Santa Teresa Organic Peru Limited Release
- February 2018
- Written by : Jay Cunningham
Senior Business Development Manager / Green Coffee Buyer
North v South
Our sourcing efforts in Peru have been focused since the very beginning on the country’s North. Northern Peru is where the majority of the country’s specialty coffee is grown, after all. With more cooperatives and producers to work with, better mechanisms for trade and transparency, and a larger pool of coffee for us to explore in our search for delicious gems, focusing our early efforts on the North made the job of our coffee buyers a little easier.
Our very first Peru Direct Trade project in Peru was focused on the country’s North. We called it, ironically, Cruz del Sur, or “the southern cross.” That name referred not to the project’s location within Peru, but Peru’s location with respect to the rest of the world: south of the Equator in South America. Our sourcing program in Peru continues to focus primarily on the North. Over the last three years, we have devoted a lot of time to our latest Direct Trade project there, and are anxiously awaiting the arrival of the most recent crop.
But the coffee growers of Southern Peru have made themselves hard to ignore in recent years, turning out beautiful coffees from Cusco and Puno. This Santa Teresa Organic Limited Release is our first offering of from the South, and a bright start to a new sourcing effort. We have an inaugural visit with the growers behind this coffee slated for later this year, and hope to launch a new Direct Trade project next season.
Peru is huge, three times the size of California, and the Northern and Southern parts of the country are very different places in regard to culture, language, and landscape.
The South is dryer, with higher elevations, and much less infrastructure to support trade than the comparatively more industrialized and developed North. But the isolation of Peru’s southern coffee regions isn’t all bad. One benefit of their remoteness is that many farms there still have primarily heirloom Typica and Bourbon varietals which deliver the complex flavor and sweetness we seek in our coffees.
One of the two primary trading hubs in the South is the city of Cusco, once the Inca capital of Peru. This organic lot comes from the Huadquiña Cooperative, based in the nearby village of Santa Teresa. The primary growing regions surround the Salkantay Mountain as well as the Yanatile River Valley, not far from Machu Picchu, the remote mountain fortress built centuries ago by the Inca as the seat of their sprawling empire. Long ago, the residents of the communities where this coffee was grown built and maintained an escape route in the event the fortress should come under attack. Coffee trees still grow there among the ancient stonework.
Huadquiña has about 400 members, and this lot is comprised of coffee from just 10 farms. Although the coop has a wet mill in Santa Teresa, the farms are so remote the majority of the coffee is wet-processed and dried in small backyard mills, and coop members deliver parchment coffee to Santa Teresa where it is sorted and hulled for export.
We are thrilled to release this coffee and eager to begin laying the groundwork later this year for our first Direct Trade sourcing project in Southern Peru. If this Santa Teresa lot is any indication, Southern Peru will become an origin whose annual production is anxiously awaited by baristas and guests in our Coffeebars.