Peru - El Palto
Tasting notes: Chocolate, berries, deep
Produced by: Cooperative members of El Palto
Varietal: Bourbon, Typica, Caturra
Altitude: 1800 masl
This is the first time we have sourced a single origin coffee from Peru. It is an origin that is often known as second class. Interestingly, though, that is changing, because there is really no reason for their underdeveloped recognition. Specialty coffee buyers, like ourselves, are starting to pay closer attention to Peruvian coffee.
Northern Peru produces the vast majority of the country’s coffee. The altitude and climate, being situated within the Andes Mountains, fosters a prime growing conditions. Moreover, during the last ten years or so Peru has seen a significant uptick in fair trade and organic cooperative development, mostly due to shared work done by small coffee farmers and coffee importers excited about Peru’s potential. The fair trade and organic branding has opened a market not otherwise available to Peruvian coffee cooperatives, and small farmers have benefited from these certifications. It has also opened the door for cooperatives to learn how to properly complete a variety of processing methods.
This particular coffee comes to us from Northern Peru, nestled in the Andes, in a region called Cajamarca. A group of almost 200 small farmers encompassing 550 hectares together form a fair trade and organic cooperative call Asociacion de Productores Cafetaleros Juan Marco El Palto (JUMARP), which is also known as simply El Palto. Women represent 40 of the organizational members and women have a constant presence on their Board of Directors.
Unique to almost all of the coffee exported from Peru, this coffee is processed using what is known as the honey processing method. This method varies slightly still from country to country, but it can be broadly conceived as sharing characteristics with pulp natural, but instead of leaving the mucilage the majority of it is removed from the seed. So, the coffee cherry skin is removed, then the outer part of the mucilage is removed but some is left, then it is dried in the sun. The intent of this method is to achieve the best aspects of both washed and natural process coffees – a clean effervescent pop with big deep fruit and creamy body.
The farmers who grew and processed this coffee really outdid themselves. We really love the outcome in the cup. It has big chocolate character on the front end and transitions seamlessly into berry sweetness, mostly deep flavors that remind us of blackberries, but more complex. It is a perfect coffee for people with or without specialty coffee experience. Check. It. Out!