During our last visit to the Cajamarca growing region, we made a side trip to visit the Chirinos cooperative. It has been a few years since Equator has purchased coffee from Chirinos and we happy to see their committed focus on quality. They were building a new dry mill in town and were eager to show off an experiential farm where different coffee varieties and drying methods were being tested. There was a new generation of farmers active in the group and the youthful energy was evident both in attitude and on the cupping table.
We were instantly charmed by this micro-lot of Yellow Caturra variety coffee from Silvia Lizana Rodríguez farm El Higuerón. At just 30 years old, she represents the next generation of quality driven, innovative coffee farmers at Chirinos. As the daughter of a producer herself, Silvia started her coffee career at a young age, learning all about coffee farming as she was growing up. She has since applied everything she has learned over the years to produce this stunning micro-lot that bears her name. Together with her husband, Silvia manages her farm, which is located near the village of Cordillera Andina in the Chirinos District of Cajamarca.
La Prosperidad de Chirinos cooperative was established in 1968 by a group of just 36 farmers who aspired to produce high-quality coffee. The group formed at a time that the federal
government supported formation of cooperatives with the goal of improving socio-economic conditions in Peru’s northwestern communities, which historically had been overlooked by the state. Over the years the cooperative has struggled to overcome challenges but, the group’s solidarity and collective vision motivated members to reorganize and move forward. Under new leadership, the co-op focused its efforts on sustainable agriculture to improve coffee quality and secure better prices. It also implemented a series of quality standards for its organic coffee, including keeping organized records to track data about each farm. In 2007, the cooperative established its own cupping lab to monitor cup quality. Members are currently taking part in a project to identify cup profiles according to micro-region and to measure the correlation between quality and altitude. Today, there are 867 members in the Chirinos cooperative.