Exclusively at La Montañita Co-op for $7.99/lb
Bringing the coffee farmers’ private reserve coffee to co-op shoppers
Cooperativa José Gabriel Condorcanquí of Coyona, Peru
by Tom Wilde, Equal Exchange
Over the years visiting with the farmer owners of the Cooperativa José Gabriel Condorcanquí, one can’t help but notice the growers drink a different coffee at home than the coffee they exported. Throughout the Co-op, there is a strong understanding of coffee quality and the process of de-pulping coffee beans to create the washed arabica that is the worldwide standard for green coffee. The washed coffee that arrives to us from Coyona is as near perfect as can be. Why then do those farmers hold aside a different inventory to roast for home use?
The coffee that growers keep for themselves is dried in what is called the natural dry process. While most coffee is dried in a kiln before it is roasted, the special location of this region of Coyona, just on the edge of the jungle and the desert, allows the beans to dry quickly and uniformly within the juicy sweetness of the coffee cherry. The beans offer a stronger, deeper flavor. Knowing that natural dried coffees from Equal Exchange’s partners in Ethiopia are widely enjoyed for their more developed fruit flavors and a richer body, I had to believe that U.S. consumers would enjoy Peru Naturals as much as I do. When we visited Coyona this past harvest, thoughtful co-op leaders like Joe Damiano of Greenstar, Michelle Franklin of La Montanita, and Kim Hash of Lakewinds expressed an interest in bringing the bold-flavored Peru Naturals for their customers to enjoy.
For that reason, Equal Exchange imported a limited supply of a few hundred pounds of these Peru Naturals. While these coffees are organically farmed like all the other coffee from Cooperativa José Gabriel Condorcanquí, because of the small lot size, no organic certification paperwork was filed for this micro-lot. We roasted the beans in our very popular French Roast style, which caramelized the sweetness and brought out the fruit and deep earth flavors.
There is some poetry to having this natural dry processed coffee from our farmer partners. It was a small shipment of natural dry processed coffee that was the first export of the co-operative when they began in 1997. Last year, the farmers of this part of Peru re-organized their co-operative and again, in their first year as the newly named Co-op Norandino, it was a small shipment of natural coffee that was the highlight of year.
So now is your chance to enjoy the coffee the way the farmers themselves think it is best. Look for Peru Naturals at your co-op and let us know what you think!