultural opportunities for future generations.

Ayacucho and Huancavelica are regions which have so much potential for cultivating coffee, however, gaining trust from the coffee producers in this region is notoriously difficult.

Relinda Chavez, Finca el Paraiso

Uprise of Huancaveliva

For the last 3 years, Huacavelica has had a presence in the Cup of Excellence, with Relinda Chavez entering in 2021 and 2022, while Hortencia Berrocal Mendoza has been successful finishing 5th in 2022 and 19th in 2023, both entries were a washed Caturra and Typica with layered and complex sweetness and delicate floral notes.

Saba Cafe are the experts when it comes to coffee from Huancavelica. We asked Oscar Martinez Habich, co-founder with his brother, Ricardo about sourcing coffee from the VRAEM and he echoed similar challenges. Fortunately for Oscar and Ricardo they have managed to build some great relationships with Hortencia and Relinda from Huancavelica and even started to create a few community lots from producers in the province of Tayacaja. Their success with Relinda over the last few years has piqued the interest of her neighbours and allowed Oscar and Ricardo to invest more into their supply chain by providing post harvesting fermentation training and installing solar dryers.

This slow, but important contribution to the Huancavelica region and VRAEM area is a step in the right direction to help create a stable area that future generations can start to prosper from.

The biggest barrier for specialty coffee and higher quality coffee in general from these areas is access to education. The land is blessed with valleys reaching 2400m, creating thriving microclimates for coffee trees, it’s the understanding of pre and post harvest that is holding producers back from raising the coffee quality.

What’s being done to help?

The Comisión Nacional para el Desarrollo y Vida sin Drogas – DEVIDA (The National Commission for the Development and Life without Drugs) government agency and initiative in Peru works closely with local governments within the VRAEM area. Their role is primarily focussed on helping coca growing communities transition into coffee and other cash crops such as cacao. This includes creating and improving infrastructure to help buyers and producers access markets, contribute to investment of mills and processing plants, provide guidance and technical expertise relating to agronomy and promote the people and produce of these areas across Peru and internationally.

Coffee Hotspots in VRAEM

Altitude - 2000-2400m
Regions - Huancavelica, Ayacucho, Cusco, and Junin
Districts - Tayacaja
Cities & Towns - Roble, Tintay Puncu
Varietals - Caturra, Typica
Popular Flavour Profiles - Berry Fruits, Floral, Grapes


Cusco and Junin are regions part of the VRAEM where coffee is commonly sourced from. However, Huancavelica is an untapped coffee producing region, and with its high elevation akin to the slopes of Ethiopia, it’s one we’re excited to explore more of. Saba Cafe are continuously improve the coffee quality in Huancavelica, and actively working on building a market for coffee producers in the region.

Junin Region

One of the most diverse regions of Peru with many cultures and indigenous populations. From Quechua speaking natives to the coffee producing natives of the Ashaninka and Nomatsigenga communities. To the north west of the region, closer to the Andean Sierra, you’ll find a land of dramatic elevations and steep slopes, where terraced hillsides carve out tiny fields of corn and quinoa surrounded by rugged terrain, here, not much coffee grows.

However, further east, as you move away from the rugged Sierra, the landscape gradually transforms. The mountains soften into rolling hills, with the air warmer and more humid.

It’s here we enter the coffee zone, the hotspots of Perene, Palomar and La Merced, while towards the south east you go even deeper into the luscious jungle with Pichanaki, Satipo and Pangoa, where dense, tropical rainforests teem with life in an abundance of biodiverse flora and fauna.

In these high-altitude areas, coffee plants grow slower due to cooler temperatures, helping the development of a denser, more complex flavour profile. The rich, volcanic soil, a legacy of the region's geological past, imparts a unique minerality and depth to all that grows there, cacao and coffee being some of the main beneficiaries.

Members of the Nomatsigenga indigenous community

Native communities in Junin

According to the Institute of Information and Statistics in Peru, the Ashaninka have populations around 100k while the Nomatsigenga is a lot less around 9k. These native communities live in and around the valleys, deep into the jungle areas of Junin and have been cultivating cacao and coffee for generations.

The Quechua, Ashaninka, and Nomatsigenga communities, each with their distinct languages, traditions, and customs, share a profound respect for their land. This respect manifests in their sustainable agricultural practices, deeply ingrained in their cultural identity.

They are fiercely protective of their environments, striving to preserve the delicate balance of their ecosystems. Employing ancient techniques that are inherently organic and often biodynamic, these communities use natural canopies for shade, enhancing biodiversity and creating life while employing cover crops to nourish and protect the soil.

While their rituals, ceremonies, and spiritual beliefs may vary, they are united by a collective ethos of treating their land sustainably. This approach has cultivated not only a harmonious relationship with nature but also fostered tight-knit communities bound by shared values and practices.

Their commitment to preserving traditional methods showcases a deep-rooted understanding of environmental stewardship, reflecting a model of agriculture that prioritises ecological balance and cultural heritage.

Trust isn't a commodity

Similar to the challenges in the VRAEM, being so remote and far from the government has led to a reliance on themselves and to become self-sufficient. Trust is still an issue and so much so that certain areas are off limits to the general population as many of the tribes are cautious to allow people they do not know into their lands. 

Reimagining the cooperative model

That’s where cooperatives like Kaffee Satipo, who work with 70 coffee families in and around the Rio Negro in Satipo, managing over 300 hectares, are a key support group.

Founded in 2018 by 30 coffee-growing families in Satipo, they focus only on producing speciality and supporting their members from seed to storage. They work to improve the economic development of their communities by supporting and developing their members' entrepreneurial spirit through marketing initiatives.

Their vision is to be a leader in Peru with cooperative models and over the last 6 years have significantly improved the quality of their members coffee by accessing training and support through state-sponsored projects. Alongside this, they have agricultural engineers on hand helping with the management of organic practices and improving pre and post harvesting techniques, including installation of solar dryers and enhanced fermentation control.

Speaking with Jose, the general manager of the cooperative, he said that climate change is currently the biggest challenge facing the communities. This year alone, the El Nino Weather phenomenon has caused a huge change in rainfall and temperatures. The fluctuation of temperatures across the day and night has started to change the phenology of the crops, which in turn is leading to an emergence of new pests and diseases.

It takes time and crop yield loss in order to understand how to navigate and overcome these new pests and diseases, that’s why Jose and team and working with their agronomists and sourcing technical expertise to assist where they can.

Coffee Hotspots in Junin

Altitude - 1500-2000m
Provinces - Chanchamayo, Satipo
Districts - Pangoa, Perene, Pichanaki, Mazarmari, Rio Negro, Rio Tambo, Vitoc
Cities & Towns - Alto Yurinaqui, Palomar, La Merced
Varietals - Bourbon, Catimor, Catuai, Caturra, Geisha and Pacamara
Popular Flavour Profiles - Citrus, Caramel, Nuts

Why Junin?

A vast and diverse coffee region, with more to explore as new coffee producing areas emerge. Q Grader and 2023 CoE judge, Carlos Paulsen highlighted a district, Pariahuanca, on the outskirts of the city of Hauncayo at 2000m that has recently started producing coffee, specifically Caturra with red fruit flavours.

A rarity for Hauncayo and one for our next harvest.

Coffee Pricing Complex

In our second year working with Andres Bazos, we wanted to share an insight that is common in Peru but not talked about too much, pricing. He’s a coffee producer determined to innovate beyond the traditional market constraints and seeks direct sales and new markets, aiming for better prices and independence from cooperatives and large coffee buyers.

MR: Can you explain the pricing model when you have to sell your coffee to one of the larger coffee buyers?

AB: The price of coffee is given by the NY Stock Exchange. We as producers have that base price when offering our coffee. Depending on the receivers that one can have, that price has a differential that moves up or down. It will depend on volumes, qualities, varieties, defects, punctuation and other factors.

MR: You have sold to one of the larger coffee buyers every year for over 5 years, how does this work?

AB: They offer security. They are a large company that needs a lot of volume. Its purchase capacity is very large, but also, their prices are the worst. Before it was the obvious option for producers in the area (Junin), but because the conditions they offer are in decline, we have to look for more attractive markets.

MR: What does your farm and coffee have to adhere to in order to sell to the big coffee buyers?

AB: To reach these types of buyers, you need your field and your agronomic management to follow certain rules of good practices. In our case, they have a technical team that visits the field, supervises, and audits the producers to follow the guidelines of their certifications.

MR: How have the conditions and premiums changed over the years selling to larger buyers?

AB: Large buyers exert more and more pressure on the producer and provide fewer benefits. This is making the producers (us) look for a more direct sale in order to carry out our business. Coffee prices are very close to the equilibrium price, so looking for differentials in the price can mean the difference between having a positive or negative year.

Pasco Region

Neighbouring Junin, this region is home to many native indigenous populations such as the Ashaninka and Yanehsa communities.

It’s currently the centre of Robusta in Peru thanks to the innovative efforts of the CEPRO Yanehsa Cooperative who have changed the coffee landscape here by cultivating Robusta since the 1980s according to some, and in the provinces of Villa Rica and Oxapampa.

Introducing specialty Robusta in Peru

Under the guidance of Gino Sadler Marin, a celebrated coffee expert, CoE winner, and known to some as an “alchemist” of coffee, he is the General Manager of the cooperative and has pioneered the introduction of specialty Robusta in Peru.

CEPRO Yanesha have worked with many of the larger importers over the years and for good reason. Consistent quality, reliable volumes and good prices. Their latest venture into specialty Robusta is a strategic move, anticipating the future of coffee in regions grappling with climate change—a concern mirrored by their counterparts like Jose from Kaffee Satipo. The challenges brought by the 23/24 harvest underscore the urgency of adapting to climatic shifts. By focusing on developing Specialty Robusta, the cooperative is not only securing its future but also leading the way in sustainable coffee production practices in the face of environmental uncertainties.

Coffee agroforestry system

Agroforestry for facing climate challenges

Another approach to overcoming the challenges faced by climate change is Agroforestry. We spoke to Juan Carlos, a coffee producer from Villa Rica about his farm and what he learnt from having this agricultural system at his farm.

He has embraced agroforestry for 36 years, pioneering a harmonious blend of trees and coffee crops on his farm. Agroforestry, he explains, is more than just a farming technique; it's a holistic approach to agriculture that nurtures soil health, bolsters biodiversity, and fortifies the farm against environmental adversities. Over the years, he has witnessed a number of benefits from water quality to a more resilient and stronger farm in the face of pests, diseases alongside protection from extreme heat, winds and rains.

The journey hasn't been simple. As the farm expanded, its ecosystem grew increasingly complex, creating the need for precise knowledge and meticulous management. Knowing what to plant, where, and how to care for it is a constant learning process. Critical to this approach is a rigorous documentation regime.

Tracking the farm's history enables Juan to tackle issues like Leaf Rust, which is a fungus disease that impairs the reproduction of the coffee cherry or Coffee Borer Beetles, who eat away at the cherry, both reducing yields. For Juan, analysing the affected areas provides him with the ability to adapt and implement his strategies accordingly.

This meticulous system has paved the way for Juan to cultivate an array of coffee varietals. From exotic and rare types like Java, Geisha, and SL28 to more resilient strains such as Catimor, Obata, and Tupi, his farm is a testament to agroforestry's potential.

Juan recommends and advocates for an agroforestry model but doesn't shy away from highlighting the hard work it entails. He approaches data collection with the rigour of a business analyst, using insights for budgeting and pricing. His experience underlines a vital message: understanding economics is as crucial as knowing agronomy. Without a firm grip on the numbers, costs can escalate, undervaluing the true worth of the coffee produced.

Coffee Hotspots in Pasco

Altitude - 1200-1600m
Provinces - Oxapampa
Districts - Pozuzo
Cities & Towns - Villa Rica
Varietals - Bourbon, Catimor, Catuai, Geisha, Java, Obata, and Robusta
Popular Flavour Profiles - Chocolate, Toffee, Hazelnut, Citrus Fruits

Why Pasco?

There is an abundance of exciting and rare varietals in Pasco. Notably, Javier Schuler from Finca Schuler has been cultivating El Salvadorian varietals such as Cuscatleco and Tekisic for many years. While Juan Carlos Cueva has been cultivating the African varietal, SL28. The introduction of specialty Robusta is one to watch from this region in the coming years.

Huanuco Region

Huanuco, not traditionally one of Peru’s most famous coffee regions, is currently witnessing a transformative phase with the annual coffee conference, Ficafe, happening later this year in the city of Tingo Maria, the bustling city and beating heart of Huanuco.

This city, weaved around the Huallaga River in the high jungle and situated between the Andean mountain range and the Amazon Basin’s Maranon River. The region is known for its rich biodiversity, particularly in the Tingo Maria National Park, which offers a diverse ecosystem supporting coffee cultivation alongside tropical fruits and cacao.

Huanuco's coffee industry

The coffee industry in Huanuco has been boosted in recent years by investment from the Ministry of Development and Irrigation (MIDAGRI) and Agroideas, a program by MIDAGRI to help with business management of agricultural developments. The investments have helped with delivering coffee processing plants in the region, benefiting local coffee producers by improving their coffee quality for internal and export markets.

Alongside specific coffee focussed investments, larger infrastructure projects creating water reservoirs have also been achieved recently, helping provide water security to many agrarian communities and encouraging sustainable agricultural practices.

High scores for Huanuco

This region, however, is not without its challenges, recently coca leaf cultivation and illicit activity has become more of a problem because of the increasing informal and unauthorised airstrips, across a region so rural and vast, it’s become a hotspot for trafficking.

That said, the promise of Huanuco is being realised. Since the region was heavily impacted by the coffee leaf rust disease in 2010/11, it slowly moved away from growing mainly Catimor to more recently, higher quality varietals such as Bourbon, Catuai, Geisha, Limani and Typica.

Local coffee producers such as Herlin Emer Encarnacion, have been successful at the Cup of Excellence two years in a row with his lightly floral washed Geisha, scoring between 87-88 SCA.

Herlin and his compatriots and colleagues will be waiting in Tingo Maria with open arms for all those interested in Peruvian coffee to arrive later this year for Ficafe.

Coffee Hotspots in Huanuco

Altitude - 1500-1900m
Provinces - Dos de Mayo, Leoncio Prado, Pachitea
Districts - Tingo Maria
Cities & Towns - Tingo Maria, Monzon
Varietals - Bourbon, Catimor, Pache, Typica
Popular Flavour Profiles - Caramel, Stone Fruits, Tropical Fruits

Why Huanuco?

This region is one of our least explored; we’re still learning about the producers, cooperatives and flavour profiles. Those that we have tried have tended to  be bright and acidic with a well rounded sweetness.In the Leoncio Prado province, we tried a washed  Bourbon and Geisha that won the national CoE 2022, from Bartola Echevarria. We tried this during our visit to Mamaquilla Roastery, Lima.

San Martin Region


The San Martin region, located north of Huanuco along the Huallaga River, is an important area in Peru's coffee landscape. Tarapoto, a key city in this region, serves as a gateway to the northern Amazon and, while more famous for cacao, is also significant for coffee. Moving east from Tarapoto, you enter Llamas, home to the Oro Verde cooperative, known for exporting high volumes of quality, organic, certified coffee.

In Moyobamba, known as the "City of Orchids," the coffee narrative is being rewritten. Despite its modest altitude (800-1500m), local producers and cooperatives are making remarkable strides. Capisam, Finca Cascadas, and Mishque Huayo, for instance, are elevating cup scores, reaching 85-86.5 SCA through innovative processing, elevating the traditional honey process to include anaerobic and semi-anaerobic double fermentations. Their efforts are redefining the belief that superior coffee requires higher altitudes. San Martin's absence from the Cup of Excellence since its inception in 2017 only fuels their collective determination to showcase their much improved coffee on the global stage.

Cooperative impact

Coffee is a very important part of the agricultural economy in Moyobamba and not all coffees are reaching the high scores of those mentioned. APROSELVANOR, a significant cooperative in the region, excels in producing high volume, consistent quality and well priced, certified coffee, typically scoring between 82-83 SCA. This cooperative supports over 500 members, working predominantly with smallholder communities. Under the leadership of CEO Marselly, Aproselvanor is at the forefront of incorporating female coffee producers into various roles, including management. They are committed to improving coffee quality through extensive training and enhancing the coffee processing infrastructure of their members.

Members of APROSELVANOR Left: Eugenia Ticliahuanca Cruz,Gloria Ojeda Yajahuanca, Catalina Vasquez Potenciando, Gladis Vasque Tineo, Lilibeth Llanos Hernández

Risk and reward

In 2023, coffee producers and cooperatives across this region faced a significant challenge with the resurgence of the coffee leaf rust. This issue has been particularly severe here because most coffee in this region is organically grown, with little to no use of synthetic fertilisers or herbicides. The lower altitudes of Moyobamba, which tend to have higher moisture levels in the air, has exacerbated the spread of the leaf rust, severely affecting many farms' production.

While there is hope in this region through innovative coffee processing, a prolonged return of the leaf rust is a priority now.

One of those confident in success in coffee from Moyobamba is award winning Q Grader, and regional  tasting judge, Leonardo Diaz Santos. We asked him what flavour profiles he’s most excited by and also what profiles are most familiar around San Martin.

Coffee Hotspots in San Martin

Altitude - 800-1500m
Provinces - Lamas, Moyobamba, Rioja
Districts - Jepalacio
Cities & Towns - Carrizal
Varietals - Bourbon, Cafeton, Catimor, Caturra, and Costa Rica 95
Popular Flavour Profiles - Chocolate, Tropical Fruits, Citrus Sweetness

Why San Martin?

The vastness of this region can be daunting, but you’ll never be too far from somebody open to helping. Unsurprisingly, San Martin is responsible for the majority of Peru’s exportable coffee.Conventional, certified coffees and entry-level specialty is common throughout this region. However, what excited us most on our visit was trying an anaerobic, double fermented honey Catimor varietal, grown at 1000m and being absolutely blown away by the complexity.

How to do plan an origin trip to Peru with Sustainability Consultant, James Astuhuaman

James is our go to guy for origin trips in Peru and during 2023 we connected him with green coffee buyer, Andrew Piper, from Java Roasting Co. in Ohio, USA. Andy is deeply invested in creating sustainable green coffee supply chains for his roastery and his trip to Peru was part of his journey in doing so. We asked James if he could explain how he went about organising a trip for Andy and how his experiences and relationships with people in coffee make it all possible.

MR: What was the process when planning a trip of origin with Andy, what made you decide where to visit?

JA: As someone deeply immersed in the coffee world for many years, I've had the privilege of getting to know numerous coffee producers across Latin America. Building relationships and collaborating with these organisations has given me invaluable insights into the industry. When planning the origin trip with Andy, I relied on my extensive network and shared vision of sustainability to select regions and cooperatives to visit, many of which I've worked closely with in the past.

What guided my choices were not just their commitment to sustainability but also their strong leadership and potential for growth, even among some relatively young organisations. These partners demonstrated a clear vision and empowered leadership, qualities I highly value in my collaborations. My deep familiarity with coffee-producing regions and ongoing work there made planning this trip much smoother.

It was truly gratifying to introduce Andy to these producers and highlight the value of their efforts and their potential for long-term partnerships. My professional aim is to assist these organisations in expanding their markets and making a bigger impact, while also addressing sustainability issues and tackling the challenges posed by climate change.

MR: Can you explain your career and the work you have done that has allowed you to know Latin American coffee producers and regions?

JA: My journey in the coffee industry spans over 14 years, during which I've immersed myself in various facets of sustainable agriculture, particularly focusing on coffee and cacao production. Through my roles as a program manager and sustainability specialist, I've had the privilege of working directly with coffee producers across Peru and Latin America.

My first role as a lead auditor for certification standards involved extensive field visits to coffee farms, providing me with invaluable insights into the challenges and opportunities faced by producers firsthand.

Subsequently, I've spearheaded projects funded by both government and private entities aimed at enhancing the sustainability and resilience of coffee and cacao supply chains. These initiatives have taken me to remote regions, allowing me to forge connections with many coffee-producing communities and gain a deep understanding of their needs. Collaborating closely with producers, I've focused on improving productivity, quality, and market access, all while promoting sustainable practices and gender equality in the industry.

As a current independent consultant, I support coffee buyers and NGOs (Non Governmental Organisations) on market-aligned and climate-resilience development initiatives. Leveraging my expertise in sustainability strategies, I assist them in developing and implementing initiatives to strengthen supply chain resilience and mitigate climate change impacts. Whether conducting coffee research, designing educational programs, implementing agroforestry systems, or advising on carbon footprint measurement, my approach aligns with my commitment to fostering a more resilient and equitable coffee industry.

MR: From your trip with Andy, what were some of the challenges?

JA: Travelling with Andy was a fantastic experience, as we made a great team sharing a common vision for sustainability. Our journey was filled with rich interactions and insights gathered from conversations with coffee producers.

One of the main challenges during our trip was the vast distances we had to cover in Peru. With coffee-producing regions spread out across the country, visiting remote farms and communities meant long hours of travel and limited connectivity. Some locations were only reachable by driving for hours, making logistics complex and time-consuming. Despite the distances, we were determined to visit multiple organisations in different regions, which required careful planning and dedication.

Additionally, talking with coffee producers revealed gaps in understanding the market dynamics and value chain, posing a communication barrier for proposed initiatives. It was crucial to bridge this gap by explaining market structures and our role in the value chain, fostering a collaborative and inclusive approach to sustainability efforts.

Overall, the diversity of Peru's coffee landscape presented both logistical and communication challenges, but also enriched our interactions and deepened our understanding of the complexities involved in sustainable coffee production.

MR: What did you learn from your trip with Andy about Peruvian coffee, the producers and their communities?

JA: Our trip showed us the incredible diversity of Peruvian coffee-growing communities, from indigenous groups to new cooperatives, each with its own story and aspirations. It became evident that while coffee farmers are resilient and resourceful, they face challenges in a complex industry. Farmers are eager to organise and improve, but there's a pressing need to provide support and resources to empower them on their journey towards sustainability and competitiveness. So, these visits showed the importance of fostering collaborative relationships and reimagining our approach to coffee production.

However, our journey also highlights the need for a paradigm shift within the coffee industry. Despite notable efforts, current strategies have often not addressed the fundamental challenges faced by producers. Climate change further increases these issues, disproportionately affecting those at the heart of coffee production.

I think the entire value chain requires a coordinated effort, grounded in principles of collaboration and shared prosperity. Drawing from my past experience with Twin Trading, I've seen firsthand the transformative power of market-aligned development initiatives. Yet, there remains a gap between investment strategies and the genuine needs of producers, highlighting the importance of empathetic engagement and tailored support.

Moreover, sustainability efforts must prioritise the overall well-being of producers, nurturing a sense of value and appreciation for the tireless efforts of coffee farmers within the market. By fostering motivation and empowerment, we can drive significant change within coffee communities, promoting transparency and collaboration, which, in my opinion, is the best approach to building strong relationships.

MR: Anything else you’d like to share?

JA: This journey highlights the interconnectedness of all actors within the coffee supply chain and the imperative of collective action toward a more equitable and sustainable future.

There is an inherent connection between market involvement, producer encouragement, and sustainable development that underscores the importance of fostering transparent and mutually beneficial relationships. It's a process that calls for empathy, innovation, and dedication to empowering producers and ensuring the future of coffee.

Amazonas Region

The Amazonas region in Peru is swiftly gaining recognition for its coffee cultivation potential, thanks to their ideal coffee-growing climate and altitudes ranging from 1600-2400m.

Provinces like Luya, Rodriguez de Mendonza, and Utcumbamba are producing remarkable coffees and you'll find a trend towards natural processed coffees here. Favoured because of the unique microclimates in between the lush valleys meandering around the Maranon river.

Regional attractions

The natural splendour of the Amazonas region, with attractions like the Gocta waterfall and the ancient Kuélap, enhances its allure. Kuélap, near Chachapoyas, offers a glimpse into the history of the Chachapoyas people, known as the "Warriors of the Clouds." Dating back to the 6th century AD, this less explored site compares to the more familiar Cusco yet retains a unique charm.
This area, blending natural beauty with deep cultural heritage, adds a special dimension and a compelling reason to visit alongside the coffee!

The fruits of Lonya Grande

In the 23/24 harvest season, our journey took us back to Lonya Grande to collaborate once again with Marcos Herrera, a partner from the previous season. We also established a connection with Roiber Beccera, a young and ambitious producer who has recently planted 4,000 geisha coffee trees. Additionally, we started working with Laguna Los Condores, a cooperative based in Luya with a substantial 800 members. This cooperative is incredibly impactful for its work with smallholder producers across six, large, districts.

We sought insights from Jheyson Olascoaga, their in-house Q Grader and Quality Control Manager, about the distinct flavour profiles characteristic of this region.

Loidi Campos Chavez and Evelin Caman, Cooperative Laguna de Los Condores

Coffee Hotspots in Amazonas

Altitude - 1600-2400m
Provinces - Bongara, Luya, Rodriguez de Mendoza, Utcumbamba
Districts - Bagua Grande, Comporedondo, Lonya Grande, Mendoza, Pisuquia
Cities & Towns - Chachapoyas, Gracias a Dios, Occali
Varietals - Bourbon, Catimor, Catuai, Caturra, Castilla, Geisha, Marsellessa, Typica
Popular Flavour Profiles - Blueberry, Chocolate, Clementines, Tropical Fruits

Why Amazonas?

This region is one of our favourites, and one we’ve returned to this year to make sure we’re getting hold of Lonya Grande’s delicare naturals. We’ve found many professional, determined, and trustworthy coffee cooperatives and producers partners in this region that we’re excited to be collaborating with. For us, this region is the one with the most near future potential.

Cajamarca Region

The Cajamarca region, renowned for its coffee, has emerged as a powerhouse in Peru, consistently producing award winning coffees and for a second year in a row, the Cup of Excellence winning producer. San Ignacio  stands out as the premier province for high-quality coffee, with districts like Chirinos, La Coipa, San Jose de Lourdes, and Tabaconas becoming increasingly popular among global coffee buyers.

This year's discovery of coffee from Cutervo, a province not typically famed for its coffee, has been eye-opening, revealing a promising potential which we are looking forward to exploring next harvest.

Community coffee

​​This harvest season, our journey led us back to La Coipa, renowned for its exceptional coffee, where we chose to work with Coffee Land Peru. This cooperative, deeply connected to El Vergel village through family and their own coffee farms, allowed us to focus on the unique flavours and characteristics of coffees from this specific area.

Embracing this localised approach allows us to showcase the distinct coffee profiles within Cajamarca. Here, the variety of coffee offerings is vast, so partnering with Coffee Land Peru enables us to engage with individual producers and cooperatives with more connection to their community. This strategy celebrates Cajamarca's rich coffee landscape, especially in areas like La Coipa, while fostering deeper relationships with those who are intrinsically part of these communities.

Home of National Cupper Winner 2023

Not only is amazing coffee from La Coipa, but it’s also home to Eric Jara from Alpes Andino, a producer association based in Jaen and working across northern Cajamarca. Eric who won the national cupper awards at Ficafe in Puno last year and will now go on to represent Peru at the final in Copenhagen at the World of Coffee 2024. We asked him, and another Q Grader from Jaen, Jorge Matalunas, what they thought were the most popular flavour profiles from Cajamarca.

Coffee Hotspots in Cajamarca

Altitude - 1600-2250m
Provinces - Cutervo, Jaen, San Ignacio
Districts - Chirinos, San Jose de Lourdes, Colasay, Huabal, Callayuc, La Coipa, Namballe, Tabaconas
Cities & Towns - Agua Colorada, El Vergel, Jaen, Salinas
Varietals - Bourbon, Catimor, Caturra, Geisha, Marshell, Pache, Pink Bourbon, Typica
Popular Flavour Profiles - Apple Citrus, Brown Sugar, Floral, Red Fruits, Tropical Fruits

Why Cajamarca?

The amount of quality and quantity available makes this region distinct from others. From the mix of washed and natural processed coffees to the range of varietals, experience, and expertise producers and cooperatives have. In Jaen, the coffee capital of Cajamarca, a wealth of knowledge and introductions can be made here.
We’re excited by Marshell, a varietal from Cajamarca, now being shared far and wide across Peru. It’s a very rare Catimor by it’s genes but cups more like a Caturra or Geisha.

Barranco to Badalona with Ferran Torrell

From the busy streets of Barranco, a vibrant and cultural hub in Lima, to the serene shores of Badalona, a city next to Barcelona. The journey of Ferran Rue and specialty coffee is a tale of passion, innovation, and a deep commitment to quality. Ferran's adventure began in 2016 when he founded Caleta Dolsa, a name now synonymous in the Lima coffee scene, drawing in both avid brunch-goers and adrenaline-fueled surfers alike. Ferran's foray into the world of coffee was serendipitous.

A surfer at heart, he traded the waves for coffee beans, plunging into the realm of coffee roasting. Back in 2015, the specialty coffee scene in Barranco was still in its early and premature stages. Ferran, alongside the co-founders of Caleta Dolsa, saw the untapped potential of Peruvian coffee. They were pioneers, setting a precedent in a market ripe for exploration. Their dedication paid off, forging strong bonds with coffee producers across Peru and laying a solid foundation for Caleta Dolsa.
The transition from Lima to Badalona marked a new chapter for Ferran. Since 2023, he's been fully invested in Amauta, his new venture, while also introducing his favourite Peruvian coffees to Europe through Andean Coffee Collective.

This new endeavour represents not just a business expansion but a cultural exchange, bringing the rich flavours of Peru to the European palate.
We asked Ferran about opening a roastery in Badalona, a city which, until Amauta's arrival, had not fully embraced specialty coffee despite being one of Catalonia's largest cities. Ferran shares his thoughts with us about the journey he’s been on so far.

MR: How has it been to open a roastery in Badalona, and what learnings have you taken from Caleta Dolsa?

FT: Opening a roaster in Badalona in 2023 has been an adventure and a full commitment. It marked the introduction of specialty coffee to one of the largest cities in Catalonia. The experiences and lessons from Caleta Dolsa are diverse, encompassing administrative, operational, human, and technical aspects.

We've learned immensely from every facet, really absorbing life lessons. In Peru, we've understood the essence of producing quality coffees and the extensive work behind it. Our experiences in the Lima roastery, especially the trial and error approach, have taught us to unlock the potential of our producers' coffees.

With a team of over 12 baristas in Lima, we've delved deep into understanding all the variables that contribute to a good coffee, experimenting and collaborating closely with the roasting process to ensure our coffees reflect the hard work of our producing friends.

MR: With your green coffee venture, the Andean Collective, how receptive has the coffee scene in Barcelona been for Peruvian coffee?

FT: The coffee scene in Barcelona has not traditionally associated Peru with specialty or high specialty coffees. With Andean Collective, we're challenging this paradigm by working with exceptional coffees, unique varieties, and distinctive profiles that redefine what is commonly understood as Peruvian coffee.

There's a tendency in Europe to only recognise regional or Community Lot coffees from Peru, often lacking traceability and distinctive profiles. Andean Collective aims to assist small and medium-sized coffee growers in Peru, particularly those in the most interesting regions where the coffees have unique character and sensory profiles. These surprising Peruvian coffees often astonish people at the cupping tables.

MR: What are your favourite Peruvian coffees?

FT: My favourites include the high-elevation washed coffees with fermentations of no more than 72 hours. The coffees from the Huabal and Tabaconas areas of Cajamarca, especially the Yellow Caturra from Huabal, are spectacular. The Bourbons from Cusco and the coffees from Puno are also remarkable. The Central Jungle offers very sweet and round coffees, perfect for daily espressos, either alone or with milk. 

Although I've found few natural coffees that surprise me, the ones that do stand out are due to excellent process management.

MR: What are your favourite coffees outside Peru?

FT: I'm particularly fond of Kenyan coffees for their sweetness, body, and juiciness, and the heirloom varietals from Ethiopia, known for their floral and delicate profiles. Additionally, the Pacamara variety from El Salvador is a personal favourite.

MR: Is there anything else you want to share?

FT: We are currently witnessing a new era for the production and distribution of excellent Peruvian coffees. This is a time of significant change and opportunity in the specialty coffee industry, and we're excited to be a part of it. Thank you.

We thank Ferran for all his hard work pushing Peruvian coffee to new places not just in Europe but also sharing the best of Peru with many Peruvians.

Here’s to the next harvest!

As we draw the curtain on this year's Harvest Guide, we reflect on the journey through Peru's vast and varied coffee landscapes—a journey as intricate and storied as the Khipu's knots. This guide, much like the ancient Andean corded communication system, has sought to encode not just the data and details of Peru's coffee production but the very essence of its people, its land, and its enduring spirit of innovation and sustainability. 

We thank you for reading and hope you have found it useful.

An invitation

As you, the reader, close this guide, consider it not as an end but as an invitation to become part of Peru's ongoing coffee story. Whether through direct trade, supporting sustainability initiatives, or simply savouring the unique flavours of Peruvian coffee, your engagement helps to strengthen the ties that bind us to one another and to the future of Peruvian coffee. Together, we can ensure that the legacy of coffee, like that of the Khipu, continues to be a source of inspiration, connection, and shared prosperity.

We look forward to embarking on this journey again in the next edition, where new stories, challenges, and triumphs await. The Harvest Guide 2023/24 has been a testament to the beauty and complexity of Peruvian coffee culture, and we are grateful for the opportunity to share it with you. 

Here's to the next cup, the next harvest, and the continued success of the remarkable coffee producers of Peru.

Get in touch with Mark Russell to find out how we can support you in sourcing the best of Peruvian coffee.
Phone: +447502 160983

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