Carrier Roasting Co.

Peru Altiplano

$17

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.

Origin: Peru

Region: Puno

Province: Sandia Valley

Community: San Pedro de Putina Punco

Producer: Uldarina Herrera Flores

Altitude: 1800 - 2100 meters

Process: Washed, dried on raised beds

Variety: Bourbon

Tasting notes: White grape, milk chocolate, Meyer lemon, balanced 

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 somewhat generic FTO (Fair Trade Organic) blender coffees with only regional distinction. This is a shame for a country with such high potential for great quality: 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 friends at Red Fox Coffee Merchants have been on the ground for years, forging close bonds with cooperatives and communities that have previously not had good and fair access to the specialty market for their best coffees. They work closely with strong partners at origin, like Prudencio Vargas Saenz in Cusco and Tibed Yujra in Puno, to bring the best coffees to market and ensure the producers receive the full agreed upon price. This kind of work often requires long and steep drives over the snow capped peaks of the Andes and down into remote villages, tough hikes on foot trails connecting small farms, and most importantly a mutual commitment to work together year after year, negotiating fair and fixed prices for quality as dedicated producers retool their practices towards specialty production and make incremental improvements. We had an opportunity to visit some of these remote communities 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 coffee of Peru. With Altiplano, we are seeking to create a reliable 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 success of this supply chain.

Throughout the season we will be rotating through different lots to highlight various communities and producers. The common thread will be immensely clean sweetness, balance, and approachability. The first iteration of the year is from Uldarina Herrera Flores, a producing member of the San Pedro de Putina Punco community in the Sandia Valley of Puno, Peru. The coffees here are unlike those anywhere else in the country, with immensely sweet and sometimes floral cups that can at times be reminiscent of coffee from Ethiopia. With this coffee we taste white grape, milk chocolate, and Meyer lemon with tons of sweetness and perfect balance.

Transparency

This is our first year buying coffee from producers in Puno, and our fourth year working with Red Fox Coffee Merchants in Peru. We don’t buy a lot of “spot” coffee, but coffee from Puno is in limited supply and we jumped on an opportunity to pick some up when a small amount became available. We scored this coffee from Uldarina Herrera Flores an 86.5 and bought 5 69kg bags, paying a price of $3.95/lb EXW on a day when the Coffee Commodity price was $1.26/lb.

Click here for more information on the coffee supply chain.

Photo credit to Red Fox Coffee Merchants

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