ELMER TINEO, PERU
Location: El Diamante, San Jose de Lourdes, San Ignacio province
Landed: December 2021
Altitude: 1,750 - 1,900 masl
Flavour profile: Cloudberry & muscatel
Category: Fruity & juicy
Elmer Tineo Mendoza owns 3 hectares of coffee farm in the El Diamante area of Jaén. Elmer and his son, Elvis, manage their farms together and between them have around 10 hectares dedicated to coffee production, which is a mix of Caturra, Catuai, Castillo and some small areas of Geisha and Maragogype, although these varieties are not yet producing much fruit.
Elmer's family pick ripe cherries which they deliver to the family home, where they share a small pulper and fermentation tank. This lot produced by Elmer is processed as a natural, first Elmer washes and floats the cherries to eliminate dirt and debris, such as stick and leaves, and separate floaters and unripe cherries that might have been picked by mistake. After that the coffee is moved directly to dry on raised beds sheltered underneath parabolic driers built on the farm, the cherries are lied down in layers of 3 to 5 cm and regularly turned to improve even drying.The lot is left to dry for around 24 to 28 days depending on weather conditions in El Diamante.
El Diamante is one of the closest coffee producing areas to the city of Jaen and therefore has a huge cooperative presence, at least in the lower elevations. We work with a couple of coffee producing families in El Diamante, who have farms from 1,600 to 2,000 masl. The main varieties grown in the medium altitudes is Catuai and Castillo, and at higher altitudes it is all Bourbon, Caturra and Typica. El Diamante is one of the few areas in Jaen to have protected forests, which are home to a variety of flora and fauna native to the region. Not only that, there are also many water sources that supply much of the water to the city. This thriving natural environment creates a beautiful setting to grow coffee, but also contributes to the richness and stability of the soils in the area. The cup profile of the coffees in this area is very distinct, with a heavily fruited cup and a pronounced acidity.
Falcon coffees have been working in Northern Peru for several years, buying specialty coffee from cooperatives and associations with whom they have built lasting relationships. Whilst a lot of the arrival quality they have seen in previous seasons has been good, they have struggled to impact upon that quality or make improvements in the supply chain as they would like. More importantly, the premiums they had been paying for quality rarely makes it directly back to producers, something they have had very little control over in previous years.
In Peru, like some other origins, coffee farmers are sensitive to market changes and often lack basic training and the incentive to produce higher qualities of coffee, as premiums often don’t materialise. For these reasons they decided they needed to change the way they buy coffee in Peru and work directly with producers, allowing them to control and improve upon existing quality and have full financial traceability. Ensuring these two factors would help Falcon to pay higher prices for the coffees and to make sure that producers received a fair price for the coffee they delivered Falcon, above the market price. In order to do this, Falcon set up a warehouse in Jaen and started to buy in parchment directly from producers.
The Cajamarca region holds a lot of potential for quality coffee, with ideal growing conditions and great varieties, but quality is often lost in picking, processing and drying, with producers lacking infrastructure and knowledge. The most vulnerable producers are those that are unassociated – those who aren’t members of a cooperative, association or organisation – and they represent 75% of producers in Northern Peru. These producers don’t have access to training sessions or premiums for quality or certifications, and their income is totally dependent on the market price.
Often, local aggregators – a buyer who lives in the same area – will come to the farm or house of a producer and buy their coffee for cash before selling it on; in some cases, directly to an exporter or more often to other traders and middlemen. This results in the producer being paid very little for their coffee and a lot of quality coffee is lost. This shift in approach to sourcing will allow Falcon to forge long term relationships directly with farmers, improve the coffee quality they can offer from these areas and increase producer household income through access to quality premiums. Falcon now have over 438 registered farmers across the San Ignacio and Jaen provinces.
(In partnership with Falcon Coffees)