Curibamba Coffee (It’s special to be a good coffee bean)

This blog post is a shameless promotion of our first import from Peru – Curibamba Specialty Coffee. It does however recap our adventures as we journeyed to the central rainforest of Peru & gives one a glimpse into the journey that your delicious coffee makes to arrive in your cup. Enjoy! (Reposted)


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The Coffee

 

This is specialty Curibamba green bean (unroasted) coffee from the central rainforest of Peru recently harvested & ready for your home/office roaster. The coffee was produced by small growers & purchased by us in micro-lots typically in the 100-200 pound range. We purchase only mature coffee beans that are selectively picked, then washed to remove “floaters” (defects) & quickly pulped for perfect fermentation. Next, the beans are completely dried using solar tents, above ground, free from outside contaminants resulting in low humidity dried beans (vital for flavor.)

Every batch is tested for humidity, defects, and high overall consistency. The quality of the coffee begins here where it is harvested. Next, we ship from the fields in “Grainpro” bags as well as the traditional burlap so that that freshness is preserved in transit to Lima, Peru and then via the port of Callao to the US (Long Beach, CA.) It costs us a little more, but you’ll taste and smell the difference in your cup.

We recommend a “City” (medium) to a ” Full City” (medium to dark medium) roast to bring out the best flavor & aroma of this coffee. The coffee cupped with a light fruity aroma & taste, and a medium creamy body. It has hints of herbs & fruit with a chocolate aroma when roasted. We love it, and believe that you’ll savor it too. From the coffee farms in the cloud forest of Peru to you, the growers of Curibamba coffee thank you!

All coffee is shipped to you via USPS Priority mail & will typically arrive within 5 days. We ship on Monday/Wednesday/Fridays, so if you order late Monday, we won’t ship until Wednesday morning etc. Thanks for your understanding.

We appreciate your support! We value your business & want you to be completely satisfied. We welcome all questions, comments etc. Our coffee is backed by a 100% satisfaction guarantee. No questions asked – full refund. Please see below for more about where your coffee comes from.

A little more (actually a lot) about the point of origin:

My wife and I have been visiting her home country of Peru for many years now. We have always liked to bring back good coffees for family & friends as gifts. We received so many favorable comments over the years that we began to travel to the coffee growing areas ourselves & go to coffee fairs etc. Our suitcases always guarded a bunch of new coffee every trip. Frankly, we didn’t know that much about coffee in those days, but we could sure tell that the great coffees were dramatically more delicious than the run of the mill stuff. We started to study coffee seriously & along the way have had the good fortune of encountering some very knowledgeable people that more importantly, were willing to help us when we were neophytes.

Aside from just buying great coffee though, we had always wanted to be able to help the growers that work so hard to provide the coffee that many of us just take for granted, most of these farmers who live with extremely limited financial resources. We wanted to touch the soil and smell the tropical air. We wanted to know the people that we were buying our coffee from…

We started making various journeys to the rural areas of Peru, visiting the higher areas of the cloud forest where the coffee matures slowly into a richer, dense, more flavorful bean. We stopped at coffee shops & Coffee Cooperatives. We sampled coffee wherever we went. We learned as much as we could. We did nothing for several years…

Finally, Last year we decided to just bite the bullet, and at least buy something from one of the Coops that we had encountered along the way. We knew that the quality was wonderful, and that the growers were being paid much better than the old “middleman” method. We weren’t sure about shipping stuff, but began to check out all the logistics both in Peru, and to the States & home. We weren’t sure if anybody would buy from us. We still didn’t have that “personal” connection to the grower that we had wanted, but making the decision was a start. What happened next was more than we had hoped for.

Finding Curibamba

We had a bunch of notes from a Gastronomy Fair called Mistura which is  held in Lima every year now. There were so many wonderful things there: rich chocolates, everything from herbs & potatoes to quinoa, prepared foods of every type of meat and fish, and of course many fine coffees. We went to every coffee vendor & sampled all. From one little note we took at that fair, we set out to find the delicious Curibamba coffee that we had savored (but unfortunately didn’t have any contact info for.) After a little digging, we managed to connect with the folks behind the Curibamba Project & to explore the lovely Chanchamayo region of Peru. One thing led to another, and this year we are happy to present Curibamba Coffee. This is the first export of this lovely coffee. We’ve been involved from the grower to you, and now it’s just up to you to enjoy this fine coffee. Happy Roasting! See our story below to learn more about Curibamba…

 

In the Cloud Forest

We journeyed from Lima, with David Bisetti of Lima, a local coffee expert & team leader of the Curibamba Project, in a Toyota 4×4, climbing high up into the Andes as the terrain changed from the grey coastal skies & dry desert mountains to the green mountain forests and cascading waterfalls of “La Selva Central.” (The Central Rain Forest) It was a long day, but finally we arrived at San Ramon in the district of Chanchamayo late afternoon. We took in a little sightseeing & dinner, and then off to an early bed. At 7:00 am the next morning we set off to help with and observe a workshop for the growers. This is “Project Curibamba,” working to assist & promote a growing group of small coffee producers scattered in the nearby highlands. The project is sponsored by EDEGEL (the electric company in the area,) with an end goal of raising the standard of living for the many small coffee growers in the communities around San Ramon, Chanchamayo, Junin in the Andes. A winding bumpy road took us through spectacular landscapes and on to Uchubamba (pronounced oochoo-bam-bah,) the site of the first workshop on this trip.

(More below)

The Chanchamayo Region of Peru

Velo de la Novia (Bridal Veil Falls)

La Merced, Provincial Capital, Chanchamayo, Peru

Rugged Andes Mountains

Uchubamba, Peru

We arrived at the Plaza de Armas (town square) in Uchubamba  The & took a few pictures and conversed with some local residents while we waited for the community center to be opened for the classes. What a lovely spot! Surrounded by fractured Andes Mountains, and lush with a rich soil & abundant rainfall, the air was clear and the blues of the sky punctuated with puffy clouds & foggy strands of mist hugging the mountaintops.

The doors were soon opened, and we started lugging equipment and boxes upstairs to the classroom area. While we were there, a truck arrived with an antenna to provide the very first phone service to this community. So, there was quite a lot of activity, but everything was soon set up for the presentation which includes the sampling of an inferior coffee & then a specialty grade coffee, and how the best quality can be had during the harvest process.

Topics ranged from proper selection of mature coffee beans, correct drying & fermentation techniques & humidity testing, discussions on the entire “chain of coffee” from grower to the cup, and a host of information for improving overall coffee flavor & aroma.

Preparing Coffee for Taste & Aroma Sampling

The growers learn to carefully harvest for the best coffee possible.

After the class each grower submitted their names & crop details (how many kilos available etc.) and each coffee sample was peeled and verified for humidity (must be below 12% to be specialty grade.)

After testing, samples are marked & tagged with each growers information. These samples will be roasted & tasted in Lima. Each grower is given a new Grainpro bag to protect the freshness of the recently harvested beans.

We pack up and head to our next workshop after having a quick lunch of soup, beef, beans & rice. Lunch for five with tip – S./25 (US $9) (More Below)

This machine is used to peel the parchment coffee samples (last step before green coffee beans.)

Testing for Proper Humidity

Another workshop later that day…

Back in Lima, we peeled, roasted & cupped (blind tasted) each coffee sample ourselves along with four other coffee professionals to see what we had. We literally tested dozens of samples over several days.

Most coffees were quite good, but in the end only about half were higher than the point minimum that we were looking for (82.5 SCAA cupping score.)

We selected the best of those and arranged a return trip to San Ramon to make our purchase. (More Below)

Ready for taste testing (cupping) the coffee samples.

So many samples, yum…

Another fine coffee (We ended up buying this one)

Making the Coffee Buy

We meet at the Edegel offices in San Ramon.

The coffee arrives for the sale.

Next, we weigh & rebag for shipping to Lima.

After the coffee has been purchased & the paperwork finished, the coffee is then separated, sealed in new Grainpro bags, and sewed into burlap sacks. The truck then transports the coffee to Lima, where the thin shelled coffee beans (pergamino) will be peeled, sorted (for consistant sized beans,) and repacked for shipping to the US. (More Below)

Future family farmers

Loading the truck.

San Ramon area.

Plaza de Armas, San Ramon

Ceviche in one of the local restaurants.

Back in Lima, we await the arrival of the coffee, and start getting all the export documents ready for the shipping. Once the coffee is peeled, rebagged, and weighed, it’s ready for shipping & the waiting begins…

The coffee arrives in Lima

After peeling the thin coffee “shell” the beans are inspected and defects removed

The Green coffee beans

Roasted, what a wonderful aroma

Up Close

The port of Callao (Lima, Peru)

Port of Entry – Long Beach, CA

Is Curibamba coffee certified organic?

The coffee is not yet certified organic. The coffee is grown using traditional natural methods & fertilizers as has been done for generations.

This group of growers has only recently begun the lengthy process of pooling resources and forming a cooperative. These farmers only earn several hundred dollars yearly selling coffee from their small farms so for them to pay for the expense of certification is not yet economically feasible. We hope as time goes they will be able to start the costly certification process & receive any deserved designations. They are working with several agricultural engineers that have been involved in successful coffee cooperatives in other regions of Peru.

A word about fair compensation

We pay anywhere from 50% to 100%+ more than these farmers would be able to receive selling to a local middleman (the traditional buyers.) We do demand a selective harvest & proper fermentation & drying. It involves a little more work, but the end result is better coffee and a vastly more profitable crop for the growers.

Thanks for Looking!

To conclude, we have a really nice coffee. It has a wonderful flavor for just everyday “all around” drinking. Personally, I’ve had to resist drinking too much… It makes a nice expresso shot too.

Is it the world’s best? Probably not, but it sure is tasty. Your purchase helps small growers, and we work extra to provide a delicious product for you to enjoy.

We take pride in our coffee & strive to safeguard the quality at every step from field to cup. We will continue to look for great coffees, and hope that you will vicariously join us on these excursions to the coffee growing regions where the friendly people & stunning lush mountains continue to amaze us.

Mistura 2014

Links:

Mistura Foodie Fair (Spanish)

Peru Travel Site

A Really Good Site on Coffee

Cafe Expo Peru

Another Great Peru Travel Site

Lima Area Tours

Learn Any Language in less than a year – best blog ever

A Great Site for Learning Spanish

Specialty Coffee Association of America

Daily Coffee News

You might also like:

Brew the Perfect Cup o’ Joe

Home Coffee Roasting in a Popcorn Maker

Church Bell Tower – Plaza de Armas Uchubamba, Peru

The End – Thank You!

Please Email us to purchase green coffee beans

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