Sweet Maria's Home Coffee Roasting

Peru Travels 2006

Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7
She was...
One of the daughters of Juan still at home. One is in Collegio (High School) in Quillabamba, living with an aunt. 2 more are in a part time boarding school; 15 days away, 15 at home. One daughter and a son are at home. It's hard in farm life to keep the kids in school, one reason a guy like this benefits so much from better coffee prices. (By the way, we are buying a micro lot this year at 100% over the market rate and more than 50% more than fair trade price).
Don't tread on me - she was trying to keep the mama dog from barking at us - really she wasn't stepping that hard on her, it just looks that way!
Still abundant cherry on the tree at Juan's little farm. Higher altitude ripens much later, so all the lower coffee trees are totally clean at this point. Juan still has some picking he can do, although the flowers buds are also on the tree, waiting the rains to make them bloom.
A bit dusty, but still tres magnifique. 95% of his trees are the traditional Typica, green leaf type. This is one of the huge advantages Peru possess: good cultivar, despite all the problems.
...Note the circular mark at the end of each cherry is where the blossom fell (finally) as the cherry ripened. Again ripening takes a very long time, like 7-8 months!
New coffee cherry ... on some trees he has had the new flowering and cherry is forming for next year's crop, which will ripen next May or so.
I like this photo because you see the budding process. The flower is a candle-like vertical bud that only takes a couple weeks to bloom ... it is stimulated to bloom by the first rains, and often comes like clockwork 24-36 hours after a good even rain. The bloom lasts only a few days on the trees, withers but doesn't always fall. If it doesn't get intensely dry in that span, the bloom should result in a cherry. So here you see a green cherry forming for next year's crop with the dried blossom still on the end.
Hmmm. Juan needs to clean his pulper. He might have just run a batch but it is better to get the peeled coffee cherry skin to the compost, and clean the machine up at least 2-3 times a week during production.
La Chancha de Juan. Just liked this picture a lot.
This kind of multicolored cherry is very pretty, but hints at the dryness of the season. I am not sure if it affects quality, but the red cherry we are seeing remaining on Juan's trees are really tails ends ... all his "real" coffee has been picked and exported, and the ripening remainders are probably going to end up just for personal use.
Juan's daughter Sally followed us, shyly, but I knew she wanted to see some photos herself (A nice advantage of a digital camera, sharing pictures right away). I would show her the photo and she would get all embarrassed and run off.
Some nice ground cover among the trees. Juan has organic certification, and allows for a lot of debris on the ground and plants to help fix the soil and prevent soil loss on the steep slope that is his farm.
We came upon this very large (with legs, 4-5 inch diameter) spider among his trees. Robert Rice emailed to say it is a Golden Silk spider (nephila clavipes). It is venomous - but only deadly to the bugs it eats - but not enough to take down a human - even if you stumble into its web.
I am not arachniphobic, but with a few of these around I could become that way quickly!
Another blight here is Ojo de Gallo - Rooster's Eye or Cock Eye whichever way you see it. This can be controlled with el pulado - cutting out damaged sections (without harming the tree) and by managing shade trees more carefully. It does not directly affect coffee cup quality, although it affects production.
Perhaps the stupidest picture of me ever. Anyway, that is Typica, notice the distant cherry cluster spacing.
Juan's farm shows (to me) what Organic is about. It's full of life. Organic is no cure (many organic farms have fecal water running through them, contaminating the processing and trees ... I saw it later this same day with my own two eyes!) But there's just so much life here. Unfortunately there were also tons of biting flies, the same that chewed me up in Bolivia last time I was there ...
This picture (actually from the next day), shows some of the results. So people beware - cover up when you go to the coffee lands of Bolivia and Cusco. I guess I just have good RDA-enriched blood or something.
A more unwelcome pest, the coffee boring insect Broca. Here we find them in old coffee still on the tree, which is why a good practice is for farmers to simply strip-pick the trees after the last salable harvest is done, and to clean up all cherries off the ground. In most regions with reasonable altitude, this is enough to keep the Broca population in check.
Anyhow, I was hearing the Cicadae, called Cigarra here, then found an abandoned shell ...
A lovable face? Not sure...
when out of a tree I felt something wet bounce off me and there at my feet it was!
Look who made it back from the bean farm ... John of God, with Ernesto who is president of the Capacy Cooperative.
Juan explained many of his practices here, and that the farm has a 40 year history. He actually does have some Catimor trees since they were being pushed by the government 10 years back so we went further down the hill to check them out
The feet of God, or Juan de Dios Villa Vincenza in this case, crusted with the soil that is his daily life. I don't think those suckers get cleaned too often. What's the point? Know how many pairs of shoes I have ruined digging trenches in my backyard this year? I would have been better off Juan-style, until I spaded my toes at least.
Juan's Catimor was beautiful - the cherry was huge and had a very juicy flavor. Yes, I suggested when it comes time to replace he think about using local Typica. But I didn't need to say anything. He already knew that.
And notice how I take cherry home to grow my own plants, part of my now rather extensive collection of coffee plant material.
Before anyone starts getting all righteous about Catimor, I ask them if they have cupped it. Usually no, and I suspect those who have would have trouble picking it out of a lineup of coffees. I am as against this high-yield, hearty cultivar as the next guy, but look at the farmer's point of view. It's dumb to have roasters go to origin as missionaries with an orthodox prescription for quality: we need to be open minded and cup! I have found catimor between 3-6 years old with good cup quality! But the plant implodes - it burns itself out (I believe.) Here you can see the abundant closely spaced cherry on a branch.
And lastly there is coffee rust. Poor Juan, he has like a display farm for coffee infirmity. Nonetheless, the cultivar Catimor was the botanists' answer for preventing coffee rust, and yet Typica simply adapted by itself. With good pruning and the adapted Typica, you can prevent rust on Typica ... so Catimor was an overreaction to the rust problem.
Now there's something that's a bit more difficult to get all misty-eyed about!
Not a pet, a food. There were about 30 running around his kitchen, and here they are a treat, called Cuy. I had Cuy as a child so just couldn't bring myself to eat them.
As we leave, more decor on the house of the Villa Vincezo family.
The money shot. It gets nippy there and I brought down some hats for friends, but I still felt like, for .02 seconds there (well, and every time I see this picture) a crass marketer of some kind. I hate when people go down and take pictures of themselves with kids. Then again, I bet there are some days this year that hat will keep a head warm (we used them going over the pass to Urabamba ourselves). And I DO want Juan to remember me because I want him to prepare some nice coffee for us next year.
A short hop away from Tunquimayo in the Yanitile area is Canelon, a nice cooperative of like 20 small producers.
Off Peru are Guano-rich islands so this is a great source for potent fertilizer for organic coffee farming.
Remnant of the harvest: here we see open tarp drying on the ground ... in no way ideal, of various types.
Ah, I think I found it, high-quality Sweet Maria's brand coffee!
Here is a good example of rustic pulped coffee. Yes, it was depulped of its skin, but much skin and mucilage remains. Chances are it was overripe and under ripe, and wasn't properly fermented to break down and wash off the mucilage layer. Done well, this can be a good style of coffee, but this parchment has no hope of being good.
And this is wet-processed parchment. It's not the best quality, but this coffee was de pulped, fermented (I was told it requires 20 hours at this altitude and climate, washed and laid out to dry. Drying coffee like this in Peru is something we want to change since sudden rain showers ruin coffee flavor. By introducing plastic solar tarps that go over raised drying beds, a bit like a modern dome-roofed greenhouse but open on the ends, this will keep coffee safe from showers, allow for more heat buildup, and air movement around the coffee.
Farmers of the Canelon Cooperative
Here is full natural coffee, cherries (that probably dried right on the tree) laid out on the tarp to dry. When we find them in coffee we call them pods. Then in one step you pull off the dried peel and parchment, revealing the 2 green beans. All defect sorting is then visual, since it was never floated through channels to find beans without density, nor run through a criba to remove underripes.
Another nice view of some fairly nasty looking coffee being dry-processed.
Edith's Room
Let sleeping pigs lie. This place is teeming with life and nobody who works here is going to starve... but it is money for development they need and coffee is their cash crop.
Unfortunately, some people are idiots. It's not just me that think so - cooperative members were pissed when this neighbor cleared land used for growing Yucca, the fire spread uncontrolled, and burned down their coffee nursery and a coop member's home!
Juan (another Juan) with the nursery plants, all burned.
Lunch for the coffee pickers.
Coop members taking a break from harvesting a plot. Dogs were being no help at all.
Most of what they were harvesting were ripe-to-over ripe ... not the peak of harvest but the very tail end. Notice the dried rainsiny beans.
The wife of Tomas Ovalle, one of the "socios" in the coop, explains their plot.
Look, a Sweet Maria's shirt. Free advertising. Thanks KC
Neo-traditional Andean fashion...
Ernesto is the president of Capacy Cooperative, who handles the Canelon coffee that KC then exports using his company, Jungle-Tech
Vanilla? Well, no, but the smell was incredible. This raggy, weedy flower head smelled like a very enticing fresh vanilla
In Yellow Caturra, cherry is yellow, not red, when it attains ripeness and is a good quality, citrusy cultivar in the cup.
I was surprised to find that the Ovalle plot had quite a bit of Yellow Caturra.
An above average rural Cusco home, all adobe.
Proving that there is 2000 meter coffee in Cusco.

Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7