Cruz del Sur Organic Peru
- November 2018
- Written by : Jay Cunningham
Senior Business Development Manager / Green Coffee Buyer
I have always wanted to offer a coffee from Peru that is every bit as good as what we are buying from the rest of the world, a cup so sweet and complex you take a sip then pull the mug away in wonder.
Peru is one of the top 10 producers of coffee in the world, and the largest exporter of certified organic specialty coffee. But for a number of reasons, its full potential for quality has largely gone unrealized, and even the country’s best coffees are often unheralded or blended into obscurity. Fortunately, we are not alone in our hope of rescuing those coffees from oblivion. Over the past five seasons, we have been working to build relationships with growers in northern Peru who share our commitment to quality and our belief in Peru’s quality potential.
In Jaen, the epicenter of Peru’s coffee sector, we partner with Origin Coffee Lab, a new specialty operation staffed by a team of experienced coffee veterans and farmers. From its state-of-the-art cupping lab and field office in town,, it supports the work of a second-year cooperative called Café Solidario, which is working hard to offer the kinds of amazing, sweet and clean coffees we look for. Four members of the cooperative have led the way.
Los Hermanos Pintado
Alto Ihuamaca is a small village about a four-hour drive from Jaen on dirt roads high in the Andes. It is located in the Tabaconas-Namballe National Sanctuary, a huge protected area of natural forest home to a dizzying array of vegetation and wildlife including the Spectacled Bear. The conditions there are ideal for great coffee: high elevation, soil teeming with organic matter, warm days and cool nights.
Percy, Jefrey, Silvio and Melqueades Pintado are four coffee-farming brothers in Alto Ihuamaca who manage their farms collectively. They grow, process and dry their coffees on rugged farms about a mile’s walk from the nearest road down a deep muddy path. They have been working closely with Solidario and Origin to adopt better farm management practices, replace older coffee trees and improve drying to boost quality. The results have been amazing. The coffees taste better than ever, with great body, citrus acidity and berry flavors.
When I first tasted Percy’s coffee four years ago, he had no contact with the specialty market and his farm didn’t even have a name. Today, both Percy and his farm, now named Rayos del Sol, have become reference points for quality in a coffee origin that is having a moment. We’re proud to offer small lots from the Pintado brothers under our Cruz del Sur mark, to highlight this small farm in a big country, and to deliver a transparent coffee from a country that produces so much coffee that is so rarely celebrated or even named. We are thrilled to play a small role in Peru’s coffee renaissance. Enjoy!