Café Imports, our importing partner, has foreseen the potential of Peru – specifically the northern region of Cajamarca. Peiro Cristani, Café Imports Senior Green Buyer, and Rony Lavan of Lima Coffee Exporting have been working with farmers to improve quality protocols and establish a micro-lot program in Cajamarca. They have achieved with this investment and support some dramatic quality improvements, specifically dominating the first Cup of Excellence (COE) in Peru with coffees from Cajamarca.
This lot is a regional lot from 400 smallholder farms in Cajamarca that have benefited from the investment and development provided by Café Imports and Lima Coffee. A significant change in the process is incentivizing the delivery of cherry to a mill instead of drying on the farm. Encouraging the farmers to deliver cherry allows the mill to manage the drying and sorting of the harvest, improving the quality. This coffee is a testament to the innovation and collaboration that is a result of Café Imports’ work in Cajamarca. Blueprint is privileged to share the results of this work with you.
Peruvian coffee is evolving. When reflecting on the source of this quality-evolution a few words come to mind: awareness, innovation and collaboration. Quality improvements like picking, sorting and better milling protocol never stick if farmers do not embrace them and/or lack the support of dedicated collaborators. It might be surprising to some, but most farmers aren’t aware of the growing and evolving specialty coffee market around the world. Loosely defined, specialty coffee is any coffee that scores 84+ points using an SCA cupping form by a certified Q-grader. Awareness of this market is just the beginning, usually requiring a collaborator to connect to the market and help establish the improvements that garner better quality and higher prices. Innovation also never occurs unless investment is connected to it. This can be human investment, like consultation and training, or a financial investment in materials to establish the project, or pre-financing to support better practices, like ripe picking.
Team taste notes: molasses, bourbon, stone fruit, orange
Decaf Huila is another in a long string of decaffeinated coffees we’ve featured from Colombia. The country’s ability to export fresh coffee year-round, coupled with its sugarcane ethyl acetate decaffeination procedure means that we can almost always get a fresh, complex, and affordable decaf coffee.
Huila is a well-established region in south-central Colombia known for its clean, complex coffees and high altitudes. It is divided by Magdalena River, which runs from north to south through the region dividing the central and eastern Cordillera Mountains. Since the region contains thousands of farms that are on opposing western- and eastern-facing slopes of these two ranges, there are multiple harvest seasons even within this region. The land is lush, green, and quite rural. Most coffee is grown on small, family-run farms where coffee is harvested, washed, and dried on the farm. Over 95% of Colombia’s farms are smaller than 2 hectares, with farms averaging 2300 pounds (15 bags) of green coffee production per hectare in 2016. Most farmers sell their coffee as dried parchment to exporters or local collection stations. In addition to coffee, many farms grow a number of alternate crops for sale or family consumption.
Café Imports seeks to source great coffees for their Origin Select Decaf program and they have once again succeeded. Through their regional select program, they offer incentives for quality delivery of coffee. As part of this program, Café Imports intentionally sources coffee to be decaffeinated in transit to the United States, protecting the seasonality of the coffee and maintaining as much complexity through the process as possible.