El Cautivo (La Coipa)
Harvest in El Cautivo spans from June to August. Coffee processing techniques in the region are tried and tested methods of production, often passed down through the generations. The process begins with the cherries being selectively handpicked, before being floated in cool clean water to remove any low-density cherries. Next, the coffee is pulped: each producer has their own de pulper located on the farm, often close to the house or main building. Once the coffee has been de-pulped, the beans are placed in a wet fermentation tank for around 36 hours, depending on the climate. The coffee is then washed three times to remove all remaining mucilage, drain any excess water, before finally placing the beans on raised beds to dry. Here, the beans will remain for around 15-20 days, depending on the level of rain.
Coffee was introduced to Peru in the mid-18th century via neighbouring Ecuador but was not commercially exported until the late 19th century. Production was only increased significantly after the turn of the 20th century, when Peru’s default on a loan owed to the British Government saw over two million hectares of land transferred to Britain (under the name of ‘The Peruvian Country’) as a repayment. A full quarter of this was put under agricultural production, including coffee, and it was at this point that export trade began in earnest.