Travel Diaries: Coffee Trip 2024 | IncaFé Organic Coffee


Travel Diaries: Coffee Trip 2024

Posted by Joseph Verbeek on
Travel Diaries: Coffee Trip 2024

It's important to connect face-to-face with our coffee growers. 


Peru Coffee plants incafe new zealand
I just got back from the coffee growers in Northern Peru to check the harvest. It is looking good, the plants are charged and it promises to be a good harvest.

With the international coffee pricing edging up it might be a good year for the growers.

There are some big changes for the growers. They definitely see the climate changing and more heat results in smaller beans. Luckily, thanks to the advance of computers and phones, their knowledge increases and they respond quicker. In the North people have less shade on their plantations and their farms are smaller so they plant much denser. There is less severe rainfall but regular cloud cover which allows them to have a little less shade. Yet people are seeing the need to have more shade cover and people are trying lots of different shade trees and companion plants like bananas and cacao and for example this fruit vine cover.

Peru Coffee plants incafe new zealand

Organic coffee plantations are in general significantly carbon positive

They don't use synthetic fertilizer and pesticides, the biggest sources of emissions in most growing systems, and they sequester a lot of carbon with all the tree and plant cover and in the soil.  We finally see some traction of rewarding all these green efforts with Rabobank developing a scheme where coffee growers can earn carbon credits with their tree and plant cover measured with satellite imaging. This is not enough though. We would love to see an easy certification scheme where farms are certified in entirety on carbon footprint. We then can finally produce truthfully carbon positive coffee. 

My observation on this trip

With food prices going up everywhere I noticed how many people valued the ability to grow their own food for their extended family on their little farms. In between coffee there was a lot of corn and other crops. As usual on my trips I come across some very old people and I always get to hear how they attribute their age to healthy eating from their land. I think they also have a different way of dealing with stress :) Many of the coffee growers I meet are in their 60s and 70s and they move up and down their steep coffee plantations like mountain goats whilst I am slipping and sliding. Their plantations are tucked into mountainous areas interspersed with native bush and clean water sources. People understand the need to keep water sources clean. 

The knowledge and level of professionalism from those who collect and grade the coffee is better every year. These guys cup samples of 20-40 little batches of coffee every day so that we have a choice of different flavours and cleanliness in the cup. Growers that enter good batches get paid more on the basis of the cupping score. I did some cupping with two of the coops we work with and their knowledge is impressive. They have some good gear too. 

Peru Coffee plants incafe new zealand coffee tasting

Pricing on coffee

It is clear that what growers want is the best price for their product with the least cost for the final processing of coffee. There is a lot of pressure on cooperatives to be nimble and really focus on getting the best value for the growers with minimum overhead. A lot of cooperatives that were dependent on Fairtrade and other ethical seals premiums are feeling pressure to slim down so farmers can get the best return. Due to changes in organics standards the cost of certifying farms has gone up a lot and for coops and growers groups to exist other costs have to come down. There is no room for extravagance in cooperatives. We see this development for years now and we need to make sure that organic growing is preserved and we will work with growers groups to make sure their overheads are minimized. 

At IncaFé, we specialise in different organic specialty coffee, which we import directly from growers, mostly in Peru. We have single origin varieties and blended cultivars. Check out our range of organic coffee to learn more.  

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