With a highly diverse climate, Peru can range from tropics to the desert and being located next to the South Pacific Ocean gives a climate most acceptable to growing fine Arabica Coffee. The history of Coffee in Peru began in the 1700’s mainly for personal consumption with little to no commercial interest at all. The first production was mostly in the nor-oriental forest of the Peru the regions of Moyobamba and Jaén. Up until around 1850, coffee was cultivated on farms along with other agricultural products. By 1930, the valley of Chanchamayo was consolidated and set up as coffee plantation with facilities that allowed for processing the coffee cherries.
Going into the 19th and even 20th centuries, the history of coffee in Peru was pretty much status quo as the production remained local and never grew globally due to lack of infrastructure and transportation through out the growing regions. There are approximately 11,000 coffee farmers living on less than 3 acres of land far away from running water and electricity. Peru’s coffee exports were no more than two percent of their total economy for decades as coffee farmers struggled to maintain a means of income.
The Equal Exchange explains Farmers take their picked coffee cherries to puplers in wooden fermentation tanks. To get their cherries processed it it a hike anywhere from 30 minutes to eight hours to the processors before they can sell their green coffee. From there it is a trip to the nearest town for the buying and selling in the plaza on Saturday afternoons. However, being that more than one farmer will show up, it forces the farmers to accept low bids due to competition and cover the cost of processing and some sort of profit before the long hike back home.
Saddled with Coffee Cherries, mules are going to market
One thing that has greatly developed the history of coffee in Peru has been the Fair Trade Organization. Over the last decade, small farmers have come together with the help from such organizations such as Equal Exchange to unify and work to sustain a higher set price to protect them from the previous pitfalls of selling their coffee. This strengthening and empowerment has seen better infrastructure and a more sustainable income for several Peruvian Coffee Farmers.
As a result, Peru is now #2 behind Mexico in producing Fair Trade Organic Coffee. The cooperatives have invested in the Farmers and with help from donations there is now a sense of stability in a region where there was minimal productivity or growth. Remarkably, what was once considered a coffee that was only good for use in coffee blends, Peru Fair Trade Organic has become a unique find for coffee roasters. This medium roast coffee has a dark chocolate, toasted aroma with a medium body and a very mild acidity that is very pleasant on the palate. Reggie’s Roast Peru Fair Trade Organic coffee has a sweet, nutty flavor with a slightly fruity and clean finish.