St. Johns Coffee Roasters // Peru Cochepampa

St. Johns Coffee Roasters // Peru Cochepampa

This is a guest review by Claire Iris. If you’re interested in writing guest reviews for A Table in the Corner of the Cafe, feel free to contact me.

Calling all hippie, liberal, pinko, commie, non-comformist new-agers, this is the coffee for you. It is organic, farmed sustainably and fair trade. The beans come from the Cooperativa Agraria Cefetalera Cochepampa Ltda. (COCLA), with a list of certifications as long as the name; OCIA, JAS, Utz-Kapeh, FLO, Cafe Practices and Rainforest Alliance.

I recognize there is controversy over Peruvian organic coffee.

Sweet Mariaʼs, a green coffee supplier, warns that many Peruvian organic coffees are being produced for quantity rather than quality. There is fear that this mass marketing of cheap organics is putting the rest of the organic growers into a bind, or worse yet actually leading to deforestation in efforts to create land for coffee farms.

So what about this coffee? Of the organic Peruvians on the market, most are blended for the grocery market, thus finding this one on its own from the co-op is already a plus. COCLA formed during the rise of co-ops in Peru in the 60ʼs, with several smaller co-ops joining together to form COCLA. Its aims seem to be in the right place, with a large focus on the growers and their welfare. COCLA also offers its members workshops on environmental sustainability such as organic farming and reforestation. From what I gather, you can drink this cup with a clean conscious.

the basics:

Elevation: 5400 feet
Farm: Cooperative Cochepampa Origin South America Farmer 210+ individual members
City: Cochepampa, about 45 km from Quillabamba Region Cusco, La Convencion, District of Santa Teresa
Farm Size in total about 800 hectares Coffee growing area about 540 hectares
Process: communal wet mill
Variety: 80% Typica, 20% Bourbon and Catimor
Practices Permanent shade, shade from timber production and fruit trees
Climate average 20 centigrade, 1500 MM rainfall, 75% humidity
Soil Type a range of clay-like and loamy soils
Roast: Medium

the coffee:

Overall the coffee has a delicate mouth feel and a light to medium body, with an aroma of Nutella. This coffeeʼs flavor however has me perplexed, the cups are never consistent. Itʼs as though the coffee had two sides to it, a sweet side and a tart side that are competing with one another in each cup.

Right now, with a fine grind out of my Hario I am tasting both a delicate, slightly sweet coffee and an opposing bright acidity that comes with a juicy cherry-cranberry flavor. With each brew I have tasted this duality with one side more prominent than the other.

Sometimes there is an alliaceous sweetness of a Vidalia onion or the subdued sugars of shortbread, while the tartness has taken on notes of a bakerʼs chocolate or tannin.

Like the coffee, I too am fickle lately, trying to decide which direction to go in. Each day I seem to take on a different perspective. Do I stay in the Chi-city or move back to Ptown? Do I keep working in the cafe or move on? The struggle between two options, like in the coffee, doesnʼt seem to work itself out, but continues on through the cup.

the bottom line:

Good, but too bright for my palette. The sweetness doesnʼt mature with the tartness, but instead floats above it.

Side note: As an ice coffee it is delicious. The ice helps calm down the acidity and the sweetness is complimented, making for a juicy coffee, almost like a crisp white wine or apple.

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About the Author

Claire hails from Portland, Oregon where coffee is a natural substitute for blood. In an effort to explore more of the United States she moved to Galesburg, Illinois to attend Knox College, earning a B.A. in International Relations and Creative Writing.

She works at Peet’s Coffee and Tea and dreams of someday being a super buff coffee roaster or a worldly coffee buyer. For now though she is content to sip from her goat mug and read zines