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Peru La Mandarina


Peru is one of the most exciting coffee producing countries in the world right now, with both loads of quality and tons of untapped potential. With the world’s second highest mountain range running North-South through the country, Peru has the altitude to continue producing great coffee in the face of global warming, the country has largely embraced organic farming practices, and as the coffee industry works to single out small farmers from the country’s tradition for large, regional lots, we’re tasting some true gems.

La Mandarina is one of those special coffees, and comes to us from Ismael Padilla in Northern Peru’s San Ignacio Province. Huckleberry purchases a relatively large (for us, at least) amount of coffee from Ismael and his neighbors in the village (or aldea) of Laurel, in San Ignacio’s La Coipa district. Aldea Laurel is a great coffee in its own right, and forms the backbone of Blue Orchid and Sound and Vision, but we also have the chance to taste coffee from some of the group’s best individual farmers. 

Ismael Padilla and his wife Exilda own Finca La Mandarina, and this year, they produced our favorite coffee out of Aldea Laurel. This coffee is oozing with syrupy sweetness and ripe, dark fruit. There’s a ton of complexity in the cup, but the biggest flavors we’re tasting are caramel, juicy blackberry, and dark chocolate. This coffee has plenty of traditional sweetness that will stand up to milk and won’t polarize those who aren’t looking for too much excitement, but if you are looking for interesting flavors, they’re right there.

We’re excited to work towards to the future with Ismael, the other farmers in Laurel, and Origin Coffee Lab, an exporter dedicated to transparency, farmer assistance, fair pricing, and full traceability. While great farm location, varieties, and farm practices are undeniably a huge factor, there’s always some level of chance when it comes to microlot-quality coffee like La Mandarina. So it’s important to us to not just cherry-pick from the top, but also support growers at a level that’s a bit more attainable without the fortune of good luck. This is our ideal purchase model, and close to what we strive for in other origins like Guatemala: commit to buying coffee from a group of farmers at a level they can attain, and showcase the all-stars.

So, if you’re looking for some great coffee from Peru, you can find it as part of Blue Orchid and Sound and Vision. For the truly exceptional, check out La Mandarina.


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