Coffee is one of the top commodities in the world. There are coffee shops in almost every corner of every city today. Just visit any city you think of, you will be surprised to see how coffee shops are strategically positioned. That is a good reason to tell you there are many coffee lovers across the globe. Are you one of the coffee aficionados?
Brazil top the list of coffee producers that ensure coffee aficionados across the globe enjoy a cup of coffee every day. If you love coffee, chances are, you have enjoyed the Brazilian coffee.
Is Peru known for coffee?
Besides Brazil, there is another key coffee producer, although it does not appear among the best five producers, it contributes largely to the production of exemptional beans. That producer is no other than Peru.
In fact, back in 2017, Peru stood at position ten in the list of the world’s largest coffee producers. That is a good reason enough to show you Peruvian coffee is no underdog. Cultivating over 3.2 billion 60kg bags of delicious coffee each year and the second-highest exporter of fair-trade coffee to Mexico, it is worth to learn more about Peruvian coffee. Let’s start with its history.
The history of Peruvian coffee
The coffee beans reached Peru hundreds of years ago and adopted easily to Peru conditions. That is around the mid-1700s. Since then, Peruvian coffee has grown steadily to become one of the coffees loved by many across the globe.
Peruvian coffee in Europe
The late 1800s were not the best years for countries like Indonesia and its surrounding neighbors. A terrible disease affected the growth of coffee greatly in these countries triggering Europeans buyers to look for alternative producers around the world to quench Europe’s insatiable demand for coffee. And it is during that period Peruvian coffee was found. This discovery contributed significantly to the growth of healthy Peruvian coffee as well as its economy.
England also accepted over 2 million hectares of coffee growing land as payment for a defaulted loan and started plantation-like farms. England later sold its land during the world wars and this, in many ways affected the growth of Peruvian coffee. One area that was hard hit is the ability of Peru to export coffee. But despite all these challenges, Peruvian coffee has continued to put a smile on the faces of many coffee lovers.
The current state of the Peruvian coffee industry
Like most top coffee producers that have over the years continued to up their game in coffee production, Peru coffee also has a promising future. It has progressed positively towards both healthy production and high-quality beans. This progress has placed Peru in a position to flex muscles with top coffee producers like Brazil and Columbia. Today, Peru has over 100 000 farmers with a significant percentage growing traditional, shade-grown Arabica beans that are quickly becoming well-respected in the international market.
The wet processing process has contributed significantly to the quality of current Peru’s coffee beans. Not forgetting the efforts of co-ops. The growth of firm cooperatives supporting farmers has led to a positive change in the quantity of both organic and fair-trade coffee beans being produced each year.
- Peru’s coffee industry generates over 855, 000 jobs in otherwise remote, impoverished areas of the country.
- The US is the top market for Peruvian coffee, accounting for 24% of the total exports.
- Peru is still in the process of recovering from rust infestation that hit almost have of its coffee plantations in 2014.
- The government, through DEVIDA encourages coffee production as an alternative crop to coca leaf cultivation.
Peruvian coffee growing facts
- Coffee was first brought to Peru in the 1700s.
- It is one of the largest world’s producers of certified organic, Rainforest Alliance certified, and UTZ certified coffee. Visit the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM) to learn more about other certified producers of certified organic coffee.
- Farmers belong to local cooperatives which help their beans reach a larger audience and get much fairer prices for their beans. It is through these co-ops local farmers are able to demand a decent living and fair wage for their hard work.
- Peruvian coffee is pure of the Arabica type. 70%of which is Typica, and 20% is Carurra, with the remaining 10% spread across other varieties.
- The coffee is selected by hand, which can come the higher the elevation with a considerable amount of danger. To extract the pulp from the beans, the cherries are washed and then dried out in the sun. Usually, Peruvian coffee is processed dry, but there is also a small market for wet processing.
- International Coffee Organization (ICO) positions Peru as the 9th largest coffee producer in the world, with 223,902 families dedicated to the industry.
- Peruvian coffee tends to be medium body coffee. They are also mellow, pleasant with mild acidity. You cannot resist the rich sweetness this coffee offers.
- Peru’s coffee producing regions are Amazonas, Ayacucho, Cajamarca, Cusco, Huánuco, Junín, Pasco, Piura, Puno, and San Martín.
Major growing regions and their beans
Now let’s have a look at some of the major coffee-growing regions in Peru and beans that come from those regions. Ready to learn more?
- Capis Coffee
Have you ever heard about the animal poop coffee in Peru? If yes, that is another name for Capis coffee. The coatis are allowed to eat the fruits of coffee, and after a few hours (four to six), they defecate. The beans are then picked, washed, roasted, and grounded. All this result to expensive coffee loved by many people across the globe.
- Urubamba Beans
Urubamba beans are grown in the southern regions of the country near the famous locations of Machu Picchu and Cusco. These beans have an enchanting aroma, are smooth and wet-processed.
- Chanchamayo Beans
Grown on the eastern side of the imposing heights of Andes Mountains and the edge of the Amazon basin, these beans are light to medium body and mild to bright acidity. Compared to beans from other locations, Chanchamayo beans are the highest in quality and are often organic. In fact, a cup of Chanchamayo coffee carries both richer chocolate and nutty qualities as well as a bright, sweet, citrusy presence that is there from the first olfactory whiff to the final satisfying aftertaste.
- Quechua Coffee
Grown in Puno, Quechua coffee is one of the best coffees you will ever have. Its quality is excellent, and it has even won global awards like Global Specialty Coffee Expo in Seattle!
- Uchunari Coffee
Located in the forests near Pisac. Uchunari coffee is also known as the Peruvian poop coffee. But this coati poop is particularly sought after because it is the key to making Peruvian poop coffee. Some Peruvian coffee producers have turned to coatis to make a unique type of coffee. They attract a variety of wild animals when coffee cherries mature and turn red.
What does Peruvian coffee taste like?
Low-altitude farms in Peru, like those found around the town of Nambale near the border between Peru and Ecuador, tend to produce coffee with mild acidity, medium body, and smooth notes of nuts, flowers, and gentle fruit.
Once you go up into the Andes, including farms around Cusco and Machu Picchu, the coffee begins to feature a vivid acidity, colorful floral aromas, and a rich sweetness. These are more likely to be specialty beans, and those for which we are competing against other roasters.
Such two flavor profiles are quite popular, we also see a number of exceptional beans going beyond these generalizations. They seem to come out of nowhere, but if you look a little closer, the reason is clear: many farmers who were once constrained by poor infrastructure now have the ability to let their coffees shine for the international market. That’s fun for us, and we can’t wait to find more of these beans.
A good Chanchamayo’s taste is smooth and delicate, and very well balanced with nutty and chocolate tones and a sweet taste of citrus in both flavor and aroma as well as nice finish/aftertaste. The taste is sweet and smooth.
Is Peruvian coffee strong?
Due to its good yet understated nature, Peru is typically a mildly acidic coffee, light-bodied yet flavorful and aromatic. Peru is also widely used as a base for flavored coffees in dark roast blends.
Why drink coffee from Peru?
It’s always about the profile, and the same way that connoisseurs talk about wine is talked about coffee.
Peruvian coffee often has a medium body, a medium between watery and syrupy. Mexican coffee often has a light body for example, and is more watery due to the low altitude it grows at, while Sumatra coffee is known to have a heavy body, more syrupy mouthfeel due to the nutrients in the soil where it thrives.
Cuppers (professional coffee tasters) refer to Peruvian coffee with a mild acidity as aromatic and flavourful. That means a couple of things.
You’ll know when it the good stuff when you turn on the brewer and it starts heating up. If you prefer a brewing with Chemex or French press, when it’s ready to sip, you will be able to smell.
When a coffee is called “flavorful,” it does not apply to any kind of artificial additives or may even have a “burnt” or “non-burnt” flavor. It absorbs nutrients and minerals from the soil, depending on where coffee is produced, and they give the brew a natural flavor. In the case of Peru’s soil, your buds will pick up some chocolate and nutty notes, and even some citrus notes, not just during a hearty sip, but also in the smell and aftertaste.
How to buy the best Peruvian coffee beans
You can buy a bag of Peruvian coffee, but if it’s not the quality stuff, you won’t get the real sense of what drinking this delicious caffeinated beverage means.
So, make sure you buy 100% Arabica first and foremost. Robusta is used to make Vietnamese coffee. They really own their method of coffee making, which includes sweetened condensed milk, but using any other form of coffee preparation it won’t tickle your taste buds. What I’m saying is that robusta is gross, unless the circumstances are right. Make sure your bag is not cut with robusta, something many retailers are doing to reduce costs.
Most of Peru’s coffee is grown at least 1,200 meters above sea level, but better the higher. Most coffee is grown in the mountains of the Andes and Chanchamayo, with well-respected elevations and quality of production.
Best Peruvian coffees
- Tres Cumbres – Peru Coffee (Volcanica)
These medium roasted coffee beans are sourced from the Chanchamayo region and grown right on the sloped of the Andes. When brewed, they deliver a full-bodied coffee with light acidity and a bright finish.
- Cafe Tunki (Owens Coffee Roasters)
Another great Peruvian coffee to try is Café Tunki. It is a product of Owens Coffee Roasters, a UK based company. This single-origin coffee is grown in a farm that is organically certified and approved by the Rainforest Alliance. Its beans are dark roasted and exude a creamy, nutty flavor coupled with a velvety, chocolaty body, and citric acidity.
- Peru Coffee (Sweet Maria’s)
Looking forward to roasting some of the Peruvian coffee? Look no further because Sweet Maria’s green coffee beans are the best option. You can roast them to your satisfaction and remember they come and go with alarming speed. So be ready to shop immediately they are available in the market.
Roasting and brewing Peruvian coffee
There are two types of Peruvian coffee suitable for brewing coffee. That is medium roast and dark roast. Medium roast draws out the original toasted, grainy flavor of the beans while dark roast brings out the natural components of the flavor profile and the floral aroma.
Although not the largest producer of coffee in the world, Peru coffee is still one of the best organic coffee you will ever have. These medium roasted beans deliver a complex, full-bodied coffee with light acidity and a bright finish not offered by many coffees.