Don Lorenzo Luna Monsalve has been in the coffee world for more than 30 years, he and his family live on their 3 Hectare farm, carrying out most of the day to day activities and only hiring personnel for the harvest. Lorenzo’s farm, high up in the Las Pirias area of Cajamarca region at 1600masl, has plenty of trees placed to provide shade cover to the coffee. Once the coffee is harvested, it is floated and left to rest for 12 hours in tightly closed bags under the shade before bring pulped. After having pulped the coffee it goes through a short fermentation process before being washed and dried for half an hour in the sun, after which time the coffee is sent to temperature controlled drying beds for 18 to 24 days. The family intend to invest in a solar drier for the coming harvest to further improve drying consistency.
Huabal is a district within the Jaén province of Cajamarca and is one of our strongest areas for members and quality. Huabal has a huge amount of potential for quality coffee, but due to very poor infrastructure many of the producers lack resources and knowledge to unlock that potential. Altitudes in the area range from 1200 to 2100masl, but most of the producers we work with are above 1600masl. Many producers in Huabal had been regenerating their farms with catimores, which had been promoted by the government and multinational buyers, and in some altitude ranges have given great results and with good management produce decent cup quality, but in the higher altitudes rarely produce much and the quality is poor. Now with the premiums that they’re receiving for quality, more and more producers are re-planting caturra, bourbon and catuai, which, with good management and fertilization can yield higher and produce much better quality coffee. Huabal is made up of various villages, which are centres of coffee production and each producer belongs to a village. Since Huabal spans a couple of mountains the climate conditions and soils can vary considerably, with some areas having wet, humid conditions and red, African-like soils and others dry and hot. This all contributes to diverse and delicious cup profiles and some very complex coffees.
We have been working in Northern Peru for several years, buying specialty coffee from cooperatives and associations with whom we have built lasting relationships. Whilst a lot of the arrival quality we have seen in previous seasons has been good, we have struggled to impact upon that quality or make improvements in the supply chain as we would like. More importantly, the premiums we had been paying for quality rarely makes it directly back to producers, something we have had very little control over in previous years.
In Peru, like some other origins, coffee farmers are sensitive to market changes and often lack basic training and the incentive to produce higher qualities of coffee, as premiums often don’t materialise. For these reasons we decided we needed to change the way we buy coffee in Peru and work directly with producers, allowing us to control and improve upon the existing quality and have full financial traceability. Ensuring these two factors would help us to pay higher prices for the coffees and to make sure that producers received a fair price for the coffee they delivered us, above the market price.
The Cajamarca region holds a lot of potential for quality coffee, with ideal growing conditions and great varieties, but the quality is often lost in picking, processing and drying, with producers lacking infrastructure and knowledge. The most vulnerable producers are those that are unassociated – those who aren’t members of a cooperative, association or organisation – and they represent 75% of producers in Northern Peru. These producers don’t have access to training sessions or premiums for quality or certifications, and their income is totally dependent on the market price. Often, local aggregators – a buyer who lives in the same area – will come to the farm or house of a producer and buy their coffee for cash before selling it on; in some cases, directly to an exporter or more often to other traders and middlemen. This results in the producer being paid very little for their coffee and a lot of quality coffee is lost.
This shift in approach to sourcing will allow us to forge long term relationships directly with farmers, improve the coffee quality we can offer from these areas and increase producer household income through access to quality premiums. We now have over 438 registered farmers across the San Ignacio and Jaen provinces
Strawberry, Pineapple, Caramel