San Juan de Pueblo Libre, Satipo, Peru – Orange Crunch

This particular lot from Pangoa cooperative in Satipo province is grown by 2 producers who are committed to incredible picking and processing. Avaristo Caysahuana & Nilo Medina Simon are growing Bourbon and Typica and doing a damn good job. They’ve got some beautiful growing conditions too- 1800 and upwards of 2000 meters elevation and a solid 36 hours of fermentation (wet or dry depending on who’s doing the fermenting and their preferences) and up to two weeks on raised beds. They are set up for success, which is a huge achievement for a cooperative to be honest.

Historically, cooperatives in Peru grow big, then invariably they can become divisive at best, and at worst, corrupt. There are examples of institutions that defy that narrative though, Cooperativa Agraria Cafetalera Pangoa is located in central Peru, east of the Andean Mountain range is one of them.

The history of Pangoa is, well, not boring. Established in 1977, Pangoa grew to nearly 1,700 members. Their initial success was due to an internal agreement to set aside 3% of sales to be invested back into the cooperative. Since their inception, Pangoa has embodied the true meaning behind cooperativism — values and infrastructure built on accountability, democracy and solidarity. In contrast, during the early 1980s a guerilla group called the Shining Path began a socio-political upheaval that would last more than a decade. Due to warfare, membership decreased by half as some families fled to bigger cities hopeful to find refuge. It is the tightly woven community of farmers in collaboration with Pangoa’s leading staff and the Peruvian government that has allowed for this coop’s indivisibility through the years until today.

We got this lot from the wonderful people at Red Fox, who are intensely invested in working with coffee growing areas that are underrepresented in specialty. Here’s what they say about Pangoa and working with them today:

“Pangoa is a unique entity; it has become a model relationship for Red Fox. [cooperative leaders, such as] Esperanza has been one of the leading voices of Pangoa for 20 years, among others who have also been representing Pangoa for as long as 15 to 30 years. When we are out in the field visiting farmers, people are excited about the leadership of the cooperative. They are open-minded and progressive.”

This lot from Avaristo Caysahuana & Nilo Medina Simon is a dead ringer for praline with orange zest. It’s sweet and a clear example of why we should be excited about this region.