Think: Cocoa, Floral, & Grapefruit
Location: Jaén, Cajamarca, Peru
Altitude: 1650–1800 masl
Varietal: Caturra, Typica, Catimor, Mundo Novo, Pache
Roast Level: Medium (city)
Aroma: Hazelnut, Cocoa, Cereal, Brown Sugar
Flavor: Cocoa, Floral, Grapefruit, Brown Sugar
Finish: Clean, Citrus
The coffee plant first arrived in Peru in the mid 1700s, however, it wasn't cultivated for commercial export until the 20th century. As coffee production in Indonesia decreased, Europe was in search of a way to fill the increasing coffee demand. In the early 1900s, the British government took ownership of roughly 2 million hectares (1 hectare = 2.47 acres) of Peruvian land. The Peruvian government had defaulted on a loan from the British and so this land became compensation. The coffee farms on that land then became British-owned coffee plantations.
As these large European-owned landholdings were sold or redistributed throughout the 20th century, the coffee farms became smaller and more fragmented. This offered independence to farmers but also limited their access to resources and the larger commercial market. For many years, Peru lacked the organization and infrastructures to provide economic and technical support to farmers. Now, around 30 percent of the country's smallholders are members of democratic co-ops. This has heavily increased the visibility of coffees in the area, but has done little to bring incredibly high-quality lots into the spotlight.
In 2010, Peru became one of the top producers of Arabica coffee, ranked 5th in world production! The remoteness and small size of the coffee farms has prevented any significant growth in micro-lot development or marketing. However, as with everything else in specialty coffee, this is changing quickly. The country’s lush highlands and good heirloom varieties offer the potential for growers to beat the obstacles of limited infrastructure and market access. As production increases, we are likely to see more and more really incredible coffees come out of Peru!
For many years, our importer has partnered with CENFROCAFE, one of the largest and possibly best-organized cooperatives in Latin America, for the bulk of their Peru lots. Despite the overall lack of a cohesive national coffee institute, CENFROCAFE has been able to support nearly 2,000 coffee-growing families by offering agricultural and financial resources, as well as encouraging producers to learn to roast and to gain exposure to specialty coffee. Regional Select coffees and microlots, specifically from Cajamarca in the northwest, are a huge part of Peru's exported specialty coffee.
This isn't the first time we've brought in a coffee from Cajamarca and we don't expect it to be our last! We cupped this next to several Peruvian coffees and it blew us away. It is quite floral with a brown sugar sweetness and grapefruit acidity. We can't wait to see what Rony, the producer of this amazing coffee, does in the future.
We hope you love it as much as we do!