Within the Alto Mayo protected forest lies Coopbam, the association that drew us into the North after years of exclusive work in the South. Alto Mayo, which spans the border between the San Martin and Amazonas departments of Northern Peru, is home to a huge cross-section of native Peruvian wildlife as well as some of the country’s last undiscovered coffee. We were initially brought into the area as part of the Alto Mayo Conservation Initiative funded by Conservation International in an attempt to save the native coffee production, and we’ve never looked back.
In our first year, we bought 30-40 bags of solid coffee, nothing mind-bending, but we came back, excited for a second year. As leader Hugo pushed further and further into the forest on the Amazonas side, the coffees got better and better. This area has a very special climate, with crisp cold nights and temperate days that are ideal for coffee production, as well as an abundance of old typica, caturra, and bourbon, working with the microclimate to produce a beautiful cup.
From the sweeter, balanced cups with finer levels of acidity found at Alto Mayo’s lower altitudes (around 1500-1700 masl) to the elegant, ethereal coffees produced at its higher reaches (exceeding 1800-1900 masl), Coopbam offers the full dynamism for which Peru coffees are famous. These coffees are big, juicy, and round, super sweet with a heavy mouthfeel. They bring a fine, apple-like acidity and dark fruit flavor, as well as a completeness and structure.
In Bongará, the harvest season begins in July and ends in October. The soil is replenished with Bokashi style fertilizer and prepared with food waste, coffee pulp, sugarcane stalks, microorganisms from fertile soils, and guano from the islands. After depulping, cherry is transferred into wooden basins to ferment on the same day. Once fermentation is completed, parchment is washed with clean water, then placed onto raised beds under a roofed structure with transparent sheeting. Moisture content and water activity are constantly monitored and dried to 10.5%-11% and 0.56 aW.