Farm: La Guayaba
Varietal: Typica & Caturra
Processing: Fully washed & dried on raised beds
Altitude: 1,900 metres above sea level
Owner: Daniel Linares
Town / City: Santo Tomas - Cutervo
Daniel Linares Carrasco, La Guayaba – Organic - Peru
Every year, Mercanta send a member of the team out to Peru to select the very best lots of new crop to add to our offering. This 2019 lot hails from the newly formed association, Alpes Andinos, located high in Peru’s Cajamarca region. Through extensive cupping, Daniel Carrasco’s farm, La Guayaba, has been singled out as one of the top producing plots in the region.
Daniel’s farm is located in Santo Tomas; perched at over 1900m above sea level and around 100km from the association’s headquarters in Jaen. Daniel inherited his farm from his parents and like so many producers in this region, has been producing coffee all his life, utilising the invaluable skills passed down by his parents and grandparents. The farm La Guayaba (translated in English as ‘The Guava’), is named after the fruit trees that thrive there. This is often the case in the region. Farm names will be symbolic, referring to characterisable trees or features that help distinguish the farm. Although other produce is grown, coffee cultivation is Daniel’s sole means of income; all other fruits of his labour are for personal consumption.
Daniel’s two varieties are Typica & Caturra, both of which are suitable for high altitude farming. Consistent tree pruning is conducted to maintain the quality of the crop. Farmers work in 15-year rotations, focusing on each variety individually. When a plant reaches its 15-year life cycle, it will be dramatically cut back via a method of ‘Zoqueo’ (cutting the stems back to just 30 centimetres from the ground, in order to stimulate the growth of young shoots). In preparation for this event, trees of the same variety are planted two years in advance, maintaining the supply of mature cherry for a consistent harvest.
Soil analysis is regularly conducted with fertiliser applied in March and after the harvest in November. For Fertiliser, Daniel uses a mix of compost and ‘guano de las Islas’, meaning guano from the islands. Located just off the coast of Peru are a collection of small islands, home to large sea bird populations. These birds produce large amounts of excrement, or, guano, which settles on the ground as a nutrient-rich top layer. Guano is collected on the island and transported to the mainland to be used as a fertiliser.
Daniel’s harvest spans from July to October. Coffee processing begins with the cherries being selectively handpicked, before being sorted by hand into ripe and overripe. Once sorted, the coffee is pulped; each producer has their own mechanical de pulper located on the farm, often close to the house. Once the coffee has been depulped, the beans are placed in a wet fermentation tank for around 40 hours. Next, the coffee is washed in a separate fermentation tank three times, before finally placed on raised beds to dry for around a month (25-30 days) depending on local rainfall.
Although Daniel’s current crop of Typica & Caturra is already producing a great cup, Daniel is considering cultivating another 2 hectares of geisha. The drive to develop great coffee is one promoted by the association; believing that producing great quality, leads to producer empowerment and wider benefits for all coffee families.