Price $2.75 per pound
Bag Weight 152.62 lbs
Flavor Profile Cherry, rose, chocolate
Please Note This coffee is solid and defect-free and scored slightly lower than our normal online offerings. This coffee landed more than 8 months ago.
Smallholder farmers organized around Origin Coffee Lab
1000 – 1600 masl
Bourbon, Caturra, Catuaí, Pache, Catimor, Marselleza
Alto Pirias community, Chirinos district, Cajamarca region, Peru
Full natural and dried on raised beds
May - October
In Peru by far the bulk of coffee production comes from small farms owned and managed by people who have for many years followed organic farm management practices attuned to their cultural connection with the land. Producers typically cultivate coffee on just a few acres of land intercropped with shade trees, fruits and vegetables. Small producers are often very careful about picking and sorting their cherry prior to depulping, fermenting, washing, and drying the coffee, all on personal equipment and on personal property. While producers design farm management and post-harvest solutions to fit their varying needs, they also need a strong business alliance to bring their coffee to the international market and earn fair prices, regardless if the coffees are blended or sold independently.
This particular lot of coffee comes from select smallholder farmers in the Alto Pirias community, part of Peru’s prolific Cajamarca region. Cajamarca, along with the Piura and Amazonas regions, spans the entire width of the Andes that run north into Ecuador. Cajamarca’s landscape almost entirely consists of the steep and dense Andes cordilleras, and with its range of high elevations and microclimates is by far Peru’s best-known region for specialty production, and its most developed in quality infrastructure.
Natural processing in Peru is a near-total anomaly still, with very few producers experienced or consistent enough to invest in the method year after year. Alto Pirias, part of the Chirinos district, is normally ground zero for high-quality washed processing in Cajamarca; which is exactly why Origin Coffee Lab, the exporter responsible for developing this coffee, decided an unconventional processing style might be worth doing. Many of the local farmers are the third generation or more to work with coffee, understanding both coffee and the climate very well, so as to minimize the risks of natural processing—namely defects caused by excessive humidity or extended drying times. The farmers all follow largely the same picking and processing standards, despite having slight differences in variety, microclimate, and drying style, which slightly changes the family protocols for each farm. All farms pick very selectively into the evening and float cherry for density, and to remove unwanted debris. The coffee fruit is then washed clean and dried on any combination of raised beds, solar dryers, and rooftops. Drying typically takes 18-25 days and the coffee is consistently stirred and rotated throughout.
Origin Coffee Lab is an exemplary alliance established in 2017 in Peru’s competitive north. The small team put together by José Rivera and Alex Julca--career cuppers, farmers, exporters, and quality managers who grew up in Peru’s sought-after northern coffee terroir--is quickly gaining a reputation for their outstanding portfolio of microlot coffees and above-expectations regional blends. Which should be no surprise, given the founders have decades of experience working with farmers of all kinds and cupping thousands of samples from across the Cajamarca and Piura regions. So, they know what they’re aiming for. Origin Coffee Lab uses their extensive experience to set high standards for farms, with generous price premiums in place for those who rise to the occasion. But it’s not simply a take-it-or-leave-it proposition: their “Solidario” program is a curriculum that teaches best practices in farm management and processing to help small farmers maximize their quality, and profit. Farmers in Peru’s northern regions certainly have their choice of exporter. So the growing partnerships for Origin Coffee Lab and the popularity of their coffees signal that they clearly are offering something worthwhile to top farmers.