· By Sam Kjellberg
Peruvian Coffee: What, Where, and How
SK Coffee + Campesino Mateo
A few weeks ago SK Coffee started a Friday coffee series, Coffee + Conversation (name still in progress). The idea is to have a guided roasting session, a coffee tasting, and then a "talk show"-esque conversation. The conversation doesn't have to be about coffee. In fact, I would perhaps rather it not be; I want to try and find and expose the threads coffee has throughout many cultures and disciplines.
However, for our first event we made it about coffee. I sat down with Mateo Block, founder of Campesino Mateo, an importing business working directly with farmers and produces in Peru. 6 months of the year he is in Peru, working his butt off with his farmer partners, harvesting and processing coffee and cacao. The other 6 months he is here in the States hustling coffee and cacao to roasters like us.
Peru is a special place. AWE-INSPIRINGLY high altitude. Lush green forests. Deep and rich cultural history. And some AMAZING coffee! A little over a year ago, Mateo started a small importing business. However, he is doing things a bit differently. He is attempting to highlight SPECIFIC farmers and their individual quality and character.
Our conversation covered a wide range of topics. Isolation from the city. Everyday life for the farmers. Language, its benefits and barriers. The basics of how coffee is processed. Simple discussion of flavor and how it is impacted. We talked about the concept of varieties of Arabica Coffee, comparing it to apples. And Mateo even brought some goodies, samples of coffee in its various stages of processing.
It's a really interesting conversation and Mateo is a natural. It's like he has done this before...he has...
DISCLAIMER: This is a pilot and there are some technical difficulties. Such as, slightly under focussed cameras...It's alright, though. The content is rich. Put it in your headphones, works just as well.