As part of the task of positioning Peruvian coffee in the international market, our country launched the 'Cafés del Perú' brand last year. A flavor wheel was in addition produced as a complementary action to this strategy, in order to identify the attributes (aromas, tastes, flavors and textures) of coffees in our main producing regions.
This project, which was promoted by the Commission for the Promotion of Peru for Exports and Tourism (PROMPERÚ), saw the participation of producers, specialists and professional tasters, Herly Mego Silva being in the latter group.
Herly is one of the main tasters at Cajamarca, coming from a family dedicated to the production of this bean, and he is currently responsible for the quality control area at Centrocafé, a cooperative that groups together producers from the provinces of San Ignacio, Bagua and Jaén, and whose objective is to increase production and improve the quality of coffee in the region to contribute to the development of their communities.
So, in order to learn a little more about the production of the flavor wheel, and to find out about coffee in our Cajamarca region, we sounded out Mego Silva, who provided us with some important developments in both areas.
Specialty coffees from Cajamarca
Herly Mego told us, first of all, that the profile of Cajamarca coffee varies according to the province where it is grown. In San Ignacio, for example, the beans are fruitier and more floral, with some chocolate and nuts; while in Jaén, an area with higher temperatures, the coffee is characterized by having more of a citrus taste, with orange and mandarin profiles. Bagua coffee meanwhile is rather more bitter.
As is well known, for a coffee to be considered a specialty coffee, according to the Specialty Coffee Association (SCA) it must be grown at particular altitudes and climates, and nurtured for years before the first harvest. It must in addition have a minimum of 80 points in the cup, a rating that is given by a certified taster or the Coffee Quality Institute (CQI). The Cajamarca taster also told us that Cenfrocafé distinguishes three main areas.
"In the low areas, most of the coffees have herbal notes, with a green apple flavor, achieving around 85 points. Medium-area beans are more chocolaty, with notes such as malt and carob, achieving 86 or 87 points. In the high areas, we have the most floral coffees, with lots of honey and vanilla notes, and greater intensity", says Herly, who adds that the Netherlands, the United States, Canada and Germany are the countries to which they export the most coffee.
For Herly, the flavor wheel is a tool of great use for the diffusion of coffees from our regions. "The wheel will allow us to improve how coffees are promoted and directed to the most demanding markets; it will allow an increase in the consumption of this aromatic bean, and will increase the demand for specialty coffees, thereby helping coffee families with a fairer price.
Herly also highlights Promperú's interest in making the coffee business have a greater impact abroad; since, thanks to trade shows and events abroad, the world is seeing our beans in a better light. "Peru is in competition with big producers like Brazil and Colombia. Now they're worried because they know that we have the highest quality coffee. We must continue to publicize it, let people know that we have great potential in our beans", he said.
Founded in San Ignacio in 1999, this cooperative obtained Fair Trade certification in 2007, and consolidated itself as a direct exporter two years later. Products marketed include roasted and ground coffee, Café Gourmet being one of the most important products. Its beans are characterized by the aroma of jasmine, floral flavors and citrus fruits, with a score ranging from 88 to 90 points per cup. It also offers Café Classic, which has a cinnamon-colored roast and an aroma of vanilla, sugar cane and sweet caramel with chocolate notes; and Café Espresso, with a sweet aroma, sugar cane honey flavor, a good balance and a smooth creaminess. Both have a cup score ranging from 86 to 87 points.
According to Mego Silva, this cooperative is also working on new ventures related to the production of natural coffee and honey coffee. In the production of the latter, he tells us that the cherries are harvested, pulped and dried with all the honey they have. As for natural coffee, Herly explains that the bean is harvested, dried with the skins, and not washed; the profile of this coffee is very fruity, with a high concentration of panela and honey. "We are doing very well, we are selling it to China and Japan and we’re gaining more and more experience with production", he says.
Apu Coffee Shops
Another important Centrocafé project are the APU coffee shops. According to Herly, the initiative to create coffee ships in the region arose from producers organizing themselves with the purpose of promoting the consumption of quality coffees and spreading a national coffee culture.
"Before, customers came, but there was no place to go for a cup of coffee, and we saw that the business was heading that way, in giving added value to coffee. This is why Cenfrocafé opened an APU coffee shop for the first time, in Jaén, an initiative that began by roasting coffee, going to sell it in public squares or organizing tastings. Now there are 14 coffee shops here in Jaén, thanks to the fact that the children of producers have been trained and have started their own businesses", he points out.
Sources: Cenfro Café/ SCA Coffee