As we approach the end of October, Royal New York is right in the midst of several Peru arrivals. Our Peru offerings have expanded quite a bit in the past few years with the addition of a new cooperative and the introduction of micro lots to our offerings list. Due to this growth we have been visiting Peru a bit more often and we wanted to take a few minutes to shed some light on our most recent trip to Peru last month.
One of the main takeaways on any origin trip is learning firsthand what issues producers and exporters are facing. It’s easy enough to communicate with everyone via email or phone, but it’s important to connect with suppliers in person to witness what issues are affecting the quality and volume of the coffees they are producing. Traceability and transparency is also another main reason to go on origin trips, especially when you are working on smaller micro lots and want to understand how that specific producer or family is processing their coffee to produce such a unique cup profile.
Last month, we visited two cooperatives in the Northern region of Peru, specifically in the provinces of Jaen and San Ignacio, to expand on micro lot offerings and to understand what setbacks they are facing when it comes to coffee production. These provinces are in the department of Cajamarca. Cajamarca, along with the other Northern departments (Piura, Amazonas & San Martin) are home to 43% of the country’s total hectares of coffee. These provinces produce some very interesting lots with bright acidity, silky bodies, and sweet chocolate and fruit notes – therefore sourcing micro lots from these areas is a no brainer
The two cooperatives we visited during this trip were Sol & Café, located in Jaen and COOPAFSI located in San Ignacio – which are both organic and fair-trade suppliers for Royal Coffee New York. Both cooperatives are extremely different but have a similar goal in mind: to improve the living conditions and incomes for all coop members. They do this in many ways such as: providing loans, assisting with medical costs and exams, education opportunities and higher premiums based on certifications and cup profiles. Sol & Café currently has about 2,000 members, where COOPAFSI only has about 300 (90 of which are female producers who contribute to the “Las Damas” brand that Royal purchases). Although both cooperatives are extremely different in terms of number of members and the overall size of their facilities, they shared common issues with coffee production – unpredictable rain showers and humidity make it extremely difficult for them to properly dry their parchment. When coffee producers are part of a larger cooperative, they are usually wet milling their coffee themselves at their farms and transporting the dry parchment to either a warehouse or dry mill belonging to the cooperative itself. Due to the difficult climate issues they are facing, producers are delivering less and less parchment because they are losing too much in the drying process. Not all producers have access to covered drying patios and those who don’t have to constantly keep an eye on their coffee and cover up the parchment every time they feel a drop of rain.
Another similar topic discussed by both cooperatives was the replanting of “antique” varietals. These varietals, such as Bourbon and Yellow Caturra, were producing better quality for many producers several years ago, but due to the coffee rust outbreak in 2013, many of these plants were replaced with rust-resistant varietals which produced a higher yield but of lower quality. Now, both cooperatives are focusing on bringing back the antique varietals to focus on improving quality and producing more micro lots which enable producers to receive higher premiums. A small leap backwards in volume to take large steps forward in quality.
We are in the process of finalizing our micro lot purchases which will be on our offerings list in the next few weeks, but we already have the following lots available for purchase which are arriving to our NJ warehouse next week!
42595 – Organic Peru COOPAFSI “Familia Cordova Colunche” Fair Trade
orange, caramel, red apple
42597 – Organic Peru COOPAFSI “Familia Garcia Morales” Fair Trade
Cane sugar, floral, red apple, tangerine
42598 – Organic Peru COOPAFSI “Familia Pintado Chinchay” Fair Trade
Peach, vanilla, green apple, nutmeg
42585 – Organic Peru COOPAFSI “Las Damas de San Ignacio” Fair Trade RFA
Milk Chocolate, Orange, Caramel
Micro lots TBD