How does a sweet, juicy cup with a clean, bright acidity and notes of caramel, lemon-lime, green apple and milk chocolate sound to you?
Pretty terrific?! That’s our new coffee from Peru.
Situated on the western coast of South America, this country is known as the land of the Incas and boasts a rich coffee-growing culture. Peruvians have been cultivating coffee since the 1700s, but it wasn't until the 20th century that they began to globally export. With the Andes running through the western half of the country, Peru is an ideal place for growing high-quality Arabica coffee. Currently Peru is the eighth-largest producer in the world and has a strong reputation for excellent roasts with ethical sourcing.
Most of the coffee grown in Peru is cultivated on small farms found high in the Andes Mountains that are less than two or three hectares. Domingo de la Capilla, where this coffee is from, is one of fifteen districts in the province of Cutervo in Cajamarca. It is located in the northern highlands of Peru in the valley of the Mashcon River, which has perfect conditions for growing outstanding coffees. This region boasts high altitudes, (coffee grows at up to 2,000 meters ASL) warm temperatures, and plentiful rain, along with abundant vegetation that the locals are serious about conserving. This has directly influenced la Capilla’s micro-climate, which creates more precipitation than other coffee-producing region in Cajamarca and benefits the farmers enormously.
Caturra, Bourbon, Typica, Pache and Catimore are the varietals of Arabica coffee grown by the coffee farmers (also called producers) in Santo Domingo de la Capilla. They are very serious about picking only the ripest cherries. Instead of the use of big machines, the cherries are picked by hand. It can take up to five successive pickings to complete a harvest. This is dangerous work on the steep slopes of the mountains. After each picking, the cherry is pulped immediately and the parchment is fermented for approximately 12 hours and then washed and dried being turned several times during the drying process.
As a little side note, before growing coffee, the farmers concentrated primarily on growing sugarcane, or yonke (pronounced jon-kay). Yonke is grown at low altitudes, but these communities have adapted and learned how to cultivate heirloom plants at high altitudes enabling them to distill the popular Peruvian cane liquor. Yonke is no longer their main source of income since coffee producing is more profitable, yet it remains a popular side business.
Peru implemented Fair Trade certifications on their coffees around 2003. Fair trade certified coffee guarantees farmers will receive a minimum price that covers their average costs of production even if coffee prices fall.
This washed/sun-dried coffee has a medium body (between watery and syrupy) with bright acidity.