ICON 06, Fidel Huancas Cup of Excellence Lot
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Fidel’s amazing quality Yellow Caturra placed 4th in the Cup of Excellence. This is a producer we know and love whose coffees are consistently outstanding. This competition lot has a really complex profile of blackcurrant, fresh berries, ripe peach, jasmine and a sparkling acidity.
PRODUCER: Fidel Huancas Huancas
CULTIVAR: Yellow Caturra
LOCATION: La Esperanza, San Ignacio, Cajamarca, Peru
ALTITUDE: 1,850 masl
This month’s ICON is a great example of how high scoring coffee isn’t confined to exotic varieties or super-controlled experimental fermentation. This washed Yellow Caturra placed 4th in the Cup of Excellence competition which is an amazing accolade, well deserved for a really special producer.
This lot is really close to our hearts here at PLOT, as we fell in love with both Fidel and his coffees when we visited Peru in 2019. Every time we came across one of his lots on a table of samples they really stood out for their incredible complex acidity, balance and distinctive cup profile. We jumped at the chance to travel out to La Esperanza to meet the man and his family and were totally enamoured. We’ve been buying his coffees every year since and can’t wait to visit again.
La Esperanza means ‘hope’ which reflects Fidel’s ambitions of becoming the best producer in the region. Fidel is the third generation of his family to produce coffee here and he inherited the farm from his father. Since then he has been gradually expanding into a further 1.5 hectares. Over the course of five years he replaced all of the old Catimor and Pache trees with Caturra, which thrives in the environmental conditions on his farm and offers both a high quality cup profile and good yield.
Fidel manages his farm with total focus on implementing best practices advised by the exporting companies he sells his coffee to. His dedication and attention to detail in every aspect of farm management and processing are what really set him apart and this really comes across in the exceptionally clean and balanced coffees he produces.
This particular lot came 4th overall in the Cup of Excellence quality competition which was open to producers across the whole of Peru. This is a massive achievement and winning lots are auctioned for sums of money which can be life changing for many producers.
The Cup of Excellence program dates back to the first “Best of Brazil” competition in 1999 and has over the years expanded to a present total of 13 producing countries, most recently Ethiopia which celebrated its first competition in 2020. The aim of the competitions and auctions are to set the standard for the increased premiums that farmers are able to receive for their exemplary coffees and to build a much more transparent infrastructure, giving farmers the tools needed to improve the economic model of their farms. It also provides an incentive to experiment with varieties and processing techniques knowing there can be recognition and financial reward for their hard work and effort.
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