Sol y Cafe Coffee Cooperative
The president of Sol Y Cafe showing us different farms from the mountaintop.
Sol y Cafe: Organic Peruvian coffee
Sol y Cafe is an organic cooperative of coffee farming growing remarkable speciality coffee high in the mountains of Peru. Each farm is tiny, with an average of just 300 plants which means working together is essential to access the speciality coffee market.
The cooperative supports the farmers by providing access to an international coffee buying market and also provides equipment and resources which they can use to improve the quality and earning potential of their crop. For example each farmer is given their own coffee pulper and are able to use shared resources.
REMOTE COFFEE GROWING CONDITIONS
When we first visited Sol y Cafe cooperative in Peru, facilities were sparse. An 11-hour drive from Lima on poor quality roads, the coffee farmers on the mountains of Jaen work in some of the remotest growing conditions. Coffee was shuttled down mountains one sack at a time on the back of scooters, then sorted on tarpaulins laid out on the ground.
We were met with mixed reactions. Many farmers were sceptical of our ideas to improve quality, yield and price. Among that, we found pockets of enthusiasm and passion for making coffee better. It was always going to be a big task. But we were hopeful.
Dave walking past coffee drying on tarpaulins in the sun
New coffee plants growing in Sol y Cafe's new coffee nursery
INVESTING IN COFFEE GROWING COMMUNITIES
Since our first visit in 2016, Extract Coffee Roasters has returned to the cooperative each year. As our relationship has grown, the progress is clear to see.
On their most recent trip, Co-founders David and Marc could see the cooperative’s investment back into this community.
New cupping labs and a processing plant are available for farmers and a nursery means farmers can experiment with coffee varietals and grow fruits and vegetables.
Roads are improved and an airstrip means the cooperative is more accessible, making trade far easier. There is even a new medical centre - all funded by the cooperative.
QUALITY-BASED COFFEE PREMIUMS
As cup quality has improved year on year, Extract has been able to invest more in this coffee. When we started working together, we bought just five sacks. Now, we buy over 1000.
We pay additional premiums to separate and package up coffees from particularly high-quality producers that meet a specific flavour profile and quality.
Working this way means that the farmers producing the highest quality coffee are paid accordingly, and also means that here at Extract Coffee Roasters we gain 100% traceability down to farm and lot. This is rare when working with a cooperative.
The dizzying heights of some of the coffee farms we visited. Up to 2050m!
HOW TO BUY SOL Y CAFE PERUVIAN COFFEE
Want to help to support this incredible cooperative and get great coffee in exchange? We source coffee for our Rocket and Organic house coffees from this same smallholder group – you can pick up a bag of Organic Espresso here and also buy some of our Rocket espresso here.
Looking for something on a larger scale? We offer Project Peru cafetière sachets for wholesale buyers weighed into 30g or 60g sachets and ground for cafetiere. All you and your colleagues need to do is open them up and pour them in.
GROWER PROFILE: SOL Y CAFE
|Cooperative: Sol y Cafe||Farmers: Multiple smallholders|
|Varietals: Catimor, Typica, Caturra, Mondo Novo, Bourbon and Catuai|
|Altitude: up to 2050m above sea level|
|Environmental Conservation: USDA Organic, Fairtrade, Rainforest Alliance certified|
|Working with Extract since: 2015|