As with so many other national products, coffee has its own day of celebration in Peru. Since 2008 the last Friday of August is dedicated to Peruvian coffee and promoted with tastings, fairs and special offers.
Peru’s coffee history
Coffee beans most probably originated in East-Africa and from there conquered the world via the Middle East, Asia and Europe. During the colonial period they were introduced to the Americas and most probably were first cultivated in the early 18th century in Chanchamayo in the Junin region of Peru and later in Moyobamba, Jaén, Huánuco and Cusco. The first coffee shop in Peru opened in Lima in 1791 near the Government Palace, which was popular with the intellectual and political movement. And while the cultivation of coffee increased slowly and the first beans were already exported in the 1880s, mainly to Germany and Great Britain, growing coffee plants didn’t become popular in Peru until the mid-twentieth century.
Since the 1990s, cultivating coffee is encouraged as a replacement for coca farming by several non-governmental agencies and national institutions. However, outbreaks of Coffee Rust, a fungus that attacks the leaves of coffee plants, and other diseases, destroyed whole plantations and the only income source of many coffee farmers in the poorest regions of Peru over the last decade or two.
Today the coffee industry, especially because of organic farming, is one of the country's most important agricultural sector making Peru a big player in the worldwide coffee market.
Peru – one of the top coffee producers
Peru ranks among the top 10 coffee producers in the world and is one of the major producers of organic and fair-trade coffee beans. The main growing regions of Peruvian coffee are Junín, Piura, Cajamarca, San Martín, Amazonas, Huánuco, Apurímac, Ayacucho, Puno, Cuzco, Pasco and Ucayali. As local consumption is relatively minor, most of the coffee beans are exported.
How does Peruvian coffee taste?
Even though not as famous as for example Costa Rican coffee, Peruvian coffees are highly sought after and won many awards.
Because of the mild nature of most coffee beans produced in Peru, they are primarily used for blending, French-roast and as a flavored-coffee base. However, especially some coffees from the northern region of Peru have a superb full body and a delicate sweetness.
Coffee from the Peruvian central region on the other hand has gained recognition for its high-quality organic beans. Puno coffees from the southern region are full-bodied and very citrus like tasting. Cuzco coffee offers fruity acidity and is among the most consistently balanced Peruvian coffees.
Peruvian Coffee Day
To celebrate Peruvian coffee, promote the consumption of coffee and to give small farmers, which primarily grow the delicious beans in Peru, a platform to introduce their produce to consumers and network, the Peruvian Coffee Day was initiated in 2008.
Since then each forth Friday in August (and around this date) there are many festivities, expositions and fairs throughout the country, the largest in Lima, dedicated to coffee. There you can enjoy good Peruvian coffee, learn more about the (organic) cultivation of Peruvian coffee, the growing regions and the people that produce the beans for one of the most popular beverages in the world.