Coffee 101: Coffee Origins – Peru
Located in Western South America, Peru often gets lost in the shuffle when people discuss coffee origin, but it was actually one of the first countries in the Americas to be introduced to the crop.
With a highly diverse climate that swings from tropical temps in the east to the dry desert conditions of the west, as well as high elevations provided by the Andes mountains that cut through the country, Peru provides optimal conditions for coffee production. And, in fact, Arabica beans are grown in most of the country – from the peaks to the coasts to the jungle.
A Brief History
Coffee arrived in Peru in the mid-18th century, well before other countries in Central America, despite their proximity to the Caribbean.
Throughout the 1800s, production steadily grew, though not much was exported.
In [year], disease hit Indonesia, wiping out Asia’s coffee industry, and causing European buyers to turn elsewhere. As a result, swift expansion began in the early 20th century, and coffee soon became 60% of the country’s exports.
With the arrival of World War II, England – which had previously accepted a swath of land as payment for loans – sold its Peruvian interests back to the farmers, who were ill-equipped to maintain it.
The farmers now had more land but lacked the infrastructure to keep up with demand. Poor roads, isolation, and an unorganized trading system caused a rift between farmers and their crop, as coffee changed hands multiple times on the journey to export.
Many of these issues still continue to this day.
More recently, a rust infestation struck in 2014, impacting nearly half of the country’s coffee producing farms. And yet, they’ve continued to rebuild, undeterred. It is this commitment – as well as the involvement of local co-ops – that has positioned Peru as the 9th largest coffee producer worldwide, and the second highest exporter of Fair Trade coffee, after Mexico.
Peruvian Coffee at a Glance
Peru is home to approximately 110,000 farmers, mostly indigenous, who speak Spanish as a second language.
Almost 30% of the country’s farms are owned by local co-ops, which help to facilitate better pay for the rural farmers.
Harvest takes place from September to June, with the two largest producing regions being Urubamba in the south, near Cusco and the ancient city of Machu Picchu, and Chanchamayo on the eastern side of the Andes, not far from Lima.
• Urubamba: Largely wet-processed, the coffee produced here is smooth with a wonderful aroma and mild acidity.
• Chanchamayo: Considered one of the best the country has to offer, this coffee has a refined taste, and is described as being medium body with a bright acidity with notes of chocolate, nuts, and fruit.
Now that you have learned more about Peru, grab a bag to try today!