This summer, Volcano's Head of Product, Nick, and Head of Roasting, James, took a trip to Peru to visit the farmers of the ACPC Pichanaki Cooperative, who grow the beans in our Fullsteam Espresso.
The ACPC Cooperative is an organisation of small coffee producers, set up in May 2000. They provide technical assistance and training services for a group of some 270 producers in Junín, Central Peru.
Volcano started working with ACPC in 2014. In four years we have bought2,717 sacksfrom the Cooperative - that's nearly190 tonnes of coffee!
Nick and James visited the Cooperative to meet up with the farmers - to look for ways to tighten the supply chain between us and them, and ways to add more value to our relationship with them.
We visited the José Galvez district where over half the community are involved in coffee. Working with the Cooperative has allowed them to build acentralised wet mill in the town, where farmers can sell their cherries for processing before drying for 21 days on covered, raised beds to increase quality and consistency.
We have high-quality green coffee on the water at José Galvez already which will go into our Fullsteam Espresso. We'll be looking to build a long-term relationship with the farmers in this district and invest back into the community.
The cost of coffee production in Peru is very high, due mostly to the high labour costs. In response we've seen some farmers abandoning coffee to grow other crops.
Our response? We offer a fixed-price model for buying coffee from the Cooperative which is not linked to the market value. This incentivises farmers to keep their crops and gives them a fair price for their coffee.
We've asked some of the ACPC farmers we work with to separate their lots, to achieve some new, distinct and premium products - this means that we will be able to offer Peruvian micro-lots in the future!
One of the micro-lots we secured is a new 2-bag lot from Julio Cardenas Cruz, who saved up for 20 years to buy his three-hectare farm. This is the first production of the trees he planted three years ago - an experimental hybrid created in response to climate change and leaf rust.
On their last day in Lima, Nick and James cupped some great coffees from the Jaen province in northern Peru. They selected an outstanding lot from the Alto Cajamarca association - a group of 43 male and 17 female coffee growers. In the future, we'll be putting this coffee towards creating some new bespoke blends...