Improving coffee drying techniques in Cooperative San Fernando


Cooperative San Fernando located in Inkawasi, Cusco, has privileged climate conditions to produce high-quality coffee. The farms are situated at an ideal altitude of 1500 to 2600 mamsl with an average daily temperature of 18°C.

In August 2019, Agriterra made an assessment of the cooperative, confirming what their directives had already identified: they produce a highly rewarded specialty coffee, paying up to 3 times the price of the NYSE C per qq. This niche market is very demanding and sensitive to any quality variation, requiring a minimum cup punctuation of 83 SCAA points. Cooperative San Fernando could aim at a much higher punctuation and thus a better selling price, due to its location. However, the unstable and low-quality technology used for processing and drying the coffee has decreased their quality to 82.5 SCAA points, threatening them to lose their market.

Management is aware of the challenge and now have a quality control team and a taster. Actually, San Fernando had already established a big hairy audacious goal (BHAG): to reach a cup punctuation of 97 SCAA. Agriterra is advising them with a business plan to achieve its goal. In the assessment, we identified vulnerable areas that needed attention, like their accounting processes, governance and transparency to members, unstable quality of the coffee, maintenance of their organic certifications and traceability in the production chain, from field to price.

In March, the strict lockdown imposed in Peru due to Covid-19 did not allow us to implement the planned workshops and exchange tours that would address the vulnerable areas identified: governance, finances, accounting and transparency. Instead we focus on implementing actions to improve coffee quality and maintain organic certifications. In this line, we helped with the implementation of 20 drying African beds in their San Fernando Committee, additionally the cooperative implemented 4. More than 100 producers will access these African beds, enabling them to increase and stabilize their coffee quality and access competitive specialty markets with its associated premium price.

The Cooperative San Fernando was founded by 26 small producers in 2001, now it has more than 400 producers, international certifications and Equal Exchange and Café Direct as their main buyers. Management has ambitious plans to increase quality and capture new markets. Agriterra plans to continue walking along them with advice, training and exchange tours.

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