Finca Chaquimayo | Member of Valle Inca Cooperative
The Farmer: Born in 1987, Manuel has been producing coffee for 18 years on his family’s farm Chaquimayo. The harvest period in this area is between July and September. Ripe cherry is picked then placed in a tank full of water to seperate defects. After separation, cherry is depulped then fermented for 25 hours in water to remove the remainder of the fruit. Clean parchment coffee is dried on raised beds for 14 days.
The Coop: Nestled in the Yanatile Valley in the Department of Cusco in the south of Peru, Valle Inca functions as a producer group, where Prudencio Vargas Saenz, who created and runs the group, buys parchment from farmers, reinvesting premiums in the community’s infrastructure to help them continue to improve quality. Prudencio, who lives in nearby Calca and brings the benefits of his former experience as an agricultural loan officer, used to operate outside the aegis of a collective, but after years of running Valle Inca informally, he formalized the organization this year in order to gain organic certification, Fair Trade certification, and the ability to export on his own.
Member-wise, Valle Inca is growing fast, with 101 farmers currently in the fold. It’s no surprise that more and more farmers want to work with Valle Inca; in the community, Prudencio is known for his honesty, trustworthiness, dedication, and drive to invest and reinvest in his community, genuinely engaging their goals and concerns. He also pays higher prices than farmers had access to prior to the founding of Valle Inca, which has helped to improve quality as well as overall community health over time. Leaders like Prudencio are rare, and the quality of connection between leadership and producer shines through in the cup. At their best, coffees from Valle Inca display elegant honeyed florals, crisp red apple, and a pleasant tannic quality like oolong tea. These coffees cup beautifully, but where they really shine is in a brewed cup off the production roaster, and while they have a lot to offer specialty professionals in the way of nuance, they’re also wonderfully approachable for consumers.