Peru Eli Chilcon
Region: San Ignacio, Cajamarca
Altitude: 1800 m.a.s.l.
Variety: Caturra, Bourbon
Tasting Notes: pear, vanilla, floral
Oh, how we love a delicious washed Peruvian coffee! This lot is fantastically fresh tasting with juicy pear and sweet yellow plum flavours dominating. There’s a lovely herbal complexity, too, reminiscent of jasmine and lavender. The medium-full body and long sweet finish makes this coffee great for any brew method.
This lot comes from the La Montaña Farm, a 4-hectare plot run by producer Eli Chilcon and his family. The farm is situated at 1800 masl and is planted with caturra only. It is becoming clearer that climate change and fluctuating temperatures are producing problems for plots at this altitude. Droughts are becoming more frequent so one of the key ways to help mitigate risks from climate has been the installation of shade trees around the growing areas as well as effective irrigation building and effective fertiliser dispersal to maintain soil health.
Following the harvest months of July to October the picked cherry is rested before being pulped and rested again for 48 hours. It is then washed and dried for a period of around 14 days before being prepared for storage.
Once ready the coffee is taken to a warehouse in Jaen operated by the importer, Falcon Coffee, where it is assessed for quality. At this stage a price is agreed for the coffee depending on its perceived cup score. Prices are set according to lot quality and Falcon aims to pay 30% above the local price as this quality bonus will have a huge impact on the farmer’s livelihood, and that of their family. Finally, the coffee is transported to a plant called Café Selva Norte SAC and checked for any defects before being bagged and moved to the coast for shipping.
Falcon Peru Overview:
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 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. In order to do this, we set up a warehouse in Jaen and started to buy in parchment directly from producers.
The Cajamarca region holds a lot of potential for quality coffee, with ideal growing conditions and great varieties, but 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.
A note about packaging
Our packaging is 100% plastic free - the pouch is fully home compostable and can be either composted in your garden or returned to us here at Steampunk to be composted. The shipping box is fully recyclable and made from a mix of recycled and FSC certified card. You can read more about our packaging journey in this blog post.
Are you storing your coffee correctly? Find out more here.