PWA | Peru Cajamarca Walther Acuña
Balanced Profile | Light-medium roast
Tasting Notes: Floral, Red Grape, Milk Chocolate
IT ALL STARTS AT THE COFFEE FARM
Deep in the district of La Coipa, there are various coffee-producing villages dispersed throughout the mountainous lands. Angelita Lizana and her husband Walther Aquino Acuña Melendrez run two coffee farms in this area of Peru. These farms are located in the villages of Barro Negro and El Cautivo, around 1.5 hours from the Alpes Andinos association’s headquarters in Jaen, high in Peru’s Cajamarca department.
If Alpes Andinos sounds familar to you, it might be that you've tasted coffee from other members! We've roasted coffees grown by members of Alpes Andinos in the recent past, like Nancy Mendoza Arribasplata last March, and Milner Bermeo Cruz last April. Alpes Andinos has their own Instagram page - check out this short video with interviews (en Español) here.
Alpes Andinos faced many difficulties attempting to export their coffees last year due to COVID19, but they've recovered to offer some truly marvellous coffees. Thanks to the guidance from Alpes Andinos and the team, we are able to offer special coffees like this one, grown on the couple's two farms.
The first farm, El Mirador, was purchased in 2005, and was initially 1 hectare (~ 3 acres) of rich, forested land. The second farm, Los Cedros, was then purchased a couple years later in 2007, adding 1.5 hectares to Walther’s coffee land. El Mirador was translates to mean “the looker” due to the beautiful view of La Coipa village. Los Cedros, on the other hand, was named after the many cedar trees in the area.
Producers such as Angelita and Walther, who are members of the Alpes Andinos cooperative, receive a higher price for high quality coffees, and also have access to training sessions on topics such as how to make plots more productive. This drive to develop better coffee is promoted by Alpes Andinos, as they believe that producing great coffee quality leads to producer empowerment and wider benefits for all coffee families.
Alpes Andino's high level of organization and commitment to quality means that we have extremely detailed information on this coffee from seed to processing:
Farmers work in 15-year rotations, focusing on each coffee varietal individually. When a plant reaches the end of its 15-year life cycle, it will be dramatically cut back using the ‘Zoca’ practice: the tree is cut back to the stem just 30 centimeters from the ground, stimulating the emergence of new growth. In preparation for this event, trees of the same varietal are planted two years in advance, meaning there is an uninterrupted supply of mature cherry (aka coffee fruit!).
Soil analysis is regularly conducted with organic fertilizer applied in March and after the harvest in November. For fertilizer, producers in this region use a mix of compost and "guano de las Islas", which means "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 fertilizer.
Harvest in Barro Negro spans from June to October. Coffee processing techniques in the region are tried and tested methods of production, often passed down through the generations. The process begins with the cherries being selectively handpicked. They are then floated in cool, clean water to remove any low- density cherries: if a coffee cherry is lower density, it is lower quality, so these are removed (or else they would lower the overall quality of the coffee).
A typical harvest day starts at around 6 am and ends at 6 pm, with a 2-hour break between 12pm to 2pm. Once picked and floated, the cherries are placed into sacks with plastic liners to induce a dry fermentation for 24 hours. Next, the coffee is pulped (meaning the seed is removed from the fruit): each producer has their own de-pulper located on the farm, often close to the house or main building. Once the coffee has been de-pulped, the beans are placed into tanks and fermented again for around 48 hours, depending on the climate.
Coffee is a stone fruit, so even though much of the fruit is removed during the de-pulping process, there's still some fruit pulp and sticky sugar (known as mucilage) stuck to the seed afterwards. Picture eating a peach down to the pit - there's always be some pieces of fruit still stuck to it, right? So, once de-pulping is complete, the coffee is twice-washed using water from the nearby El Mirador Mountain to remove all remaining mucilage. Any excess water is drained, and finally the beans are placed on raised beds to dry. Here, the beans will remain for around 15-20 days, depending on how much it rains.
After making sure that the coffee is dry, the beans are stored in polypropylene bags to preserve their quality and avoid any contamination during storage or transport to Alpes Andinos' warehouse in Jaén. Once delivered to the warehouse, coffees are analyzed for quality, before being prepped for export.
All coffees the arrive at our roastery in Brooklyn have gone through a similar set of steps. It's amazing how many hands (and eyes! and brains!) have contributed to just one coffee lot. We're really excited to be able to showcase all of the work that goes into making this high quality, delicious lot.
Walther Aquino Acuña, Angelita Lizana
Bourbon, Pache, Yellow Caturra, Typica
DID YOU KNOW
Peru ranks 7th in the export of Arabica coffee in the world market.
Price paid by Driftaway
Fair Trade price per pound
Coffee C-Market price per pound
Driftaway's World Coffee Research contribution per pound
This coffee travelled 3,318 miles to the Driftaway Coffee roastery in Queens.
Love the coffee? You can share your compliments & tasting observations with the farmers.
WHY DID WE SELECT THIS COFFEE?
We are big fans of coffees from the Alpes Andinos cooperative, and have featured high quality, super dynamic coffees from several member-producers. This coffee is no exception, with a clarity of acidity, floral aromas, and flavors of red grapes and milk chocolate.
For this Balanced profile, we look for coffees that have crisp acidity and sweetness, and the bass notes that add balance (like milk chocolate, or caramel, or vanilla bean) are often aided by the roast level - just a little more developed than our light roast Fruity profile. For this coffee, however, our head roaster Ian landed on a roast profile on the lighter end of its Light-Medium designation, going as light as possible. He is able to do this and still achieve the flavors we want for this profile because this coffee has an amazing natural balance - it actually doesn't need more caramelization from roasting further to add balance to it.
AVERAGE CUPPING SCORE
SCAA Cupping Score
14 x 60 kg
Length of producer relationship
100% (in 2022)
Transparent coffees purchased
HOW DID WE ROAST THIS COFFEE?
This coffee is being roasted by Ian T. from 27th February to 23rd March in Brooklyn. We use the Loring Kestrel roaster for this profile. We have strict guidelines for each of the coffee profiles, and this roast has to pass the development time ratio test as measured in real-time by the roasting software, Cropster. Once it does, it is approved for production.
We perform Quality Control via a process of coffee tasting called cupping on all of our production roasts once a week from home as per our Covid-19 shelter in place guidelines. Each cupping is conducted by our roasting staff Kieran D. and Ian T. using standard equipment, and is logged by our Q-certified cupper Ian T. All coffees are evaluated on a scoring scale of 0 to 3.
- 3.0 = exceptional roast - exceeds expectations
- 2.5 = on par with profile - matches expectations
- 2.0 = good roast, but 1 or 2 elements could be improved - needs improvement
- 1.5 or lower = failed - do not ship
AT YOUR HOME
Brew this coffee with your favorite home brewer and enjoy the taste of incredible coffee! Here are a few tips on how to make the best coffee on each brewer.