In 2007 Counter Culture embarked on a new, more-transparent model of sourcing in northern Peru. We began focusing on coffee from five communities in the high-elevation areas of Ihuamaca, just outside of San Ignacio. These relationships are some of the longest-running for us anywhere in the world. Through many changes in this region since those early days, producers’ dedication to quality and environmental stewardship has remained steady. Look for balanced notes of vanilla, plum, and chocolate.
Bourbon, Pache, Caturra
Through early-March 2022
In the early 2000s, the reputation of coffee from Peru was based more on large volumes of production rather than high quality. The cooperative Central Fronteriza Del Norte De Cafetaleros (CENFROCAFE), based in the northern Peruvian town of Jaén, set out to change this. In 2006, CENFROCAFE started to gain attention for their quality. That same year, when Counter Culture first tasted coffee from the cooperative, we were immediately hooked.
We furthered our partnership with CENFROCAFE in 2007 by implementing a unique transparency contract, which focused our sourcing on five communities: Alto Ihuamaca, Bajo Ihuamaca, Las Mercedes, Francisco Bolognesi, and Alto Bolognesi. From the inception of this project, one moment stands out in particular. During a meeting with the members of these communities, everyone collaborated and voted to name the coffee from the project "Valle del Santuario" after the national park that neighbors many of these communities’ farms.
Much has changed in the region since our project began. The construction of a regional airport in Jaén and the return of Peru’s Cup of Excellence program has brought many new coffee traders to the market, along with heightened competition. Through it all, CENFROCAFE’s growth has exploded and they are now the largest cooperative in the country. Recently, the cooperative has renewed their commitment to quality, offering a wide range of programs to support its members in the field. This year, Valle del Santuario is anchored predominantly by lots from the community of Union Las Mercedes, along with smaller lots from producers in the remaining four communities.