Origin Deep Dives: Peru
We've featured Peruvian coffees numerous times in The Roasters Pack, and we were thirsty to learn more about it! Let’s take a closer look at the famous coffee origin, and see how it all got started.
Coffee plants were first introduced to Peru in the mid-1700s, and production grew steadily over the next 150 years. Coffee beans very rarely made it outside of the country and what was grown was enjoyed almost exclusively within its borders. This changed drastically when the British seized large amounts of land to farm huge quantities in Peru as coffee rust disease had decimated crops in Indonesia, their former coffee supplier.
Part of the reason for this is coffee is a tricky crop to invest in. With the instability of the commodity market, farmers are unsure if coffee is the crop to rely on for providing a steady income for their families.
Over time, Britain slowly sold the land back to Peru to raise funds for both world wars, and then land was divided among the farmers. With the land once again belonging to the people and global demand still being high, many coffee farmers chose to focus on quantity over quality for much of the second half of the 20th century.
With specialty coffee growing year after year, farmers in traditionally high-volume countries like Peru are working to produce better coffees. They’re doing this by improving existing infrastructure and working with exporters to create the most progressive methods for farming they can.
The Terroir & Infrastructure
It doesn’t hurt that Peru is the second most biodiverse country in the world. The north of the country has arguably the best climate for coffee: ripening season, altitude, the type of soil, and the differentiation between daytime and nighttime temperatures. Basically, every factor that goes into coffee production is great, even the road infrastructure.
Aside from Peru’s amazing terroir, incentive-based pricing has already paid off for many farmers looking to increase both the quality of their coffees and secure better money for their livelihoods. In some countries where prices have not been attractive enough, the children of farmers choose to search for better opportunities in bigger cities nearby and do not continue the farms’ coffee production.
The infrastructure and support Peruvian farmers are now receiving through direct trade partnerships are showing that a good living can be made off of well-grown specialty coffee, and families can work together on planning even better and more stable futures.
Peruvian coffees are often clean and nutty, with hints of berry jams punctuating the brighter notes of the bean. They have mouth-filling, creamy bodies with a lasting, dry sweetness at the end, usually likened to a vanilla cake.