Peruvian coffees are predominantly grown high in the awe-inspiring Andes Mountains, and it is this high altitude that gives the coffee a gentle sweetness, an effervescent snap, and an enjoyable medium body. It is also used extensively as a base for flavored coffees as well as in dark roast blends. The best of Peruvian coffee, however, has this vanilla-nut-toned sweetness which is purely exceptional, light, and worthy of appreciation as one of the most distinct specialty origins in western South America.
Peruvian coffees are not too popular in the coffee-drinking universe or as well as those from their South American – i.e., Brazil and Colombia – neighbors. This is primarily due to a lack of sufficient advertising and government policies which have nothing to do with the quality of the coffee grown in this country.
Peruvian Coffee Beans
Good Peruvian coffee is aromatic, flavorful, and gentle. This is as a result of the medium-roasted coffee beans which deliver a full-bodied and complex beverage with light or mild acidity. In other words, Peruvian coffee beans are among the best you will ever come across the south of the equator.
Peruvian Coffee Beans: Need-to-know Facts
As you may have guessed by now, every coffee-growing culture has its intriguing complexities or details. Here some of the most exciting things about Peruvian coffee.
Brief History of Peruvian Coffee
The first time that coffee was brought to the Land of the Incas was in the 18th century, i.e., in the mid-1700s. And that was how the Typica variety of coffee swiftly became the dominant coffee plant varietal that was cultivated in the Latin American country.
During the late 1800s, i.e., the 19th century, a terrible disease swept through Indonesia and the surrounding Asian countries, and it decimated the coffee industry in Asia at the time. Therefore, to meet and satisfy Europe’s voracious demand for coffee, European buyers started searching for other coffee producers besides the Asians. And that was how they found Peru.
Peru ranks fifth in the exportation of Arabica coffee beans in the world market. Peruvian coffee is not all that competitive when compared to coffee from other countries. This was primarily due to lack of processing methods as well as infrastructure which are part of the problems facing several unindustrialized coffee-growing countries in the world today.
This was a huge problem that leads to massive inconsistency in the quality of the coffee beans in the country which drove a lot of potential buyers away. Moreover, several years of guerrilla warfare and a significant focus on other crops – such as cacao, etc. – multiplied the infrastructure problem and caused severe distraction from any authentic coffee-farming potential.
And the issues were further aggravated when the prices of coffee plummeted drastically in the 1990s.
Despite these challenges, at the turn of the century, Peruvian coffee farmers, along with several other nations that had also suffered through the guerrilla crisis, etc. shook off the dust of discouragement and off the ground to start rebuilding everything they had hitherto lost.
It has been a grueling process, but since the rebuilding movement began, there has been massive refocusing on the development of high-quality coffee. This is done by tapping generously from the gift of Mother Nature; the vast potential which is naturally present in both the soil as well as the climate of the majority of Peruvian coffee farms.
The Peruvian government also pitched in – along with the guidance and support of several private or independent groups – to assist in bringing momentum as well direction to this substantial rehabilitation. This has helped significantly and in no small measure to the successful revitalization of the Peruvian coffee industry.
For most of coffee history in Peru, the majority of the beans are enjoyed by the locals, and even as production improved significantly from the 1700s through the 1800s, only a few Peruvian coffee beans were exported. Fewer made it as far as the United States.
Peruvian Coffee and Exportation
Investment in the Peruvian coffee industry began in the first decade of the 20th century which significantly boosted the whole coffee industry – at the time – to expand so that they could start exporting coffee beans at a large scale. England agreed to take more than 2 million hectares of Peruvian coffee-growing land as compensation for a defaulted loan and began to cultivate plantation-like farms.
Soon enough, coffee made up to 60 percent of Peru’s exports and drove the economy of the Latin American country extensively. But then, two World Wars arose, prompting England to sell off its coffee-growing plantation in Peru which was eventually distributed among hundreds of thousands of local Peruvian coffee farmers.
Although the coffee farmers had more monotony, the commercial industry had taken a massive hit and became less connected. Rural Peruvian coffee farms no longer had the large production systems in place which enabled them to get their beans to the international market.
However, as mentioned earlier, the Peruvian coffee industry has started growing steadily over the past few years, despite the massive challenges it has encountered.
Peru also suffered a rust infestation in 2014 which affected almost half of the country’s coffee plantations. But Peru is presently the #10 largest producer of coffee in the world which is a far cry from where they used to be before the crisis hit. The coffee sector also generates nothing less than 855,000 jobs in the impoverished and out-of-the-way areas of the country.
The South American country is also the 5th largest producer of Arabica coffee beans. This goes to show the resilient spirit of the industry and shows that they are not underdogs in any way. Peru is getting set to give its neighboring coffee-producing giant, Brazil, and Columbia a run for their money, especially with the organic markets as well as the specialty coffee already in their palms.
Peruvian Coffee: Additional Information
There are two distinct and prominent qualities that Peruvian coffee exhibits; the secluded, high-altitude location where the coffee plants are cultivated as well as the collective work of the growers. These farmers have worked tirelessly to turn Peru into the country that produces the most abundant organic coffee in the world.
Brazil is a close neighbor and the world’s #1 coffee exporter, and this is primarily responsible for stealing needed attention that Peruvian coffee ought to have. But there is no doubt among coffee connoisseurs who appreciate the quality and characteristics of Peruvian coffee that it will soon be on the world stage as one of the most outstanding coffees ever.
Peruvian Coffee Production
The processing of coffee in Peru starts with handpicking the coffee cherries off the plants after they have ripened. It is labor-intensive, no doubt, but it makes it incredibly easier to catch sight of the ripe ones. Ripe cherries culminate in the production of high-quality coffee beans.
Next, the coffee cherries undergo a pulping process in which the outer layer is removed thereby exposing the bean. Then the beans go through a brief, fermentation period, and after that, they are washed and dried.
The drying process can be done naturally or with the use of a machine until about 10-12 percent of the moisture is left behind. To retain the quality of the Peruvian coffee bean, they have to be stored carefully.
Peruvian Coffee: Growing Statistics
The moderately poor infrastructure of Peru has attracted different organizations, all of which have been funded by a variety of development groups from around the world. This has led Peru to become one of the most prominent producers of Rainforest Alliance certified, UTZ certified coffee, and certified organic coffee.
Up to 30 percent of Peru’s smallholders now belong to the local cooperative societies. These partnerships are incredibly helpful to rural farmers in that it helps them to market their coffee beans to a much larger audience, thereby receiving better pay as a result.
Although the high altitudes and elevations of the Andes Mountains runs through Central Peru and provides optimal growing conditions for Arabica coffee, there are a few farms that are spread across the coastal plain of the Latin American country. Some settlers at the jungle region of Peru – i.e., the Lower Amazon Basin – also cultivate Arabica coffee. Only a few areas in the country do not grow coffee.
There more than 100,000 coffee farmers in Peru who are cultivating high-quality, shade-grown, and traditional Arabica coffee and producing beans are gradually becoming accepted, respected, and loved in the international market.
Peruvian Coffee: Coffee-Growing Regions
The majority of Peru’s coffee is cultivated in the Northern, Central as well as Southern regions of the South American country and near the forested slopes of the Andes Mountains. There are three primary coffee-producing regions:
- San Martin and Amazonas of the northern highlands. They account for about 49 percent of the total production of coffee
- Chanchamayo in the Central Highlands which make up approximately 28 percent of total coffee production
- Cusco and Puno in the Southern highland were about 23 percent of the total production of coffee occurs.
This is according to a report released by the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service. At least, 3/4th of Peruvian coffee is cultivated at 3,280 and 5,905 feet above sea level. It is glaringly evident that coffee is Peru’s #1 agricultural export.
Additional in-depth information about Peruvian coffee-growing Regions
Chanchamayo Coffee Beans
The Chanchamayo Valley produces some of the highest quality coffee beans in Peru. They are cultivated on the eastern side of the magnificent heights of the Andes Mountains right on the edge of the Amazon Basin and just a few miles away from the capital city, Lima. The ideal climate, as well as the high elevations, contribute to the quality of these highly regarded coffee beans.
The coffee beans are – in the usual way – wet-processed and have a mild-to-bright acidity as well as a light-to-medium body. They are cultivated at incredibly high altitudes such that most of them become organic.
The characteristics of a cup of Chanchamayo coffee are highly refined. It has a medium body and is exceptionally smooth to drink. It carries rich, nutty, and chocolatey flavors and also exhibits a sweet and bright citrusy undertone that sticks to it from the very beginning to the final, enjoyable after taste.
Make no mistake about it; a cup of Chanchamayo coffee is as balanced as it can get.
Urubamba Coffee Beans
Urubamba coffee is cultivated in the southern region of this Latin American country and no too far off from Cusco and Machu Picchu. The market name for beans cultivated in this region is the “Urubamba coffee beans.”
The coffee beans from this Sacred Valley undergo wet processing and are usually smooth with enchanting aromas.
The Cajamarca region is situated in the Northern Highlands of Peru which is home to the northern portion of the Andes Mountains range that also extends to this region. The fertile soils, as well as the mild climate, contribute significantly to the optimal growing conditions of coffee in this area. Although it is not as highly respected or regarded as the Chanchamayo coffee beans, Cajamarca coffee beans are still worth checking out and a good option for coffee lovers.
This section will not be complete without including the amazingly high-quality coffee beans that are produced from Quechua in the far-flung Puno region of Peru. It is the best quality coffee in the world, which is truly a remarkable feat, going by the incredible number of coffee beans in the market today. Quechua coffee beans even won an award recently at the Global Specialty Coffee Expo that took place in Seattle.
Organic Coffee in Peru
Peruvian Fair Trade and Organic certified coffee is available and offers mellow flavors, but at a competitive price. At times, they can also be the most affordable organic coffees in the market. However, there is a clear distinction between the flavorful, high-priced Peruvian coffees and the mild-flowered, lower-priced coffees which are commonly found in stores and roasters.
But then, you will be making a great mistake if you take the price of coffee beans as a sign that they are bad. Even the universal, cheap Peruvian coffee is worth adding to your coffee cubicle.
What Does Peruvian Coffee Taste Like?
Since Peru is a country with a coffee-friendly climate, there are only small portions of land or settlements where coffee is not cultivated. Moreover, the taste of Peruvian coffee depends significantly on where it was cultivated.
For instance, the lower-altitude farms in Peru – such as those that are near Nambale town which is close to the border between Ecuador and Peru – produce coffee that has a medium body, mild acidity, and amazingly smooth with notes of gentle fruit, flowers, and nuts.
But as you move up into the highlands of the Andes Mountains, to Peruvian coffee farms that surround Machu Picchu and Cusco, the coffee produced from these areas starts to exhibit bright acidity, a full-bodied sweetness as well as vibrant floral aromas. Coffee beans from these regions are likely to be under the “specialty-grade” beans category. These Peruvian coffee beans are the ones that roasters jostle for all the time.
These two Peruvian coffee profiles are relatively common, and this is also evident in the various, exceptional beans which go further than these generalizations. At first glance, it would seem that these coffee beans have no roots whatsoever. But take a closer look, and the whole picture will be clear.
Many coffee farmers in Peru who were once severely limited as a result of poor infrastructure are now getting the opportunity to showcase their talents by letting their coffees shine for the international market. There is no doubt that Peruvian coffee beans will climb close to the top of the ladder once their distinct flavors have been sampled and praised by coffee connoisseurs worldwide.
The Best Peruvian Coffee Beans
Peru, though the 5th largest producer of coffee in the world, is the 3rd largest in South America, after Brazil and Colombia respectively. Here are some of the best Peruvian coffee brands that you will do well to explore:
Chanchamayo coffee comes with a sophisticated floral taste. It is considered the best Peruvian coffee and truly a must-try for every coffee lover worth his/her salt.
Chanchamayo coffee beans exude a room-filling, sweet aroma with distinct nutty and citrusy notes and can be perfectly distinguished from other Peruvian coffees by their floral undertones. It is a highly rated, respected, and regarded coffee bean that only those who taste it can truly understand why the Chanchamayo coffee beans garner so many accolades.
Organic Andes Coffee
These organic Peruvian coffees are cultivated in the Northern section of the Andes Mountain range. The fertile soils, as well as the high altitude where these coffee beans are cultivated, contribute significantly to the quality of this product.
Organic Andes coffee is rich with a woody aroma, a smoky sweetness and also comes with distinct notes of nuts and caramel. All these characteristics help to distinguish this Peruvian coffee from coffee beans from other regions of the Latin American country.
The coffee beans – which are roasted by White Coffee – also finish smooth and so clean that you will never feel any aftertaste of bitterness in any way. They are also one of the best Peruvian coffee beans that you can appropriate for a great espresso shot.
Cenfrocafe Coffee beans – roasted by Cubico Coffee – is a tasty, organic coffee that is remarkably complex as it tries successfully to balance several distinct aspects. Every coffee lover that is privileged to have a taste of this coffee always asks for more than one cup in appreciation of all the characteristics that this Peruvian coffee exhibits.
The Cenfrocafe Coffee has a sweet-toned sweetness along with other notes of herbs, roasted nuts, and caramel. All these characters can be tasted distinctly. The coffee also has a brilliant citrus-toned acidity which also contributes another layer to this extraordinary coffee.
A crisp and refreshing aftertaste comprises traces of herbs, and this is why it is also highly recommended for any coffee lover who wants to journey on the Peruvian coffee express train.
Cajamarca coffee – roasted by RhoadsRhoast Coffee – hails from Cajamarca. This brand, RhoadsRhoast deserves a lot of accolades for their sustainable and eco-friendly practices.
Cajamarca coffee beans are shade-grown, organic, and fair trade. They are naturally sweet and come with notes of chocolate and nuts. This Peruvian coffee also has a fruity, mild acidity which can be felt in the background.
Cajamarca Coffee comes with a wide range of flavor profiles, so there is undoubtedly something for everyone!
San Ignacio Coffee
San Ignacio is a prefecture or province that is located within the Cajamarca region, which is already renowned for producing world-class Peruvian coffee beans. Roasted by Café Altura, the company that works directly with a considerable number of Peruvian family-owned farms, this Peruvian coffee is fair trade, organic, and eco-friendly.
Notes of nuts and cocoa are accentuated satisfactorily by the dark roasts. It is low in acidity with a slightly sweet and light finish. San Ignacio coffee is the best option for any fan of dark roasts.
Decaf Cajamarca Coffee
If you are a decaf fan, this is certainly for you. The Decaf Cajamarca coffee originates from the renowned Cajamarca region and is fair trade, organic, and bird-friendly.
This Peruvian coffee is also incredibly creamy and rich with unforgettable notes of chocolate and almond. It has low acidity, and the exceptional finish is sweet. These coffee beans also make highly impressive, great-tasting espressos, meaning that you can enjoy several shots without pumping yourself with an overdose of caffeine.
Peru Approcassi Cajamarca Fair Trade Shade Grown Organic Coffee Beans (Medium Roast (Full City +), 3 Pounds Whole Beans)
This Peruvian coffee is mellow, gentle, and comes with a subtle nutty flavor along with a pleasant natural sweetness unlike no other. You will love to get your hands on this astonishing product from Peru as it is fresh roasted every morning and shipped to its destination in the afternoon! Now, how fresh can this Peruvian coffee be?
Two things contribute significantly to the unparalleled and marvelous taste of this particular Peruvian coffee:
- It is one of the varieties of coffee that is organically cultivated as far back as 1700 AD. The unique technique that the farmers of old used in producing these remarkable coffee beans has been handed down from one generation to the next via word of mouth.
- Modern technology has not interfered with any of the more than 110,000 Peruvian coffee farms in this South American country.
It is the combined influences of these factors that have led to the production of organically-pure Peruvian coffee with a fantastic taste with a full-bodied richness that no other country has been able to replicate.
Fair Trade Organic Peruvian Whole Bean 5 lb. Fresh Roasted Specialty Coffee
This fair-trade 100 percent Peruvian organic coffee is certified by the USDA. It comes in bulk in a 5-pound bag which is full of Arabica coffee whole beans. It is a small batch of roasted specialty coffee that is much loved by many coffee drinkers from around the world.
The entire profits from this remarkable Peruvian coffee are used to assist vulnerable children as well as orphans.
Peru Coffee – Ground Coffee – Freshly Roasted Coffee – Cubico Coffee – 12 Ounce (Single Origen Organic Cenfrocafe Peruvian Coffee)
This is another 100 percent organic Cenfrocafe Peruvian coffee that is grown in the Northern Highlands of Peru. It is a freshly roasted coffee bean that is packed in 12oz bags with one-way lock valves designed to lock in the fresh taste of this fantastic coffee.
These Cubico coffee beans are roasted in small batches with each freshly-roasted bag dated and endorsed by the roasters to guarantee or ensure freshness. The Peruvian coffee has smooth with bright lemon and citrus acidity which is followed closely by toffee and nutty sweetness. It leaves mild herbal notes as an unmistakably enjoyable aftertaste.
The Cubico coffee also exhibits an intense aroma and medium roasted so that it can have an extended shelf life. You will never go wrong with this freshly-roasted coffee from Peru.
Java Planet – Decaf Coffee Peru USDA Organic Coffee Beans, Water Processed, Medium Dark Roast, Arabica Gourmet Coffee Grade A, packaged in 1 LB bag
This is a family-owned – and operated – a brand that assures all their prospective and existing customers of the authenticity of this premium, award-winning quality Peruvian coffee beans. This product is certified USDA organic and is free of genetically modified organisms, i.e., GMO-free and also entirely free from pesticides and chemicals.
The Java Planet Decaf Coffee Peru is composed of the finest, carefully hand-picked Gourmet Organic Arabica Coffee Beans which is roasted in small batches to guarantee its optimum freshness and flavor. This medium-dark roast has a full-bodied taste with distinct notes of walnuts and chocolate.
This Peruvian coffee is packaged in quality bags to preserve its freshness and is certified organic by Americert International.
City Girl Coffee Organic & Fair Trade Single Origin Peru, WHOLE BEAN, Medium Roast, 12 oz Resealable Bag, Sourced from Women-Owned Farms
This USDA fair-trade certified and organic whole bean Peruvian coffee is a delicious, single-origin, and medium-roasted product from the Latin American country. It is a well-balanced satisfying coffee with light acidity.
What makes this Peruvian coffee really interesting is the fact that it is sourced from coffee farms that are run or managed by women as well as co-operatives from all over the world. It is all about empowering women, and this coffee has opened up the channel for such an endeavor.
This means that from the sale of this product, a small portion was set aside and transferred to an organization set up to support and empower women in their countries of origin. This responsible and highly sustainable Minnesota-based coffee company also supports wide-ranging natural agricultural practices that protect the entire environment for upcoming generations of independent coffee farmers.
Pure Peruvian Organic Coffee
This is another superb light to medium roast coffee that is 100 percent USDA certified Peruvian organic coffee. These high-quality, fresh-roasted coffee beans come with subtle traces of chocolate along with a pleasant aroma and nutty character.
In 2018, a fraction of the proceeds earned from this product – and many others produced by this brand – was set aside to be part of the project to rebuild the school in one of the Peruvian coffee-farming communities. There is no doubt that this is the best premium organic coffee on the market today.
Volcanica Coffee (Tres Cumbres)
Volcanica Coffee is one of the industry leaders that is making waves in the coffee-drinking world by providing a great cup of pure Peruvian coffee that has been sourced painstakingly from farms that cultivate the coffee plant in fertile volcanic soil.
Tres Cumbres is sourced from the Chanchamayo region where it is cultivated on the highland slopes of the Andes. It is a medium roasted coffee bean which delivers a complex but rich and full-bodied coffee. It has a light acidity and a bright finish.
Peru Coffee (Sweet Maria’s)
Sweet Maria’s is for people who are interested in green Peruvian coffee beans so that they can make a roast of their own. There is a wide variety of Peruvian green coffees to select or choose from at any time.
But you may have to be very fast because most of their high-quality, carefully selected, micro-lot green coffees are nearly always purchased almost as soon as they arrive in their stores. This is because of the limiting quantity which, in most cases, are sourced from small coffee farms.
Owens Coffee Roasters (Café Tunki)
Owens Coffee Roasters – a coffee company, based in the United Kingdom and committed to providing ethical and high-quality products – are makers of Café Tunki. Café Tunki coffee beans are considered by pundits as one of the best Peruvian coffees in the world at this moment.
These Peruvian coffee beans are sourced from a particular farm that is approved by the Rainforest Alliance and organic certified to ensure authenticity and quality. These coffee beans are micromanaged – i.e., by paying extreme attention to all the small details – every step of the way from the coffee field to production and packaging.
Café Tunki is a single-origin coffee that is dark roasted and gives off a nutty, creamy flavor together with citric acidity and a velvety, chocolatey body.
The Best Way to Roast and Brew Peruvian Coffee Beans
Some people love to roast their own Peruvian coffee beans so that they can create unique-tasting blends all on their own. If you belong to this category of DIY experts and want to experiment by roasting your own coffee beans, here are two things you need to know:
The general mildness of these Peruvian coffees – which is a common characteristic of the majority of the coffees obtained in specific regions in Peru – makes them unique prospects for excellent coffee blends. This is because the gentleness of the coffee beans will never overshadow others that they might be mixed with.
Now, whether you are creating your own distinct blend or choose to allow these single-origin coffee beans to stand on their own, you should know that Peruvian coffee beans are first-rate candidates for a dark or medium roast. Their subtlety can handle the more intense complexity of the darker roasting process.
For instance, the highly regarded and much-loved Café Tunki are dark roasted Peruvian coffee beans, though not too intense. The dark roast is just enough to reveal or draw out the natural constituents of the flavor profile as well as the floral aroma.
Peruvian coffee beans are versatile. Their unassuming, as well as gentle flavor profile, makes them prime candidates for a variety of brewing conditions. What pundits, as well as coffee connoisseurs, recommend when it comes to these gentle beans is to take the dark roast and use it for espresso, drip coffee, Chemex, or any other filter option for an excellent experience.
Additionally, the easy-drinking aspect of a relaxing and incredibly smooth cup of Peruvian coffee makes it a perfect candidate for cream or milk.
Peru Cacao and Chocolate
The same climate conditions that are perfect for growing Peruvian coffee also helps cacao to thrive, i.e., fertile soils, high altitudes, and a tropical climate. The Amazon forest in the Americas is where the majority of varietals originate from. Peruvian cacao is characteristically the criollo varietal which is highly respected and regarded by many genuine chocolatiers around the world.
The Alliance Peru Cacao is the body that oversees the production of Peruvian cacao by working to assist coffee-growing farmers in establishing high standards that will help in marketing the crops while ensuring the long-term practicality of the industry.
Peru cacao – along with Peruvian coffee – represents flagship commodities for Latin American countries.
As you can see, Peruvian coffee is also in a class of its own and is steadily gaining momentum in the coffee universe. So, do not let the attraction of Colombia or Brazil overshadow the lively and distinct taste of Peruvian coffees. There is nothing quite exceptional than adding a cup or two of Peruvian joe to your morning routine.
Gordon is seriously addicted to coffee. He also likes to write. Match made in heaven? Yes. After years of boring casual coffee drinkers to death with bean origin stories, he took to writing publicly here at 2Caffeinated.