Fredy is a great example of the specialty coffee’s new generation. His parents ran medium-small coffee farms, and were getting by just fine, but he saw room for something new.
His timing couldn’t be better. European and American roasters are catching on to the potential in Peru’s agricultural highlands. Take us, for example. We hadn’t visited for about six years, and a lot happened during that time.
By the time we landed for this year’s visit, the conversation about quality had really grown. And when a conversation grows, that means more people get involved. And when more people get involved, more good ideas get thrown around. In Peru, a lot of those ideas involve milling and logistics--the steps between the coffee cherry growing on its shrub, and that same coffee bean arriving at the Port of Oakland.
Peruvian producers and coffee workers took a bold step this year by hosting their first Cup of Excellence competition. We were honored to sit on the COE’s nerd-studded international jury, and not at all surprised when Fredy’s coffee placed in the nation’s top three.
A visit to his San Ignacio farm two days later made it clear that Fredy was far from satisfied with that success. Even as his father focused on Fredy’s (admittedly excellent) homebrew, the younger Bermeo peppered us with questions and ideas for improvement. This is the way it’s supposed to be: each generation working to make life taste a little bit better.