The project pilot, 'Peru 121', was introduced by DR Wakefield, originally set up in Honduras, then a year later rolled out in Peru, the third largest country in South America and largest growers of organic coffee.
Being a member of Project 121, small holder farmers like the idea that they know exactly where their coffee they spend all year working hard to produce is going to. The Premiums over and above Organic and Fairtrade rates. These farmers cannot afford the certification themselves and DR Wakefield therefore from the project rewards all their hard work on quality, in turn, motivating them to improve. They are very happy that roasters, like ourselves have decided to continue their participation in this exciting project.
Meet Almancio Vega Viton
A father of four and his main occupation is a coffee producer. He is 50 years old and is married to Marilnes. His aim is both improve the quantity and quality of his coffee this.
This small hold farmer is a Member of Sol & Café since March 2008. Sol & Cafe is an organisation of small holders who voluntarily set up to help support their farmers with practical support to get the very best of their crop yield.
Almancio's farm is called El Romerrillo and is located in the region of Cajamarca county in the district community, belonging to the La Palma Primary group. The farm size is three hectares and stands at an altitude of 1315 meters. Total production of coffee from the farm is (69 Kg bags) across 63 Varietals 30% Caturra, 30% Pache, 20% Costa Rica, and 20% Typical.
The flowering period for his coffee plants are September to January with the harvest period during May to September, however, most of the coffee is harvested in August.
The processing method used is fully washed, in the artisan way. Most of the coffee cherries are picked in August when they are at their optimum level of maturation and sweetness. The cherries are processed at the farm using a traditional method of fermentation tanks and eco pulpers. Typically, the cherries are picked in the morning and processed (de-pulped and washed) the same day, usually in the late afternoon. This is to avoid any deterioration of the quality of the coffee beans.
The wet parchment is dried on raised beds until the right moisture is achieved to be transported to the Sol & Cafe collection point in the city of Jaen. Here there is a classification carried out according to quality of the parchment delivered to Sol & Cafe. This is where Sol & Cafe runs a system of rewarding farmers that deliver the highest quality, as is the case with this particular lot. Sol & Cafe will take care of the final stages of milling, grading and packing in Piura, before it is fully approved for export. With the use of native fruit trees such as: Huabas, Alicaro, Eritrina, Figs, Leucaenas, and citric fruit trees, Mangos, Zapotes, Pico Pico, among others.
The waste generated by the processing of the cherries is treated in oxidation tanks to avoid any contamination of water tables downstream. The farm is managed according to the Organic and Rainforest Alliance standards. Certified Organic and Fairtrade as standard, with real quality fragrance and aroma, resulting in ripe cherries with a roasted nutty flavour and sweet cherries with a hint of hazelnuts and chocolate.This coffee has a lively body and acidity. Cupping score 86.5 points!
We are proud to continue to buy this coffee and pay the extra premium, to continue to support DR Wakefield with their aim to ultimately support these farmers in the longer term.
Daterra is Daterra. It sits in its own category.
The size of the farm and the way it is managed at the same time experimenting with various techniques, and really looking for answers everywhere. In recent years so many opinions have come about what is the best method of processing, so Daterra have set up a special wet and dry mill to evaluate these opinions – is patio drying better than Guardiola or Vertical, or African beds – well lets try. African beds – is full sun, 75%, 50% 25% or zero sun better – well lets try. Running the pulper at different speeds, adding yeast to the fermentation tanks. These guys are taking the theory and testing it until it goes bang !!
Breaking news – Daterra entered a competition to find the most sustainable farm in all Brazil - they won ! Luis, Isabela and Leon presented the trophy to the whole team in the farm and acknowledged that it was a team effort. see photo below.
The Capoeira Family with Simon & Priscilla
Travelling so far to only see 1 farm is not making the most of the opportunity, so we managed to squeeze in a few extra days visiting 6 other farms in the Minas Gerais region.
It is great to experience the passion and increased knowledge that is being shown at the farms. As ever the warmth of hospitality is second to none. Some of the farms visited were Fairtrade, but not Fairtrade as we know it – the farms do not really need the premiums, they are privately owned, but with the manner in which they are operated, they comply with the Fairtrade standards. When asked about the premium, it is left in the Cooperative to invest in an appropriate manner amongst their members who can benefit from the premium – it’s kind of like a philanthropic gesture by the owners to help the surrounding farms develop. But because these farms are privately owned, they have the quality controls in place and are processing various varietals and processes as required which are cupping above 84 points.
Cupping at Ascarive
Depending upon the area and their micro climate the harvest was about 60-70% complete, which meant that we could taste the early harvest – still a bit fresh, but gave us an idea that the quality will be really good even though the bean maybe a little smaller.You always learn something new – natural floaters ! it’s not what you are thinking - it’s the new grade ! Even cupped better than Lewak. Joking apart, floaters have always been rejects, but there are different types of floaters and some of them are good, which are also know in Daterra as “pulped raisin”
It is surprising to see how much of a slope a mechanical harvester can cope with – upto 30 degrees now ! and we noted that a number of farms are changing their plantings (rows) to convert to machine picking, due to cost and lack of manual labour. The labour conditions for manual workers is also becoming tougher, with the farm owners needing to see licences from the “mechanical Hand pickers” – it is like a brush cutter, but with vibrating fingers as opposed to a blade – these guys work in pairs, but need to have protective boots, gloves, face/hear wear as well as the licence to prove they are safe to use the equipment.