THE STORY BEHIND LA PROSPERIDAD
Nestled in the mountainous San Ignacio province in Northern Peru is a remote little hillside town called Chirinos, home to coffee cooperative La Prosperidad. About three thousand people live in Chirinos, which is densely settled on a hilltop 1600 meters above sea level. When our green buyer Dan Streetman visited the town, it reminded him of some wine-growing areas he’s visited: since agricultural land is so valuable, the planning of the town proper is necessarily compact, with houses built two or three stories tall so as to maximize flat space for farming. And the views are breathtaking.
The name “La Prosperidad” represents all the different forms of prosperity the co-op hopes to achieve, with coffee quality paving the way. Producers are constantly improving and experimenting with their coffee harvesting and processing methods. For example, because of the low temperatures at their altitude, the depulped coffee cherries are fermented in a unique concrete tank with wood planks that insulates the coffee from the cold. (From there, it still takes 20-24 hours for fermentation, as opposed to 12-16.) This coffee from Chirinos is a blend of beans from multiple lots, harvested by different producers within the co-op.
Because of the unfortunate volatility of the coffee crop, La Prosperidad has endeavored to maintain food security in the community through farming. Farmers are encouraged to plant oranges, beans, and corn, and members of the co-op teach them how to construct fish ponds. They have also constructed a large organic compost facility, with the goal to eventually sell compost on the market. Although it still take two days for coffee to be shipped from the co-op to the port, recent investments to improve the infrastructure on the way to and from Chirinos are making it a slightly less challenging journey. We’re excited about all of the improvements happening in this region that will increase accessibility to La Prosperidad’s beautifully smooth and creamy organic coffee.