We’re starting 2024 as we mean to go on with a new True North coffee from the Chilcon Family in Peru.
Over the past few years the coffees we’ve sourced from Peru have been uniformly excellent. We love this example from the San Jose De Lourdes district, produced by the Chilcon Family and tasting distinctly sweet and caramel-y—it makes a perfect True North.
Peru is one of the world’s top ten coffee producers—number one when it comes to organic coffee—with smallholders making up the vast majority of growers. Nearly 225,000 families rely on coffee for the majority of their income.
For the first century after its introduction from Ecuador in the mid-18th century, coffee was grown primarily for domestic consumption. However exports began to grow towards the end of the century and when the Peruvian government defaulted on a loan to the British in the early 1900s it offered 2 million hectares of land as payment—much of which was promptly converted into coffee plantations which helped boost production.
Like with much of Latin America, coffee production in the early days was dominated by large landowners, although land reform and other changes in the mid-20th century shifted ownership towards smaller, often indigenous, farmers and their families.
Farm: Peru Chilcon Family
Producers: Roger Chilcon and his extended family
Altitude: 1900m to 200m above sea level
Variety: Caturra, Catimor
Process: Fully Washed
Region: El Diamante, San Jose de Lourdes
The Chilcon family owns 3 hectares of coffee plantations in the village of El Diamante, part of the San Jose de Lourdes district. The farms are all located higher than 1,900 meters above sea level, and the family cultivates both yellow and red varieties of caturra coffee trees.
While each member of the Chilcon family owns their own plot of land, Roger Chilcon manages the collective coffee operation for the whole family. This includes overseeing the harvesting, processing, and drying of the coffee cherries.
The Chilcon family farms are located in an area of El Diamante that preserves native forests, which provides a healthy environment for the coffee. The combination of high altitude, variety, and careful processing leads to a deliciously sweet and slightly fruity coffee. Plus, by collectively producing and delivering their microlots, the family is able to benefit from our importer partner Falcon’s quality incentives.
DID YOU KNOW?
★ Coffee plantations occupy as much as 40% of farmland nationally, and up to 70% of farms situated in the Peruvian highlands.
★ Peru is the world’s largest exporter of organic coffee, with roughly 90,000 hectares certified organic. In addition, a large portion of the country’s coffee is organic by default, which has been attributed to the number of smallholder farmers who lack the capital to invest in chemicals
★ Peru’s coffee farmers are overwhelmingly small-scale, with the average producer growing coffee on just under three acres. Cooperatives can help small farmers gain access to credit facilities and larger export markets