There are few origins I have been more excited about lately than Peru. The reason is simply that it suits our preferences on quality, flavour profiles, and philosophy around sustainability. They have great washed coffees to offer, and the basic environment, elevation and climate is perfect for quality. Most coffee production is organic by default. Production is also focused on communities and cooperatives working in smaller groups. This means our impact is easy to measure.
If you’re looking for stable, clean and solid washed coffees in good volumes at a good price points, or complex, fruit driven, rich, floral and vibrant coffees for your espressos or filters, Peru should be something to check out.
We see Perus working in place of Central American Bourbons, as well as unique washed coffees from any place in South/Central America.
“Low prices” means lower than what you would have to pay for high commercials or specialty in other countries. It doesn’t mean we are not paying premiums. Every coffee we buy includes a premium to the producers above the general market price. This premium is paid through quality programs we have established in small communities, along with our export partners.
The pandemic is pushing Peru towards an economic crisis, and the cost of production for farmers has increased. Yet, also taking the currency exchange rate into consideration, the FOB prices are pretty similar to last year. There has been less coffee available in the market but reported better quality compared to the 2019 harvest. Internal pricing has been high, and maintained increases.
Coffees and concepts
We mainly work in Cajamarca, around Jaen and further up north in Peru, in altitudes between 1600 masl and 2200 masl. The standard Peruvian coffees are well known for being solid, balanced, slightly nutty and vegetal/herbal and perhaps, for some, a little boring. Our sourcing program is focused on differentiated coffees with more character and flavour. Plus, if you find something that works for you, we expect to be able to source the same profile year on year.
Tropiq quality control
We spend a lot of time calibrating with our suppliers. We begin by selecting the places and villages with the best environment and growing conditions aligned with our preferences. Then together we set the standards for cup qualities and physical parameters. Through cupping we are able to preselect coffees where we can guarantee the minimum cup scores, and we are very particular about the physical conditions, especially on humidity and water activity. We know some Peruvians tend to age fast, and we know we can increase shelf life if we control these parameters and ensure the coffees we buy are recently harvested. Through close dialogue with the suppliers we secure good conditions for warehousing, dry milling and export prep and we analyse and cup the coffees at every stage. All of this work means what you select should be what you get and there should be no issues with the coffee on arrival.
We only work with selected partners, organisations and suppliers who are fully price transparent, have a structure for producer premiums and ability to channel back second payments. They must also invest in creating a robust, traceable supply chain, and in building strong farming communities. Our selected partners have an ethical approach and a long term vision to develop quality. This way we are able to consistently buy from the same groups and areas year after year. We work with both cooperatives and private exporters, all of whom have good routines and protocols for physical quality measures, and Q Graders for cupping. Finally, we carefully select partners who have good warehousing conditions, and proper dry milling options for our coffees.
Coffee categories and quality
Tropiq offers three levels of coffee qualities:
- Tropiq Essentials
- Tropiq Select
- Tropiq Treasures.
Our current offering in Peru includes Tropiq Essentials and Tropiq Select. They can normally be mixed in one shipment. Read on for more detail.
Peru Essentials 84+:
These are regional coffees, traceable back to either comites (communal groups) or smaller cooperatives. This is our starting point for both quality and price. The producer receives a basic premium above the current local market price, and this price information is available to customers. All coffees are organic, and most of them are available as Fair Trade certified.
These are easy going, multi purpose coffees. The profile is balanced and clean, sweet, sometimes with subtle fruit and dark chocolate notes, with low to medium acidity levels.
Lots up to 275 bags. Minimum 100 bags per lot, shipment of 100 + 69 kg bags.
Starting at $2.40 USD/lb FOB
Peru Select 86+:
These coffees are specific to one comite (communal group), normally smaller groups of 10-20 growers in one village. They are all part of a program that aims to improve qualities farmer training and higher quality premiums. Hence both farmgate and FOB prices are higher. These coffees are carefully selected based on profiles.
We divide coffees into two profiles, “Fruta Madura” and “Floral.
The “Fruta Madura” profile is complex and rich with distinct mature fruit red fruit, sometimes leaning towards the fermenty end of the fruit spectrum, yet super clean and elegant.
The “Floral” profile is slimmer and delicate with more florals, tropical fruits and crisp acidity.
Lot sizes from 50 – 275 bags. Minimum 50 bags per lot, shipment of 100 x 69 kg bags.
Starting at 2.90 USD/lb.
It is still relatively early in the season for the areas where we source coffee, primarily in the north above altitudes of 1600 masl. So far they are about half way through the harvest, so we expect to see future lots of high quality coffee.