In Peru by far 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, 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. Aroma del Valle is one exemplary alliance, 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, educational programs for youth in agriculture, and preparing coffee for export are all coordinated through Aroma del Valle, which ensures traceability and quality control throughout the post-harvest process.
Walter Paredes is a native to Sector El Campo, and from a young age has dedicated himself to a life of agriculture. His ancestors who farmed in the same region primarily planted potatoes, sugar cane, and corn, until coffee caught on as a profitable crop that would perform well in the local climate and altitude. Now, Walter has the historic honor of being among the first generation of coffee producers from Sector El Campo to achieve some of the best qualities in the entire country of Peru. Quality that brings international recognition to his home community, and that allows coffees like his to sell as individual microlots, bringing recognition to his techniques and dedication as a young farmer.
“La Chirimoya” is the name of Walter’s farm, which, at only 2 hectares in size, produces roughly 50 bags of green coffee annually, as well as small amounts of traditional crops like corn, sugar cane, and potatoes. Peru is unique in Latin American coffee for maintaining old varieties of typica, bourbon and caturra, which allows the most focused producers, such as Walter, to achieve gorgeous and layered cup profiles with a delicacy that is uniquely Peruvian.
After hand-picking and sorting all ripe cherry, Walter performs a 24-hour cherry fermentation 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 thoroughly in fresh water, and dried in a covered solar dryer from 18 to 25 days. Finished parchment is packed into grainpro and stored carefully, elevated on wooden slats, until it is deposited into Aroma Del Valle’s central warehouse.