An exquisitely processed bourbon from a super high elevation farm in Peru’s Cusco region, specifically the small town of Huaynapata in the Yanatile district of Calca, this coffee from Miranda Huaman Gregoria is delivering an elegant balance of fruity, floral and herbal characteristics.
Miranda Huaman Gregoria has been working in coffee for 33 years, the last 5 of which has been in partnership with the Valle Inca Association, headed up by José Prundencio. She is tending to bourbon coffee trees on her 5-hectare farm, Mesapata, which are between 6 and 10 years old. Being situated at 2,000 metres above sea level means that both Broca (coffee borer beetle) and Roya (coffee leaf rust) aren’t really an issue for her.
Miranda has planted Pacay trees on her farm, to provide shade for the coffee plants as well as to encourage biodiversity. As well as coffee she is producing small peppers known locally as Rocoto. The coffee plants are nourished with a homemade compost, composed primarily of spent coffee pulp and bird poo.
After the coffee cherries are fully ripened and harvested Miranda uses a manually cranked depulper to remove the cherry skins before sealing the mucilage covered parchment coffee in barrels with an airlock system to ferment and break down for up to 39 hours. We’ve seen producers and exporters describe this kind of processing method as ‘Anaerobic Fermentation’, which is terminology we’re not entirely comfortable with using ourselves.
What matters to us is that it allows Miranda to process her coffee in a consistent and controlled manner which delivers positive results and is hopefully repeatable from season to season. After fermenting the coffee, it is fully washed in clean water, which is then treated in wells, before the parchment coffee is placed onto raised beds in a parabolic dried to slowly dry down to a stable moisture content over around 18 days.
In 2018, our first year buying coffee through Valle Inca, the group had around 100 members, a number which has almost doubled in 2019. This is predominantly thanks to word of mouth, with producers telling their neighbours of the premium prices that they were able to receive, having been able to access a more discerning coffee market through the association.
All the members are working organically and are certified as such via the Valle Inca group. For a member to join, there needs to be a baseline of quality met, dictated in part by altitude and the type of varieties planted, but ultimately it is down to the desire of each member to improve their quality through hard work. The group provide agronomical advice and training as well as pre-financing, so the farmer members are supported in multiple ways.
When we cupped with the president of the association, José Prudencio, and his team at their lab in Calca during our last visit we tasted some really interesting small lots which we didn’t want to pass up on. This year, through our partnership with Promoting Peru, we were able to assess many samples once again, and found that this coffee from Miranda was uniquely floral, herbal and delicate. Whilst unable to travel we were able to learn all about Miranda’s farm and production methods via Promoting Peru and José Prudencio at Valle Inca.
Huaynapata, Yanatile, Calca, Cusco, Peru
Gentle orange acidity runs through a highly sweet, caramelly cup. Honeysuckle & butterscotch flavours underpin fruity notes of mangosteens & greengages.