Peru shares borders with Ecuador and Colombia to the North, Brazil to the East and Chile to the South. To the West lies the vast expanse of the Pacific Ocean. The name ‘Peru’ derives from a Quecha Indian word meaning ‘land of abundance’ an accurate characterisation owing to its varied and unique topographies, and to the unmistakable Andes mountain range that rises out of the middle of Peru like a spine down the middle of the country.
Coffee first arrived in Peru sometime in the 18th century but not was exported commercially until the late 1800s. Like many Latin American countries Peru’s history in coffee was influenced by European interests. Coffee production was fully established in the early 20th century when the country defaulted on an international loan and in settlment, the government was forced to grant 2 million hectares of land to the British government, which was used to cultivate coffee. Although coffee production started with large-scale farms, production shifted towards smaller producers as the industry developed, with the successful introduction of cooperatives.
|Annual production:||4.1 million bags|
|Altitude range:||900 - 2000 masl|
|No coffee farmers:||220,000|
|Harvest times:||June - September|
|Key growing regions:||Cajamarca, Cusco, San Martin, Amazonas, Ayacucho and Junín|
|Typical varieties:||Typica, Caturra, Bourbon, Mundo Novo, Catuai and Pache|
|Grading system:||Sorted by altitude; SHB (Strictly Hard Bean) 1300masl and above, and HB (Hard Bean)|
With a focus on certification, Peru is today one of highest producers of Arabica coffee worldwide, much of which is Organic, Fairtrade and Ranforest Alliance Certified. The original coffee planted in Peru was of the Typica variety and this still contributes to around 70% of today’s production of Arabica. The remaining coffee consists of Caturra, Pache, Catuai, Mundo Novo and Bourbon varieties. Coffee is grown predominantly on the Eastern slopes of the Andes in the areas of Cajamarca, the Amazonas and San Martin in the North, Junin in Central and around the southern highlands of Cusco, Puno and Ayacucho. Most coffee in Peru is produced by over 220,000 smallholder families with little more than 2-3 hectares of land. Coffee is mostly shade grown, which promotes healthier environments, prevents soil erosion and creates more resilient nutrient cycles, essential to the Organic growing culture.
Due to high humidity and unpredictable rainfall coffee in Peru is Washed, or Wet Processed, on hand pulpers at micro-mills, either on the farm or in local communities, and delivered to cooperatives or buyers in nearby towns. Organisations such as Cenfrocafe provide additional technical assistance, agronomical support, access to finance and training to smallholder producers, which is bolstering the strength of Peru’s coffee communities.