December 19, 2008

Departmento San Martin - Peruvian Coffee Frontier

Willem Boot and I just returned from another hop to the coffee jungle. This time our travels took us to the San Martin Department, the birthplace of my coffee experiences 11 years ago.

We spent two days with the Oro Verde Cooperative, in Llamas, discussing their development plans with the general manager Hiderico Volcan. Their project is interesting as more than half their coffee comes from the indigenous communities of the Chankas.

Our second day we had the privilege to cup some tasty late harvest coffees with Miker and Hugo, their two recently certified Q Graders. The coffees from Roque stood out with their full purple grape and wine notes.

Onto the "tierra santa" of Moyobamba we met with regional government officials and organizations. I was impressed to see how the regional government is being progressively assertive in the coffee industry, where the national government is completely absent. This change from years past is as impressive as San Martin's growth, which now represents more than 20% of Peruvian coffee and is on track to pass 25% in 2009.

This region is the wild west of the coffee frontier with thousands of coffee families moving into the San Martin jungle each year. There's no doubt in my mind that San Martin will be producing more than 40% of Peruvian coffee in the next 5-10 years. Currently their at 1 million bags, much more than many famous coffee nations.

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