This month’s coffee subscription is a very interesting coffee from Peru and gives us the opportunity to discuss varietals. We don’t often pick up on this aspect of coffee but the varietal, or type of coffee plant grown, can have a profound impact on the cup.
The varietals in this month’s coffee are both prized by the specialty industry. Geisha is arguably one of the most well known varietals with these coffees often breaking records for the most expensive coffees. Originally from Ethiopia, it wasn’t until this varietal was transplanted to Panama that things got really exciting. The climate and growing conditions elevated this varietal to new heights and since then other countries have been trying to grab some of the limelight. Bourbon varietals are the mainstay of the specialty coffee industry and you will often see them used.
Geisha varietal have a very distinctive floral, jasmine flavour and that is very evident in this particular coffee. Bourbon varietals are known for their sweetness, which again is very evident in the cup, particularly as it cools; we think sticky honey. The natural processing adds a further dimension, elevating that mid range cherry tone.
Carloman’s farm is located in the town of Gracias a Dios in the department of Amazonas, high in Peru’s Cajamarca department.
Carloman lives in the village Gracias a Dios in the district of Lonya Grande and is skilled with the cultivation and production of coffee. In addition to growing coffee, he also raises cattle to diversify his income.
Harvesting & Processing
Carloman’s harvest spans from May to October. Coffee processing techniques in the region are tried and tested methods of production, often passed down through the generations. This lot begins with the cherries being selectively handpicked, before being floated in cool clean water to remove any low-density cherries. Once the coffee is washed and sorted, he leaves the cherries in a tank of water for 8 hours and waits until the water is complete drained. The cherries are then fermented in another tank for an additional 72 hours to breakdown the exterior pulp.
The coffee is moved to a solar dryer where it dries until the moisture content reaches 11%, which can take 20 – 25 days. He carefully moves the coffee every two hours for 4 days and then every 4 hours until completely dried. This helps promote an even drying and prevent the spread of mould. As soon as both lots are dried, they are sent to the mill in Jaen to be hulled and rested prior to export. Carloman uses a digital hygrometer to manage fermentation and drying – this dedication to perfection is evident in the final cup quality.
Social & Environmental Responsibility
The farm’s name, Guardian del Bosque, means ‘Guardian of the Forest,’ and was deemed so because Carloman protects a portion of his land as native forests to preserve flora and fauna.
Some of the most difficult challenges on his farm are the torrential rains that can cause landslides on the steep slopes within the Amazonas region. Strategic planting and intercropping help ameliorate these threats.
For fertiliser, Carloman uses a mixture of compost and ‘guano de las Islas’, meaning guano from the islands. Located just off the coast of Peru are a collection of small islands, home to large sea bird populations. These birds produce large amounts of excrement, or, guano, which settles on the ground as a nutrient-rich top layer. Guano is collected on the island and transported to the mainland to be used as a fertiliser.