Coop Coffees' Trip to Peru
From May 25 to June 2, members and representatives of Cooperative Coffees went to Peru to visit the producer partners’ installations and communities, to meet the staff and to learn about coffee processing, products and outgoing projects. Basically, the trip consisted of two parts: a visit with CEPICAFE and a visit with CENFROCAFE. Each part of the tour included a presentation, coffee cupping, a visit out to the farms and discussions about quality and coffee supply.
The main objectives of this trip were to allow roaster members to visit the producers with whom they maintain commercial relationships, to observe their internal organizations and to verify the quality verifications systems. Cooperative Coffees expects that this trip will improve the relationships between Fair Trade coffee importers and producers.
Melissa Evans-Glenn (Conscious Coffees), María (Café Rico) and Keith Tomlinson (Peace Coffee), Glenn Lathrop (Desert Sun) and T.J. Semanchin (Kickapoo) with clients from their respective roasting businesses, along with Monika Firl (CoopCoffees) with her daughter Kamila participated in this trip.
Keith Tomlinson from Peace Coffee told us a little bit about his experience in Peru: “My main goal in going to Peru was to gain insight into the association that we purchase coffee from. As a company it is a priority that we spend time traveling to every cooperative that we purchase coffee from. Cenfrocafe has been one of our (Peace Coffee) favorite coffees as of late.”
Despite the fact that Keith missed the meetings with producers in Montero due to a day of high-fever, he considers that the trip met and surpassed his expectations. “Being there certainly hit home the importance of and the uniqueness of what Cooperative Coffees does,” Keith said. He will be writing an article about his experience and give presentations in the Minneapolis area on the impact of Fair Trade in Peru.
The rest of the delegation agreed - the trip was a resounding success - to a great extent thanks to the excellent planning and support provided by CEPICAFE’s Santiago Paz and Javier Dominguez and by CENFROCAFE’s Teodomiro Mendez and Elmer Pena. This was an action-packed and participatory itinerary with something for everybody... even Kamila had an obvious blast with Santiago’s daughters Elena and Rosario.
Day by Day:
The trip started with a visit of CEPICAFE’s installations in Piura, in the northwest of Peru. After a meeting with the staff at the offices of CEPICAFE and a very complete overview of their operations and plans, the group visited the sugar packaging operation – and important first step in CEPICAFE’s plan for product diversification.
EARLY the following morning, the crew travelled to the city of Jaén to meet with CENFROCAFE’s staff and do a radio interview and the local radio station (Radio Maranon).
A farmer’s visit was planned on May 28th, wherein the CoopCoffees delegation travelled to Chinchiquilla to meet the producers, their board of directors and their communities. CoopCoffees was greeted by an overwhelming producer assembly – with more than 100 representatives from the surrounding community level coops – and yet another sumptuous meal! It was an excellent opportunity to see work in progress in the fields, early harvest and speak with producers about their accomplishments and challenges.
On May 29th the delegation went back to Jaen for a look at CENFROCAFE’s step by step process for quality control. We met a class of aspiring young quality controllers and coffee cuppers and participated in cupping sessions with their internal team.
Back in Piura we were met by a press conference at the recently constructed Norandino processing plant and yet another cupping session of both washed and unwashed coffees from CEPICAFE farmers in the Piura region.
June 1 and 2, we visited Montero to discuss directly our “special project” to re-activate the traditional un-washed processing in the region and to learn about an on-going diversification projects of cultivating and processing organic, raw-sugar and to witness the early stages of their eco-tourism project.