Peru Coffee Competition – Concurso de Café de Calidad

El Concurso de Cafe de Calidad IV, Lima Peru 2008.

It sounds impressive but it is certainly a competition-in-progress, not a Cup of Excellence. Six International judges, 6 Catadores Peruano.

We had some fun, but never left Lima for the countryside, so it feels like a fairly unsatisfying origin trip. But we all came because we want to support the discovery of quality coffee from Peru. There is so much potential in Peru; great cultivar (Typica), incredible altitude, dedicated farmers.

One of the biggest issues is the coops, who wage fierce competition against each other and have not, as of yet, found a way to unite and support an all-Peru competition. The second issue is the farms in Villa Rica, different than the rest of the small-holder farms in the rest of Peru, these are large old-money plantations that do not share the same goals as much of the Peru industry.

The third issue is the lack of a strong, central coffee association that can bring all these varied members together. And perhaps the final issue is a warehouse and export trade, which is not very interested in small lots, not interested in working in a new way to help preserve coffee quality (new packaging methods, etc), and dominated by one company that handles 48% of Peru’s coffee.

So it is a tough situation, and ultimately the coffee industry in Peru fails to help the lowest links in the chain, the community coffee farmer, to get better prices for coffee cherry. Why? Because beyond Organic certifications, and beyond Fair Trade, there are the price benefits that comes from roasters and consumers who recognize better cup quality.

Holding a Peru Cup of Excellence would allow the quality of Peru coffee speak for itself, influence coffee buyers, and shift the perception of Peru coffee. It would also provide a new model for the correct harvesting, fermentation, drying, milling, sorting, warehousing and transporting of coffee.

I realize, I have some strong opinions about Peru coffee, about the problems here, and the way the coffee trade could change … but only because I see the great potential from what we cupped here at the competition, and in our innovative small lot purchases facilitated by KC O’Keefe, who now runs Cafe Verde in Lima.Here is a couple little movies I uploaded to YouTube. Then we can get into the pictures. Click on small images for the larger versions.

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