Four Single Producer Reserve Lots from Cusco

By Russ Durfee

Situated along the eastern slopes of the Andes, the high altitude and mountainous topography of Peru’s numerous coffee growing regions make them ideally suited for top quality coffee, albeit at a necessarily small scale of production due to the constraints of this incredibly rugged terrain. With farms in Peru sometimes located around or above 2000 masl, many producers in this region are smallholder farmers in the truest sense of the word, with an average farm size of around 2 hectares (about 5 acres). Nonetheless, Peru remains one of the world’s top exporters of arabica coffee, with around a third of agricultural employment in Peru related to coffee production, and a reported 75% of coffee production there coming specifically from smallholder farms. Of the many notable growing regions that span the central highlands of Peru, Passenger has maintained a particular focus on the province of La Convención, in the Cusco region of southern Peru, since 2019. 

The four single-producer Reserve Lots we’ve just released together represent an exciting new chapter in the evolution of Passenger's Foundational sourcing program in La Convención. While our team has bought and presented coffees from the Cusco region for many years, it wasn’t until 2021 that Cusco officially joined the Foundational menu, alongside our five other year-round offerings from producers in Ethiopia, El Salvador, Colombia, Burundi, and Brazil. For each of these Foundational Partnerships, the goal is the same: to try to add value for the relevant producers as a reliable, ongoing buyer - intentionally prioritizing the purchase of a broad representation (i.e. not just the 'cream of the crop') of the coffees and quality grades that each partner produces. 

To that end, Passenger’s green buying team is working with our Peru sourcing partners at Caravela Coffee to carefully evaluate each small delivery of coffee that each member of a small group of Cusco farmers produces throughout the harvest. By tasting each lot individually we are able to make collaborative decisions regarding which lots to blend for the Passenger Foundational offering, and which lots to feature as special separations - as we are with these latest Reserve Lot additions. This is the same purchasing model that informs the development of all of Passenger’s Foundational Partnerships (learn more about our sourcing philosophy here), and, given the nascent stage of these relationships in Cusco, we are especially excited to see these single producer lots added to the menu. 

Looking ahead, we’re incredibly excited to see the continued evolution of the Cusco partnership, and can’t wait to visit these producers in La Convención later this year.

Four Single Producer Reserve Lots from Cusco