Cooperativa Agraria Rutas del Inca is a new smallholders cooperative with a peculiar origin story. It is not located in the main coffee producing regions of Peru, and is the by-product of local mining companies' efforts to improve relationships with the local communities after successful protest against these companies' malpractices. Rutas received substantial financial support from the local mine to organise its farmers in setting up new farm plots, plant high quality varieties (bourbon, pache, typica) and buy equipment to farmers to wash and ferment their coffees. Field extension officers have been hired to support producers in improving production techniques, while a quality control lab was established to evaluate green coffee quality. The micro-climate, the soil richness and select coffee varieties, make Rutas del Inca an incredibly distinct cup.
This is our first coffee to be offered in partnership with Sara Morocchi, an experienced green trader who has turned from buying and selling uncountable containers of coffee to only a handful of bags of beans that she has a personal connection with. Her expertise and knowhow have aided This Side Up's quality control immensely in the past years - and now we decided to partner up and introduce this Peruvian jewel to the European market.
Typica, Caturra, Pache, Bourbon
1,800 - 2,400 meters above sea level
One of only few specialty coffees to come out of the region of Chota in Central Peru. Organic and fair trade certified.
fully washed: hand picked, depulped, home processed (washed, fermented for 12-20 hours, sun dried on raised beds in solar tents (20% on concrete patios)) and dry-milled professionally.
all our coffees are shipped in GrainPro inner bags.
light roasts highlight complex acidities and a silky mouthfeel, while darker roasts develop a characteristically full body and sugars reminiscent of dried fruit.
"Tropical fruit and strawberry notes with citric acidity. Lingering mouthfeel and velvety finish."
Sara Morocchi, Vuna Origin Consulting
PRICE breakdown (EUR/KG)
the price you pay for this coffee p/kg. This Side Up pays €6,40 straight to the Argote family. From this, they pay for the harvest, wet- and dry milling and local transport of the coffee, and retain around 2 x the price they would receive from the open market.
€6,40 + €0,45 +
the price we pay Juan Pablo Argote for his green (milled) coffee. It is quite rare to pay the export price straight to a smallholder grower. The extra €0,45 is a special This Side Up premium that in 2015 financed 50% of a new hulling machine. This made it possible for the Argote family to take control of the entire local value chain. In 2016, they spent their premium on raised drying beds and a trip to Holland to connect to their coffee's roasters and fans.
The cost of living in Colombia went up by 5,5% between seasons, so we raised the price paid to the Argote family by this much.
total shipping costs from Buenaventura to Rotterdam.
This Side Up margin and expense coverage. Around 19% of the total price. Costs include sending samples, sales costs, travel and other company expenses.
Pictures by Nick Levin and Aukje Simone van Rossum
CONTACT RUTAS DEL INCA
CONTACT Sara Morocchi
TEL +51 94754487
Jr. 28 de julio Nº 335, Querocoto, Chota, Peru
ABOUT RUTAS DEL INCA
Rutas del Inca is a new and energetic small hoders cooperative established in 2013. in the heart of Cajamarca region (central Peru), the cooperative is comprised on 258 members of which 30 are women.
Despite being a new cooperative, what led to the formation of Rutas del Inca is deeply rooted in the history of the country. Peru was conquered by the Spanish Empire in the 16th. Under the leadership of Francisco Pizarro, the Spaniards set out to destroy the Inca empire and take over the natural and mineral resources. Pizarro was particularly intrigued by the amount of silver and gold the local chiefs wore. He and his men quickly adopted tactics to influence and coerce the local chiefs to lead them where gold was plentiful.
These events marked the beginning of organised efforts to exploit and deprive the country of its very own mineral resources. Over a few centuries, perpetrators of this exploitation efforts changed names and nationalities. Colonial establishments have since then been replaced by modern mining conglomerates setting up operations all over the country.
Cajamarca - where Rutas del Inca cooperative is located - has been the playground of a few very powerful mining companies. In the 1980s and 1990s, these companies have been heavily involved in negotiations and treaties with the national government, and were often subject involved in political and corruption scandals. To date, mining companies are trying to improve relationships with the local communities by investing in social and economic programmes aimed to support the local population. Rutas del Inca is the by-product of one of such initiatives. The Choto district - where Rutas famers are located - was new to coffee production. Most agricultural activities centred around potato production and livestock. Coffee was identified as a new cash crop that could strengthen opportunities for locals to diversify income and be part of value added agricultural supply chains.
Rutas received substantial financial support from the local mine to organise its farmers in setting up new farm plots, plant high quality varieties (bourbon, pache, typica) and provide equipment to farmers to wash and ferment their coffees. Field extension officers have been hired to support producers in improving production techniques, while a quality control lab was established to evaluate green coffee quality. The micro-climate, the soil richness and select coffee varieties, make Rutas del Inca an incredibly distinct cup.
As a result of this support, the coop's processing has become reliable and well-timed. Specifically, the coffee is fully washed (80% home processing), cherries are sorted by individual farmers, soaked in water to remove floaters and later on hand pulped. The washed process takes place the very same say cherries are picked. Parchment is fermented in small cement tanks for about 12-20 hrs depending on altitude, temperature and overall weather conditions, and then dried on raised beds inside solar tents. A smaller percentage of coffee (20%) is dried on covered patios. On select days, the coop is set to collect parchment from members. The coop established three criteria for parchment selection: 1) only 12% moisture content, 2) physical analysis conducted on the farm and 3) green coffee grading and payment upon completion of physical and green grading analysis at collection site. Finally, the parchment is milled at the Frontera Processing Plant in Chiclayo, Northern Peru. It ships from the port of Paita.
Rutas plays a special role in my coffee history too. A few years back - while working for a US based specialty coffee importer - Peru represented a very strategic origin for my company. In an effort to give impulse to new and “up-and-coming” groups, we decided to expand our producer portfolio and focus on new groups that had very high “quality” potential. On the cupping table, a sample from Rutas immediately stood out. It was clear that this organisation had something different to offer, and a first coffee quality pilot was launched. Moving to Amsterdam, I noticed that only few roasters were carrying single origins Peru lots in their offering. I sought the opportunity to change this trend by working with Rutas on a micro-lot pilot for our European roaster clients. Back in Peru, I am lucky to have friends like Oscar Gonzales - who has worked with me in the past - helping mesource the coffeeand facilitating conversations. I feel that the first lot I move independently had to be done in collaboration with people that I regard as colleagues and friends. Hence this pilot started.
- Sara Morocchi, Vuna Origin Consulting
or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org to ask for availability or samples