Last March, during the SXSW (multiplatform meeting in Texas and devoted to innovation and development), the Peruvian Harrysson Neira prepared and served coffee for visitors from all over the planet. Hundreds of cups a day. The barista, however, had not considered meeting before a recurring question: "In Peru there are coffee? "There is a lot and the problem is that we Peruvians do not take it.
In 2013, the Ministry of Agriculture 22 from every August as the Official day of Peruvian coffee. It is possible that this is the most important agricultural export product of our country and that the production chain employs more than two million people. We have even become the first organic coffee exporter in the world, but Mexico has overtaken us in recent years. PromPerú presented the brand at the beginning of the month Cafés of Peru, with the aim of consolidating its position abroad thanks to the diversity, the specialty and the origin of our cereals. It is an important step. Especially when the international market is not the most favorable for the coffee industry: the prices of coffee on the stock market have dropped to the lowest level in a decade this week. That affects us all: from Colombia to Peru. But let's start for what happens at home.
"The Peruvian consumes and thinks he is a coffee farmer," says Harrysson Neira. "But if you see what you consume, you notice that 70% of that product is imported", adds the barista and owner of a laboratory -Neira Café Lab-, which almost involves the whole chain: toast on the grains, prepares mixtures for and even has its own containers. The remaining 30%, says Harrysson, is divided between second class coffee or elaborated with discards, and "a little bit of special coffee, which is served in coffee shops, but these do not represent anything." There is work in progress.
1. You do not like what you do not know
If we want to talk about it Peruvian coffeeit is necessary to start by knowing what Peruvian coffee is. The taster and burner David Torres Bisetti explains that defining a single profile is in fact "a naive pretext". "You have so many characteristics, with so many variables, that it is impossible to form a single flavor," he says. However, it is possible to define properties that have to do with the width in which it grows. "Because of the geographical location of Peru, the coffee always has citrus notes, the acidity notes are very characteristic," adds Torres. "When you taste it, Peruvian coffee shows it: grapefruit, citrus flowers, some have notes of jasmine (such as coffee Tunki, Puno) or herbs like cedar," he says. Magnificent.
2. Land of all
There are three regions where coffee grows in our country. In the north, Cajamarca, Amazonas and San Martín. In the center, Pasco, Junín and Huánuco. And in the south, Ayacucho, Cusco and Puno. "It is important that the Peruvians start to find the origin of special coffee", continues Torres Bisetti.
3. Heard the barista
"We are not the" coffee growers "or those who" prepare the coffee. "This is a profession," said Francisco García, barista and owner of the Master Coffee Peru burner (in addition to opening from Café Modo Cafe). In general, the barista specializes in the development of coffee drinks and works with high-quality parties. In reality, the possibilities have expanded considerably. "We have come a long way and the consumer has learned to listen to basic concepts, such as not adding sugar," says García. "There is also a more open mentality and people are betting on something more than American coffee or milk." When it comes to coffee, we are looking for experiences today.
4. Theory of the & # 39; tree & # 39;
"From our point of view, the coffee can soon become a new protagonist of the culinary tree to no longer be a supplement ", says Harrysson Neira.Links – even more – coffee and gastronomy is an obligatory task.In this sense, collaboration with chefs becomes fundamental." closer cooperation with them in the search for origin and the development of mixtures (mixtures) for their tables, "explains Neira, the creative process knows no boundaries here.
The work with coffee in the majority includes producers 'or cooperatives' organizations. "Usually it is associations or cooperative centers – as is the case with Sandia, in Puno-, but there is also a production that is in fact family, from producers that are not associated," explains the taster David Torres. Each has a certain number of hectares (on average from 1 to 5) and a limited capacity. The harvest usually starts in April and ends in October.
6. With the right name
A direct consequence of this chain is the identification of each coffee according to his producer. "Every time you find more lots with different characteristics than conventional organic," says barista Harrysson Neira. "The names of the producers are coming down and there is recognition for them, they know that their coffee is worth it." It's a situation that benefits everyone: our coffee is recognized, as well as a special coffee. From Peru to the world.
7. Hot, hot
When the harvest is over (the coffee plants produce red-maroon cherry trees, but they can also be yellow), the fruits are mashed and fermented for 8 to 18 hours. Then comes the washing, drying and threshing (when the bowl is removed). Once all this has happened, the beans finally reach the toaster. This step is the key. "It is roasted according to the requirements for each lot", continues Torres Bisetti. "What is roasting, the chemical material of the green grain transforms into more than a thousand compositions of flavors and flavors that have been identified in coffee," he explains. It can be done by hand with wood in rural areas, but it usually happens in a toaster running on gas.
8. I invite your coffee
Methods for the development of coffee in a specialized space they become as much as the available varieties. Nothing is left to chance. "We can work with all traditional methods, from the Italian mocha to the Chemex," explains Francisco García. "Each method gives you a different experience and taste, even if the coffee has the same origin". García only uses a Junín coffee (produced by the Huachurunto family) for coffee that carries milk, for example. "It has notes of chocolate, caramel and nuts, and by integrating it with the milk, there are notes of delicacies or hazelnuts". Ay.
9. Do not like to go for a cup?
Harrysson Neira goes right to the point (never better said): the first step to a pleasant experience in the comfort of your home is to obtain a windmill. "Home ground coffee is like buying lemon that has already been crushed for your ceviche," he says bluntly. Well. The best home method? "The French press", adds Neira. Avoid using sugar and keep your coffee in an airtight container and in a dark and dry place. "You also have to take production data into account", Harrysson concludes. "Coffee retains 100% of its aromatic and flavored properties for up to 21 days, then it goes down." Bring the water to a boil.