Good coffee starts with coffee beans from regions known for their production and quality. Most countries in the world’s coffee belt produce excellent beans, but nothing beats the beans from Peru.
Arabica coffee is grown in Peru. Peru is also the eleventh largest coffee producer in the world and its beans have notes of chocolate, nuts, fruits and citrus depending on the growing region.
History of Peruvian Coffee
It is only logical that Peruvian farmers could successfully grow coffee. After all, the country is south of Colombia, one of the most respected coffee producers in the world.
Surprisingly, the coffee plant came to Peru long before it was introduced to Colombia. Peruvian farmers grew coffee throughout the 18th century; in Colombia, commercial coffee production began in 1809.
For some strange reason, things changed. The coffee got sick. Coffee rust, an incurable fungus that can destroy crops, decimated the then-dominant coffee plantations in Sri Lanka and Java in the late 19th century:
- In the years leading up to World War I, coffee accounted for 60% of Peru’s total exports and became the engine of the country’s economy.
- Regardless, the Peruvian coffee industry has grown steadily since then. European investment in the country’s coffee industry was a major contributor to growth, with Britain owning the bulk of the plantations.
- However, due to the two world wars, Britain withdrew from Peru. This meant that local farmers took over the land and were able to profit from it, but unfortunately also that they no longer had strong ties to foreign coffee markets.
As a result, the growth of Peru’s coffee industry has slowed significantly in recent decades. Other problems have hampered the country’s rise to global prominence, including a lack of modern infrastructure, falling market prices and regular guerrilla warfare.
Peruvian coffee in the 2000s
In the early 2000s, the Peruvian coffee industry was in crisis again until the 2013 crop was attacked by coffee rust, a fungus that first appeared on the market more than 100 years ago.
Production and exports fell sharply and it took several years for the industry to recover.
However, there is hope. For many years, the main crop grown in Peru was the Típica variety, one of the original and most important Arabica coffee crops, which is particularly susceptible to coffee rust.
It is still grown in Peru today, but farms have largely switched to the hardier Typica varieties, as well as other Arabica varieties such as Catimora. Peru is also the world’s fifth largest exporter of Arabica coffee, while coffee beans are the second largest agricultural export.
This means there is less risk of a coffee rust outbreak in Peru in the future. Currently, as mentioned, Peru is the 11th coffee exporting country, but is the second largest coffee producer in all of South America (after Colombia).
Coffee buyers in Europe are desperate for new sources of supply, and Peru is a possible candidate. However, almost all production in Peru is for local consumption only.
Coffee growing regions in Peru
- Northern Peru is close to the border with Ecuador and Colombia. The geographical combination of coastal areas, mountains and rainforests means that the coffee farms in the north of the country can grow very different plants and beans.
- The sweet coffee that some coffee lovers associate with Peru comes primarily from the Cajamarca region, where most of the region’s coffee beans are grown in the provinces of San Ignacio and Jaén.
- Seven provinces in the rainforest region known as the Amazon (and to the north) produce coffee, with some farms located on the slopes of the Andes. The coastal region of Piura also exports coffee, albeit in smaller quantities.
- The central part of the country lies between Brazil and the Pacific Ocean and is home to the capital Lima. The three coffee-growing regions of Peru are also located here.
- The best coffee in central Peru comes from the large growing region of Junín. Chanchamayo coffee is well known among coffee lovers for its rich and delicious taste. The Satipo coffee also comes from this region.
- Huanuco sits on the edge of the Andes, an area that grows standard Arabica beans and excellent specialty coffees. In the nearby Pasco region, significantly less coffee is grown due to the harsh jungle climate, but the beans from this region are still of high quality.
- There is much more to see in southern Peru than Machu Picchu.
- In southern Peru, nestled between the sea and the countries of Bolivia and Chile, there are three coffee-growing regions destined for export, from the fine coffee grown in the extreme south of Puno and south-east of Cusco to the newer, higher-elevation one Region of Ayacucho.
- The coffee beans in both regions are low-yielding but of high quality, and the soil quality in the south is favorable for organic coffee growing.
Grown Peruvian coffees
Peru is famous for its Arabica coffees. About 70% Arabica, including 20% Caturra and 50% Café, with the other 50%. There are currently eight different varieties:
- Mundo Novo
Flavor profile of Peruvian coffee
Although the Arabica variety is mainly grown in Peru, the flavor profile of the coffee varies from region to region. Soil and growing conditions affect flavor as much as the strain itself.
- Amazon: Catimora, Caturra and Typica; fruity and sweet
- Cajamarca: Borbon, Caturra and Tipica; sweet and bitter
- Cutervo: Borbón, Catimora, Pacamara, Pache and Typica; Vanilla and molasses are highlighted
- Piura: Catimora, Caturra and Typica; Chocolate, caramel and walnuts
- Sint Maarten: Sounds like the Amazon, nuts and chocolate
Piura coffee is typically balanced with nut, chocolate, and caramel flavors; similar coffee is produced in the Amazon, but with more caramel and nut flavors. Cajamarca coffee is sweeter, lighter and known for its fruity flavor.
- Huanuco: Catimora, Caturra and Typica; orange and caramel
- Junín: Catimora, Caturra and Typica; fruity, creamy and sparkling
- Pasco: Catimora, Caturra and Typica; citrusy, floral and fruity
The most famous coffee beans are grown in the Chanchamayo Valley in the Junín region. Characterized by a moderate body and light acidity, they offer delicious flavors such as citrus, chocolate, caramel and nut flavors. High-quality coffee with strong acidity, finesse and wonderful aromas of yellow and black fruits is also grown in nearby Satipo.
- Ayacucho: Caturra and Tipica; Chocolate, grains, black fruits and caramel
- Cuzco: Bourbon, Caturra, Tipica; chocolate and fruit
- Puno: Borbón, Caturra and Típica; chocolate and fruit flavors
Beans grown in Cuzco are hard to find, but they’re soft, creamy, and have just about every fruity flavor imaginable.
The complex coffee specialty from Puno has a unique flavor profile but is also perfectly balanced with floral and fruity notes, especially tropical and caramelized.
The best-selling Peruvian coffees
Tres Cumbres Volcanic Coffee Company
These single-variety, medium-roasted beans come from the Chanchamayo region in Peru, which we have featured on several occasions.
The Tres Cumbres has a mild acidity, is smooth and full-bodied with a complex flavor profile; You will notice floral and smoky notes along with sweetness.
Freshly roasted Peruvian organic coffee
These beans come from the Cajamarca region of northern Peru. These are organically grown and fair-trade certified beans that are medium roasted.
This coffee has the sweet and light flavor profile characteristic of the region, but with a strong body. You’ll taste citrus along with cinnamon and nutmeg, with hints of orange in the aftertaste.
Cenfrocafe Perú Cafe Cubic coffee
We already mentioned Cenfrocafe; it’s one of the country’s growing coffee collectives, based in the northern highlands.
These single-origin beans are medium-roasted for an incredible cup of coffee: powerful citric acidity, nutty sweetness, a smooth medium body, and herbal and caramel notes to round out the experience.
A complex coffee that showcases what Peruvian beans have to offer.
Altuva Peruvian organic coffee, dark roast
This dark roast, also a Cajamarca coffee, has low acidity, is slightly sweet and its cocoa and nutty flavor profile pairs perfectly with the long roast. But don’t worry, it’s not bitter either.
This option is organic and fair trade and worth it for fans of dark roasts.
First Peruvian Colonia Gold Andes
This is a medium-strong roast from the Andes region in northern Peru.
This gives it a different flavor than most northern beans: sweet and mild, but smoky, with notes of caramel and nuts, and a woody aroma.
Andes Gold’s flavorful, slightly oily body makes it ideal for espresso or French press; he’s also biological.
Coffee experts recommend trying coffee beans from Peru. They are ideal for anyone who, compared to other beans, e.g. B. from Colombia, do not like “bright” acid.