We’re always impressed by the sweetness, structure and overall performance of the high-quality outturns from members of the Valle Inca Association in Cusco, Peru. Here we have combined Bourbon, Typica and Caturra selections from several producers, representing the best of what the group are doing to elevate the perception of coffees coming out of the Cusco region of Peru.
We’re featuring four lots in our ‘Valle Inca’ espresso roast, featuring some of favourite producers from the group including Juan José Huillca Singuña at Altos Cedruyoc and Rafael Tupayupanqui Vargas at Finca Infalme. The farmers are following agronomical advice from the group, and working in an ecologically holistic fashion. Farms have Pacay trees planted for shade and to encourage biodiversity.
There are many secondary food crops including Rocoto peppers, chirimoyas, oranges, avocadoes and limes. The most common method for nourishing the coffee trees is to apply a homemade compost, composed primarily of spent coffee pulp and bird poo. Some of the farmers are working to ensure moisture is kept in the soil if they are in a more arid area, whereas those for whom there is excess humidity are pruning back the lower growth on their coffee trees to promote adequate ventilation.
Coffees are harvested by hand and floated to remove underripes before they are fed through a manually cranked depulper. Coffee cherry skins are removed during a sieving stage before the clean parchment is placed into GrainPro sacks before being sealed into plastic barrels fitted with a carboy style airlock.
After a period between 20 and 40 hours has passed the native microbiome has broken down the mucilage surrounding the coffee’s parchment layer and is ready to be washed off. Valle Inca have funded the building of drying infastructures at many of their members’ farms, and these allow the lots to be dried in ventilated secadores on raised beds, which we are confident is adding to the stability, uniformity and reliability of their producers’ coffees.
In 2018, our first year buying coffee through Valle Inca, the group had around 100 members. 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, the group now works with around 300 producers in the Cusco region and have recently expanded their operations to include Puno.
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. Several of their members reliably place well in Peru’s Cup of Excellence competition.
Calca, Cusco, Peru
Warming & generous, look for soft fruit flavours of apricot & dried fig. A fudgy sweetness like candied pecans & toasted marshmallow precedes a buttery finish.