Sweet Maria's Home Coffee Roasting

Peru Travels 2006

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Farm implements of some kind...
My new best friend at Canelon Cooperative. I would take his picture and show it to him and his mother. They thought it was hillarious ...
.... so he got his friend involved in the game
And this one we will call no-smilum because she had this look no matter what you tied to do to amuse her.
They still had some parchment around that they were hand sorting, even though the season was a bit late.
My new best friend followed me over when I was checking out their hand pulped (quite dirty, but they were using it that day...) and we had this photo op. together.
Nobody would quite name this tree. It's not grenada or maracuya or papaya. Actually they called it Papaya de la Bosque - forest papaya.
The fruit wasn't that great but the blossoms had a fantastic aroma
Traditional thatched storage structure in Cusco
My little buddy. He thought he was a real "Perro Bravo" but would run insde the house as soon as you moved toward him.
Typical trees at Canelon, with good spacing and shade, Typica Cultivar
Another dirty pulper. Producers need to remember that too much microbe for fermenation is not a good thing. You don't want sterile or you can't get fermentation going, but scum is not necessary either (well, the chickens like it)
Typical toilet. Nice, eh?
A good use for your old tires.
KC talks about the trasparent, open pricing structure based on cupping scores that he is going to put forward - this way everyone knows how cup quality affects price, and the reward for better farming, cherry selection, drying, etc. I am very excited about the idea, and even the lowest premium is above Fair Trade prices (which the farmer usually doesn't even know ... another issue to get into later)
Another new friend at Canelon, her shy brother hiding back behind her...
Or maybe he was just protecting his food!
Next day we headed off to Quillabamba, which is a real coffee trading and commercial center for quite a large are of Cusco. This Hostal Don Carlos was very nice...
But I am not so sure about their "Moron Soup." It was an old hotel that had a very funky 1970s remodel ...
check out the crazy concrete bar chairs.
Capacy is one of the smaller associations in Quillabamba. The largest is Cocla, but the politics involved can lead to problems. Associations are not-for-profit. Cooperatives can make a profit, and force their members to sell to them as a condition of membership. Association members have a choice to seek a better price elsewhere.
We went over to the Capacy Association in Quillabamba to participate in a group meeting and to show them the cupping process. Each group of farmers that belongs sent a representative, and many had never met a roaster before, and had no idea where their coffee goes and how it is sold. They have this 3 barrel Peruvian-made sample roaster.
Which scorches coffee fairly easily but works okay ...
The sample miller at Capacy to remove small amounts of green coffee from the parchment layer. That's Ernesto in the background and his father in the foreground.
Ernesto shows up something so unique about Capacy and the way KC is working with them: total transparency. Here all the scores for the coffee lots are listed. If a coffee scores below 80, it is sold off immediately to another coop like Cocla, and ends up in Organic Peru coffee brokered throughout the US. If it is above 80 it receives a special premium to go into a blend called Selvanica. If it gets to 84 it goes into a blend called Inkaico and earns even more for the farmer (all prices paid are public and listed). Above that it is Cafe Especial and people like me get samples to cup. We pay premiums that double and triple the price to the farmer as a quality reward, and again all this is transparent and open for all to see.
The top scoring coffees. Sadly, there are times where a farmer WANTS their coffee to score low because they need immediate payment, even if it is 25% less than if they waited. This is a probelm we are trying to solve, faster payment for the high quality lots. But since the exact price for the top tier is somewhat dependent on the buyer, a buyer needs to be determined. For example, I pay more for an 87+ coffee than an 85-86, but can't buy every lot over 85 ... and also I need to receive a sample and verify. The purchase is contingent entirely on how I score the coffee ... they are use their cupping scores to identify possible top-tier micro-lots. So the system is not perfect yet, but has the foundation of a very good concept using cupping scores, quality tiers and total transparaency from farm to buyer.
All of this system is based on cupping, and all cupping is public and records of the mill are kept. Here KC holds the cupping forms from the. mill (using Cup of Excellence forms)
Bags at the warehouse that attained high scores are marked and separated.
The offices at Capacy become part of the warehouse when the coffee lots come in.
My favorite dude, peering through the window...
First thing I saw when I came in was the skull. Everyone thinks it's a hoot, their mascot I guess. I dunno. But here's my favorite dude again, who is the nighttime security guy, and always seems to have the exact same expression... my favorite photo.
a closeup.
A group of representative members at Capacy were assembled and we showed them a bit about cupping.
Cupping demonstration
They were very interested, and a lot of questions ensued ... although in this picture they all look either bored or a little revolted (which I understand, cupping sounds awful and is indeed a bit gross).
The model of how Capacy works with Jungle Tech and buyers such as Yuko (Times Club), Intelligentsia, Counter Culture, Sweet Maria's , etc.
KC gave a fantastic lecture to producers about the most imortant factors of coffee production 1. Nutricion - Nutrition for the tree (compost etc) 2. Cosecha Selectiva - Selective picking of ripe cherry 3. Beneficio Higenico - a clean pulper and washing station 4. Secado Adecuado - Adequate drying to 12% ... often coffee is only dried to 25% 5. Almacen Limpio - clean bags, clean storage, clean warehousing.
The whole group at Capacy that day.
We headed out to visit a cooperative that I have interest in, based on cupping samples: Las Delicias. They are about 1.5 hours out of Quillabamba, probably 20 minutes as the crow flies but that's not how things work here. Plus this Semi was stuck at a turn in the road crossing a creek - took a while for them to figure that out.
I do like the inorganic trashcan, in a town, along the way.
This is Las Delicias from afar, the little white buildings there. It is in a sort of box-ended valley with a very wet micro-climate compared to the area around it.
A small chapel and cemetery marks the entrance to Delicias
Cemetery with a view
Cereza Roseado - multicolored coffee cherry, probably due to lack of rain. It's not necesarily a good or bad thing... but nice colors.
This is the new leaf of the Typica in Bolivia, bronze leaf. And yet I also saw green leaf Typica - there are variations.
On the same plot at Las Delicias, we found Maragogype! A real surprise to me, since I have never heard of Peru Marago and seedstock is spread here simply by asking a neighbor for some ... nobody goes and to buy special seed stock.
This is Zenon Huaman Vargas, the farmer I came to see, since I rated his coffee higher than any other lot. On the way to his plot, a bit higher than the rest (around 1900 meters) is a beautiful groundcover of Impatiens. They are basically a weed in Central and South America whereas we in the North treasure them for flower beds. Anyway, they help to prevent soil loss on the steep slopes, so are not unwelcome.
We stopped to have a big debate by this tree, whether it was Bourbon cultivar or not, based on the upward branch structure and nodes. Distinguishing cultivars can be very difficult... but he feels sure there are both Bourbon and Typica on his plot, and basically I agree. Either way, both are good old, established cultivars.
Because of the very high altitude and moist microclimate at Las Delicias, many of the trees were in different stages. Here we have some beautiful coffee flowers, perhaps 1 or 2 days old.
Another "socio" (member) of the Las Delicias group with a heavily laden tree. With the fruit so tightly packed along the branch I might question myself, but the open form makes me sure it is Typica. However, this cherry is out of season and will be strip picked to remove it and allow for new production. At lower altitudes, more attention would need to be paid to this task, but up here at 1900 meters, if broca is present (it is) it simply won't spread ... it's just not active up here. So in a sense, altitude is an antidote to the Broca
Beautiful Impatiens ... I couldn't resist the photo.
Coffee and mountain tops across the valley at Las Delicias, Yanitile valley, near Quillabamba, Cusco, Peru.
Moveable drying screens like this are a great idea. All coffee is sun dried, and even a small rain storm can ruin it. Better than this, is to use the moveable screens underneath plastic covering, something ICS Peru promotes as Solar Tarps. That increases drying times, which should be 5-7 days to 12% moisture content. Coffee in Peru often takes 15-20 days or more to dry down to 25%, when the farmer sells it to the coop, a very bad practice. Zenon Humans coffee is dry in 6 days, he tells me.
Hooray! The first clean pulpadora - pulper, that I saw in all Peru! Right next to the pulper are 2 compost beds which use the red worm to speed organic breakdown ... so he has made it very convenient for himself to keep the pulper clean. By the way we call it a pulper, or peeler - it simply removes the skin from coffee, leaving the slick mucilage fruit layer, with parchment layer underneath, and green bean protected inside that.
And here it is! Pulp, the skin of coffee cherries, the top layer of the Huaman family compost pile.
Zenon Huaman demonstrates how they move the cherry along the washing channel ... if their happened to be processing going on at this time. His little micro-mill was totally clean, in good repair, without cracks ... very nice.
They also use large tarps on the drying patio so they can move the coffee quickly under the awning (in the background) if it rains. This is good, but I think I will propose a solar tarp project over the patio, and raised drying beds which would be the best.
We were losing light at this point, but all around the Huaman family patio was beautiful plantings. They clearly put a lot of care into this place.
Zenon's father with a traditional Peruano coffee roaster bowl. I apologize because I am terrible remembering names, wrote each person's name in my little Peru notebook, and lost it on the flight home :-(

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