Touring with the Cedros Cooperative in Peru
Updated: Jan 21, 2022
ElevaFinca’s U.S. Sales Representative, Jon Ferguson was asked to visit with team members based in Jaen, Peru in late September. During his visit, he reported on the ongoing progress with the dry milling operations opening in Jaen, and also learned more about the alliance of cooperatives that works within the ElevaFinca network. This article will provide his reflection on the most recent visit to Jaen, providing updates on the Café Selva Norte state-of-the-art dry milling operations, along with his experiences touring the Cedros Cooperative warehouse, cupping lab, and field visits to several of their longstanding members.
Touring with Cedros by Jon Ferguson:
While Covid-19 vaccinations are becoming more readily available and testing labs are prevalent in Jaen, the decision to formally introduce myself as ElevaFinca’s US Representative to the team based in Jaen was scheduled for late September. Peru is a country that has taken a toll with the virus, and precautions have been very well-acknowledged and respected. Upon arriving at the airport in Lima, there is a mandatory double-mask requirement in place, including the sanitization of hands and luggage upon entry to the Lima and Jaen airports. Additionally, most restaurants in Jaen have established hand washing and sanitization entry points, which have become respected and customary.
In the field, more care was needed, as there is less access to vaccination and testing sites, justifying the need to consider wearing masks while visiting with producers and community members, even while most discussions were taken place outside.
Touring the dry mill showed that the equipment was fully operational and running with the ability to increase capacity rapidly. The future cupping lab and offices are almost completed. It is an exciting time at the Café Selva Norte (CSN) dry mill, as this has been a huge undertaking to establish this unique dry milling project. The results are coming in with signs that expedited shipping and quality control mechanisms are more customized to meet the needs and specs of each cooperative and customer milling their coffee with CSN.
The Cedros Coffee Cooperative hosted myself and several clients from Europe to become more familiar with the operations and quality control mechanisms established within Cedros Coop. The main warehouse is located in Jaen, with a modern cupping lab and storage facility which allows for a pleasant experience for the delivery of coffee by their members. The quality control team is managed by highly experienced staff, who remain very active during the final months of harvest and coffee deliveries to Jaen.
(Left to right : Delci Yurith Moreno Yajahuanca, Yolanda Davila Cerdan, and Mariela Neira Chininin.)
Field visits followed with a few remote trips to demonstrate the work members have done with the implementation of coffee agroforestry systems. Our guide, Yober Sembrera, of the Cedros Coffee Cooperative invited our group to his farm to showcase the newly planted shade trees and reforestation efforts that are currently protecting his freshwater supply. He showed how these efforts have provided a clean and lush microshed, resting at a higher elevation above 1800masl. We continued onward to his field for a demonstration of how his cherries are harvested and transported down the mountain. Yober uses a unique system of PVC tubing, sending cherries down the mountain for washing later in the evening hours.
In addition to the field tours, cupping with ElevaFinca’s team allowed us to become further calibrated on cup quality standards and discuss the expectations on scoring attributes and interpretation of flavors and quality.
This was the first time traveling abroad since the pandemic began in March of 2020. The new realities for global coffee travel are unique and often challenging, mirroring similar precautions and preparation which have been in place for several other coffee growing regions, such as where yellow fever vaccinations and fumigation of airline carriers are required upon entry. The pandemic has changed the frequency and forms of communication throughout the coffee supply chain. What I have learned from this latest experience is to savor every moment, pay attention to details, and deeply respect communities that have opened their doors to share their personal experiences.
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