Peru – Dalila Flores
Dalila Flores Venegas owns 2 hectares of land in el Diamante, San Jose de Lourdes, where she grows caturra and castillo varieties. Dalila picks her coffee with the help of family members before she pulps and ferments it in a small concrete tank. Once fermented the mucilage comes off easily and Dalila rinses the coffee then places it on tarpaulin mats to dry in the sun. Here it is allowed to dry slowly for 7 to 10 days. Once the coffee reaches 15% moisture Dalila then delivers it to Roger Chilcon, a neighbouring producer, who transports the coffee to Jaen where he dries it down to 11% before delivering to the Falcon Peru warehouse.
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 1600 to 2000masl. 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.
Our partner Falcon Coffees has been working in Northern Peru for several years, buying specialty coffee from cooperatives and associations with whom they have built lasting relationships. However they have struggled to impact upon that quality or make improvements in the supply chain that they would like and more importantly, the premiums paid for quality rarely made it back to producers. 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 Falcon decided to change the way they buy coffee in Peru and work directly with producers – allowing them to improve upon existing quality and have full financial traceability. Ensuring these two factors help us to pay higher prices for our coffees and to make sure that producers receive a fair price for the coffee they deliver.
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 un-associated – 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 is allowing Falcon to forge long term relationships directly with farmers, improve the coffee quality we can offer and increase producer household income through access to quality premiums. Falcon now has over 438 registered farmers across the San Ignacio and Jaen provinces and its own warehouse facility in the area.