We've been fascinated by the region of Puno for some time now. The potential is apparent, yet it remains exceptionally difficult to work in. There will undoubtedly be world class coffees coming from this region in no time. In this cup we find a unique floral citrus quality, berry-like sweetness, and a delicate acidity.
Bourbon & Caturra
Cruzpata, Alto Inambari, Puno
Hand picked at peak ripeness. Floated to further remove defects and depulped on the day of harvest. Dry fermented for 35 hours. Dried on raised beds for 30 days.
Peru—and especially Puno—continues to be a very challenging place to work. However, the insane altitudes, microclimates, and old stock hierloom-type varieties keep bringing us back. It is important to remember how new specialty coffee is to this country, especially in comparison to places like Colombia. Colombia has been developing as a specialty-producing country for nearly 20 years, whereas one could argue that Peru has only been doing so for around five. Given the quality we are already seeing, we feel long-term investments are worthwhile. Another interesting thing about Puno specifically is its diversity of varieties. There is reason to believe that, along with the standard Bourbon & Caturra-type varieties, there are a number of Ethiopian varieties scattered around. There is a lot to be excited about, and a lot yet to be actualized and learned about this region.
Bourbon is the most famous of the Bourbon-descended varieties. It is a tall variety characterized by relatively low production and excellent cup quality, but is susceptible to all the major coffee plant diseases. In the early 1700’s French missionaries carried Bourbon from Yemen to Bourbon Island (now Réunion), giving it the name it has today. The variety spread to other parts of the world beginning in the mid-1800’s as the missionaries moved to establish footholds in Africa and the Americas. Today, in Latin America, Bourbon has largely been replaced by varieties that descend from it—notably Caturra, Pacas, Catuai, and Mundo Novo—although Bourbon itself it is still cultivated in El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Peru.
Caturra is a natural mutation of the Bourbon variety. It was discovered on a plantation in the state of Minas Gerais in Brazil sometime between 1915 and 1918. Today, it is one of the most economically important coffees in Central America, to the extent that it is often used as a benchmark against which new cultivars are tested. In Colombia, Caturra was thought to represent nearly half of the country’s production before a government-sponsored program beginning in 2008 incentivized renovation of over three billion coffee trees with the leaf rust resistant Castillo variety (which has Caturra parentage).
The cost of getting a coffee from cherry to beverage varies enormously depending on its place of origin and the location of its consumption. The inclusion of price transparency is a starting point to inform broader conversation around the true costs of production and the sustainability of specialty coffee as a whole.