Segundo Ruiz Salvador
Finca La Florida
Dried apple, apricot and date.
As self-diagnosed coffee obsessives, we always look for new and exciting coffees to bring to the table. This means a lot of tasting and comparing, with varied responses and sometimes divided opinions (but never arguments!). Our Peruvian cupping this year was a revelation, with all cuppers unanimously notching Segundo Salvadors organic micro lot in the top spot.
In the cup: A light apricot acidity pairs beautifully with smooth, dried red apple notes in the middle palate. This slightly rounds out on the back, allowing room for a sweet, sticky date finish.
The man behind the bean: Segundo Ruiz Salvador is the proud owner of the 11-hectare, where he dedicates 8 hectares to cultivating his exquisite organic Yellow Caturra microlot.
Coffee in Peru: Coffee and Peru have had a complex and challenging past. Although our favourite little bean arrived in Peru around 1750, it was mainly consumed domestically. It was only when a supply chain shift presented an opportunity for Peru to get its foot in the door and place it on the world coffee map.
What changed? Indonesia had long been the heavy hitter supplying vast amounts of coffee to the ever-bean-hungry Europe. But in the late 1800s, a leaf rust epidemic halted production and massively slowed down bean production. With European importers looking further afield to fill the gap, their eyes fell on Peru.
This coincided with the Peruvian government defaulting on a loan from the British government. As part of the debt settlement, Peru gave Britain over 2 million hectares of land, which was quickly used for upping agricultural exports. Significant investment from the Brits saw coffee production and quality grow into a staple crop export. This significant increase in volume demanded an increased labour force, bringing many indigenous Peruvian highlanders into the coffee fields. But these geopolitical factors were soon to change in a big way!
A post-war shift: Britain's post-war weakening and a political shift away from traditional colonialist ideals saw many British and Europeans sell off large landholdings. The Peruvian government purchased much of its land back and reallocated much of this previously owned British land to thousands of local farmers. This paved the way for independent farmers and indigenous highlanders to reclaim a piece of land they had once worked for someone else and start to work it for themselves. This saw a shift from large plantations to the familiar smallholder farmer-owned operations we know today.
In the face of much political turmoil, coffee governance was forced to restructure itself away from single producers and towards organised Cooperatives. These coops facilitated more significant economies of scale for processing, milling and transport, as well as increasing collective bargaining, which endures to this day. Throughout the 70s, Co-ops exported 80% of Peru's production, marking a considerable change from how coffee was previously exported.
Ethical sourcing: Ethical sourcing policies revitalised smallholder coffee farming in the 90s and helped provide much-needed investment and infrastructure. With an increased demand for ethically traded ecological coffees, Peru's coffee has improved in every sense of the word.
Together, we directly support a farmer, his family and his community for a more transparent and brighter future.