Peru COE #13
Lucio Luque Vásquez
Plum | Cola | Blood Orange
Buy Peru CoE #13 here
The center of gravity in Peru’s coffee sector — and the focus of Intelligentsia’s Direct Trade sourcing program there — has historically been the mountainous north near the country’s border with Ecuador. It produces more coffee, and more specialty coffee, than any other region in Peru. In recent years, however, the rugged and remote Andean regions of Cusco and Puno in southern Peru have stolen the spotlight. Thrilling coffees like this one, and farmers like Lucio Luque Vásquez who grew it, are the reasons why.
Vásquez had been growing coffee for barely 10 years before his crop was wiped out in 2014 by an outbreak of coffee leaf rust, a fungus that arrived in the Americas more than 40 years ago, but only recently began affecting high-grown Arabica due to climate change. Instead of throwing in the towel altogether, or opting for rust-resistant varieties to hedge his risk of another calamitous loss, he doubled down on quality. He found a lot with better growing conditions at a soaring elevation of over 2100 meters above sea level. And he planted two varieties celebrated not for their disease resistance but their flavor: Geisha, descended directly from wild a Ethiopian landrace, and SL-09, a Bourbon selection from Kenya.
Under the watchful eye of Vásquez and his family, these outsiders have thrived in their new home: the Geisha placed second in Peru’s 2019 Cup of Excellence, and this SL-09 lot took 13th place in the 2020 CoE. Southern Peru won’t match northern Peru’s volumes anytime soon, but as long as growers like Lucio Luque Vásquez remain committed to quality and produce rare coffees like this one near the heart of the ancient Inca empire, it will fire the imaginations of coffee lovers everywhere.
— Michael Sheridan
Director of Sourcing and Shared Value