In Peru the bulk of coffee production comes from small farms owned and managed by people who follow organic farm management practice attuned to their cultural connection with the land. Producers typically cultivate coffee on just a few acres of land intercropped with shade trees, bananas, corn, and beans. They carefully harvest and sort cherries before depulping, fermenting, washing, and drying the coffee using their own micro-mills. While producers design farm management and post-harvest solutions to fit their needs, they also need a strong alliance to bring their coffee to the international market and earn fair prices. Aroma del Valle, an organization established to assist small producers access the specialty coffee market carries out activities that often go unnoticed but are crucial for small producers. Investments for basic infrastructure needs, like road improvements, establishing local warehouses, and preparing coffee for export are all coordinated through Aroma del Valle, which ensures traceability and quality control throughout the post-harvest process. Aroma del Valle also helps farmers navigate the organic certification process. This year, Aroma del Valle has started a micro-lot program to highlight individual producer lots. Henry Arica produced this particular lot on his 10-acre farm in the San Ignacio region.
During the harvest, the cherries are hand-picked, sorted and floated to remove damaged and less dense seeds, then fermented in the cherry for 24-hours to allow the sugars to peak and the pulp to soften. Once the cherry ferment is complete everything is depulped and fermented for 35 hours, washed, and dried from 18 to 25 days. Finished parchment is packed into grainpro and stored carefully, until it is deposited into Aroma Del Valle’s central warehouse.