Coffee from plant to cup
The Kadagaya campus is located in Chanchamayo, which is one of the most well known coffee-producing regions in Peru. Like many coffee regions, the market has been challenged by coffee rust, which is a fungus affecting coffee plantations worldwide. The growing conditions and coffee species typically grown in Latin America are particularly suceptible to this disease. Like many large-scale agricultural systems, overuse of synthetic chemicals made this problem worse. Many farmers in our region replanted their coffee plantations with species more resistant to the rust disease, or changed to crops such as pineapple with a better market price.
Despite these challenges, there is still a significant coffee industry in our region and we are lucky to have easy access to locally sourced beans. While we usually buy ground coffee prepared by the local roastery from local beans, sometimes we enjoy the process of making coffee from our own fruit.
The coffee cherries ripen from green, to yellow, to red and are ready to pick around March, just as the rainy season is ending. The skin of the fruit is removed from around the beans, which are washed well in water to remove the slimy pulp that remains on the beans. Then, the beans are dried in the sun. These beans are often stored and sold in this green state, ready for roasting. At home, the beans can be toasted in a pan on low heat, and will gradually become dark brown and then black. In Peru, a little sugar is added to glaze the beans at this point, right before removing them from the heat. The coffee is then ground and ready for brewing.