12 oz whole bean coffee
We roast to order on Mondays and Wednesdays and ship the following day. Orders will be included in a roast if they’re received by 5pm Eastern Time the day before.
Producer: Fabiana Dueñas Llacta
Cooperative: Valle Inca
Process: Washed, dried on raised beds
Variety: Typica, Pache
Tasting notes: Honey, raspberry, hibiscus, milk chocolate
Peru is one of our favorite origins, as much for the quality we see there today as the potential for tomorrow. This is a country that has long been passed over by specialty coffee buyers, partly due to overshadowing from its neighbors Brazil and Colombia, and partly due to the sheer remoteness of some of its best producers. Because of this access gap and a lack of investment in developing quality, coops were encouraged to seek Fair Trade and Organic certifications as a way to obtain modest pricing premiums, and so Peru has largely become known as a source of unremarkable FTO (Fair Trade Organic) blender coffees with only regional distinction. This is a shame for a country with such high potential: soaring altitudes, ideal climates, and heirloom plants of classic varieties such as Bourbon, Typica, and Caturra.
On the other hand, some folks are keen to the truth and are willing to put in the work to bring these coffees to life in the market. Our friend Aleco Chigounis, founder of Red Fox Coffee Merchants, has been on the ground for years, forging close bonds with cooperatives that have previously not had good and fair access to the specialty market for their best coffees. This kind of work often requires long and steep drives over the snow capped peaks of the Andes and down into remote villages, sketchy hikes on foot trails connecting small farm to small farm, and most importantly a commitment to be there year after year, negotiating fair and fixed prices for quality as dedicated producers redesign their practices and make incremental improvements. This past year we made one such journey with our partners at Red Fox, and were convinced of the impact of the work.
The Altiplano, or “high plain” in Spanish, is the Andean plateau, the roof of South America, and is a perfect metaphor for the way we view the potential of Peru. With Altiplano, we are seeking to create a consistent brand that stays on our menu for the entire Peru season, or about 6 months. This offers us an outlet for larger volumes of coffee from Peru as we increase our commitments to the development of this supply chain.
Throughout the season we will be rotating through different lots to highlight various coops and producers. The common thread will be immensely clean sweetness, balance, and roundness. This fifth and final iteration of the year is from Fabiana Dueñas Llacta, a producing member of the Valle Inca cooperative in Calca. We had a chance last year to visit the producers in this community and spend a few days with the coop leadership. We were floored by the dedication, enthusiasm, and hard work invested by everyone involved, and the high level of positive impact in the work. Special gratitude is given to the founder and leader of the coop, Prudencio Vargas Saenz, who might work harder for his membership than anyone works for anything. In the cup we taste honey, raspberry, hibiscus, milk chocolate, and a soft, silky mouthfeel.
This is our third year buying from Valle Inca. We wrote a forward contract with Red Fox Coffee Merchants to purchase 5 69kg bags from a single producer in Peru for a price of $3.75/lb EXW, on a day when the Coffee Commodity price was $0.96/lb. The FOB price paid for this coffee was $2.90/lb. An additional $.10/lb went directly to COVID-19 relief efforts in the producer community. Our friend Joel Edwards sent us a pre-ship sample of this lot to fill that contract, which we scored an 86.5. The total of our purchasing from Valle Inca for the season was 31 69kg bags, compared with 10 bags last year.
Click here for more information on the coffee supply chain.