Coffee in Peru
In Peru, the locals drink coffee "for the cold". Coffee shops aren't located on every street corner, nor are they often frequented by Peruvian locals. Coffee isn't ingested as a stimulant, but rather as a way to warm the body on a cold, rainy day. At least that's the case up here in the Andes of Cusco. North Americans and Europeans drink it not only more often, but also a lot stronger. Here, the locals brew their coffee in what one could call a poor-man's French press, fill their mug nearly to the top with hot water, and then add a bit of this coffee essence (aka: espresso) to color the water.
visit a local coffee farm
When the coffee fruit reaches its peak, it is collected by hand in woven sacks worn on the back, then put through a washing process, then mulled to separate the outer shell from the bean, washed again, then dried on level stone drying surfaces, which must be raked periodically to dry properly. This takes several days. Some farmers have motorized hullers, and others still turn the crank using muscle grease.
The coffee beans are then ready for toasting. Many locals still toast the beans in clay pots over open fire, but most sell the beans un-toasted by the quintal to regulated companies which then distribute the coffee to local or export buyers. On the mountainsides of the Quillabamba valley, the farmers haul the bags of beans on their backs, sometimes walking kilometers, to the nearest roadway where it can then be transported to town (sometimes over an hour away in local transport).
The price these days (fall 2013) is around 220 Peruvian Nuevo Soles per quintal (about a 100 pounds) which works out to about $79 USD. Ten years ago a quintal was worth 500 Soles, or about $180.
Despite what's going on in the coffee producing world, it seems that the "coffee consuming world" continues strong, with big-name chains constantly growing and new or existing cafés in every neighborhood.
When you come visit Peru, look for locally grown coffees and locally owned coffee shops, or consider Fair-trade brands. Or, come take our coffee tour! Two day tours can also be arranged for non-hikers (Email firstname.lastname@example.org to specially arrange this tour). Every traveler gets a taste of home-grown organic coffee or a small bag, freshly toasted and ground to take home!