Peru Cusco coffee, pronounced as "PEH-roo COOS-koh," is a unique and rich coffee grown in the Cusco region of southern Peru. Located in the Andes Mountains, the region has an altitude ranging between 1,200 to 2,000 meters above sea level. Cusco is not only known for its coffee but is also the gateway to the ancient Incan city of Machu Picchu, one of the world's most famous archaeological sites.
Coffee was first introduced to the Cusco region in the late 19th century. The high altitude and fertile soil of the region provided ideal conditions for coffee cultivation. Over time, coffee production became an important part of Cusco's economy, with many small-scale farmers relying on the crop for their livelihood. Today, coffee from Cusco is well-regarded in the specialty coffee industry for its unique flavor profile and exceptional quality.
In the Cusco region, coffee is primarily grown by small-scale farmers on plots of land that are often less than 3 hectares in size. The coffee plants are typically shade-grown, which helps to preserve the natural biodiversity of the region and provides habitat for wildlife. This method of shade-grown coffee also contributes to the unique flavor profile of the beans, as the plants grow more slowly and develop complex flavors.
While specific processing methods may vary between farms in the Cusco region, the majority of coffee is wet-processed. This involves removing the outer pulp of the coffee cherry and fermenting the remaining beans in water for a set period, usually between 12 and 48 hours. The beans are then washed and spread out to dry in the sun. Wet processing is known to produce clean and bright flavors in coffee, which is characteristic of Peruvian coffee.
Coffees from the Cusco region are known for their bright acidity, medium body, and complex flavor profile. Common tasting notes for Cusco coffee include red fruit, such as raspberry and cherry, as well as floral and citrus notes. The coffee also often exhibits a pleasant sweetness, with hints of chocolate, caramel, or toffee. The unique combination of flavors in Cusco coffee makes it a highly sought-after specialty coffee by enthusiasts and professionals alike.
One notable farm in the Cusco region is Tunki Coffee, located in the Puno district. The farm, owned by the Aymara indigenous community, has gained recognition for its commitment to sustainable farming practices and exceptional coffee quality. Tunki Coffee has won multiple awards at national and international coffee competitions, highlighting the potential of Cusco coffee in the specialty coffee industry.
Overall, the Cusco region of Peru offers an exceptional coffee experience with its unique flavors and rich history. The dedication of the region's small-scale farmers to preserving traditional farming methods and the natural environment ensures that Cusco coffee remains a high-quality and sustainable choice for coffee lovers worldwide.