Farmers in Peru usually process their coffee on their own farms using the Fully washed method. Cherry is usually pulped, fermented and dried in the sun. Traditionally, smaller farmers would use tarps laid on the ground or under the roof of their homes. Increasingly, cooperatives are establishing centralized drying facilities – usually raised beds or drying sheds where members are encouraged to dry their parchment. Some farmers are beginning to adopt these practices on their own farms, and drying greenhouses and parabolic beds are becoming more common as farmers pivot towards specialty markets.
After drying, coffee will then be sold in parchment to the cooperative. Producers who are not members of a cooperative often have the opportunity to sell on to
cooperatives, as well.
Peru holds exceptional promise as a producer of high- quality coffees. The country is the largest exporter of organic Arabica coffee globally. With extremely high altitudes and fertile soils, the country’s smallholder farmers also produce some stunning specialty coffees. Though coffee arrived in Peru in the 1700s, very little coffee was exported until the late 1800s. Until that point, most coffee produced in Peru was consumed locally. When coffee leaf rust hit Indonesia in the late 1800s, a country central to European coffee imports at the time, Europeans began searching elsewhere for their fix. Peru was a perfect option.
Between the late 1800s and the first World War, European interests invested significant resources into coffee production in Peru. However, with the advent of the two World Wars, England and other European powers became weakened and took a less colonialist
perspective. When the British and other European land owners left, their land was purchased by the government and redistributed to locals. The Peruvian government repurchased the 2 million hectares previously granted to England and distributed the lands to thousands of local farmers. Many of these farmers later grew coffee on the lands they received.
Today, Peruvian coffee growers are overwhelmingly small scale.
Farmers in Peru usually process their coffee on their own farms. Most coffee is Fully washed. Cherry is usually pulped, fermented and dried in the sun on raised beds or drying sheds. Drying greenhouses and parabolic beds are becoming more common as farmers pivot towards specialty markets. After drying, coffee will then be sold in parchment to the cooperative. Producers who are not members of a cooperative will usually sell to a middleman.
The remoteness of farms combined with their small size means that producers need either middlemen or cooperatives to help get their coffee to market.
Cooperative membership protects farmers greatly from exploitation and can make a huge difference to income from coffee. Nonetheless, currently only around 15-25% of smallholder farmers have joined a coop group.
Swiss water decaf
Young consumers are driving decaf’s resurgence and, like their caffeine-drinking peers, they’re expecting high-quality coffees that are often traceable and certified.
With more than 50% of the world’s population under 30, the demand for decaffeinated coffee – and the need for specialty decaf that tastes good and meets ethical or
environmental standards – is rising.
Swiss Water offers an alternative to consumers concerned by methyl chloride (MC) and ethyl acetate (EA) processes. Because water processing does not use added chemical compounds, coffees can maintain organic certifications and customers can be assured of
the absence of additional chemicals.
The difficulty of decaffeination is that many of the flavor compounds that give coffee its excellent taste are, like caffeine, water-soluble. Thus, any decaffeination method needs to effectively single out and remove the caffeine molecule while preserving as many of the flavor compounds as possible.
The process begins with a batch of green coffee beans that are soaked in water to remove the caffeine. In water, many of the flavor compounds are also removed as well, but don’t worry! This is intentional and will preserve help flavor in the future.
This first batch of beans are then discarded. This process only needs to happen once because the mixture produced by soaking those beans, called green coffee extract (GCE), can be maintained and reused to decaffeinate many batches of green beans. The principle behind water processing is that water can only absorb a set amount of flavor compounds and caffeine before it is completely saturated. When water is fully saturated, it cannot accept (and remove) any more flavor compounds, even if they’re in the coffee. That first batch of beans created a fully saturated water mixture, the GCE. In order to process the beans for decaffeination, the GCE is run through a filter to remove only the caffeine. Now the GCE is fully saturated except for caffeine. When a new batch of green beans are placed in the GCE, the only compound from the new beans that will be accepted into the GCE is caffeine, everything else will remain in the beans because the GCE is already saturated with those chemicals and unable to ‘take’ anymore.