Peru Fernandez Vasquez
The first thing you’ll notice about this Arabica coffee from Peru is how sweet it is. Then, you’ll find the unmistakable flavors of chocolate and orange.
This rich sweetness is a tribute to how and where it’s grown — under a canopy of sun-filtering shade trees, a full mile above sea level in the Andes.
Here on this tiny farm, in the cool shade of the tall cedar trees, the beans mature slowly, increasing the natural sugars and enhancing the flavor of the coffee.
At the root of everything: The shade.
Songbirds and Sustainability
The benefits of shade-grown coffee are seemingly endless.
Leaves that fall from the trees enrich the soil and help retain its moisture. The trees filter out carbon dioxide, the cause of global warming. They also aid in soil moisture retention, which minimizes erosion.
The trees are also home to as many as 150 species of songbirds. These songbirds, with their constant foraging, provide natural insect control — which means little or no need for chemical fertilizers, pesticides, or herbicides.
It’s an ideal environment for the cultivation of a coffee that is simply luscious and effortless to drink.
Coffee farming in Peru
Farms like this one are enabling Peru to build a global reputation for producing traditionally cultivated, shade-grown, high-quality Arabica beans.
The country is home to more than 110,000 coffee growers, most of who are indigenous. After the harvest, most farmers hike their beans into the nearest town to sell them, a trip that can take up to eight hours by foot.
Many of Peru’s farmers belong to cooperatives linked with international Fair Trade and organized networks. These co-ops have quickly become the second largest suppliers of Fair-Trade-certified coffee after Mexico — and collectively, one of the world’s top organic producers.
About the farmer
Eudes Fernandez Vásquez’s practices organic farming and production, using the coffee cherries’ skin and pulp as fertilizer. The songbirds keep the farm tidy and protected from insects, as they fill the farm with their music.
Vásquez currently owns 2 acres of land — only one of which is used for coffee farming. He plans to use this year’s profits to prepare the second acre for next season’s crop.
Overall, we think this combination of soil, shade, and songbirds at Vásquez’s farm delivers a vibrant cup of coffee that invokes the enduring spirit of the Peruvian coffee farmer.