In his obsessive quest for top lots and to improve the national reputation for specialty, Rony also established a roaster-retail operation in Jaén, called Picorana Coffee Roasters. In addition to excellent brewed Peurvian-grown-coffee drinks, the café at Picorana also offers semi-regular public cuppings to increase the recognition and appreciation for specialty coffee domestically. This type of in-country marketing for specialty coffee is growing in popularity and can be an effective way to keep some of the coffee economy closer to home rather than relying solely on exports for specialty-coffee dollars.
Speaking of specialty-coffee, Rony’s collaborator in forming Lima Coffees, Gilmer Cordova, splits his time between association leadership and running his family’s farm, Finca Ecológica Agua Colorada, which took 6th place in the first Perú CoE in 2017 with a score of 89.77. (Cafe Imports won that lot in the auction, in conjunction with a few of our customers who had visited Gilmer and his family.) Finca Ecológica is just what its name implies, too: The 7-hectare certified-organic farm is a testament to the Cordova family’s commitment to quality not only in the cup but also in the soil and in their way of life. The farm is covered by indigenous shade trees and the coffee is fertilized using guano. There are no herbicides used at all.
That kind of attention and environmental consideration are some of the things Perú is gaining more and more recognition for: Nationally, more than 30 percent of the coffee farms are certified organic, making it the second-highest organic-certified producer in the world. There are also strong ties among producers thanks to large numbers of cooperative associations. This is an advantage that Perú has over its neighbor countries, Piero says. “In Colombia you can’t get much organic, so definitely the fact that Perú has more organic is a big thing. Also, most of the coffee, or a big chunk of the coffee, is from cooperatives—something that is not very common in Colombia and Brazil or most countries in Central America.”