The Fine Flavors Of Peru’s Cocoa And Coffee

Peru boasts perfect conditions for growing coffee, including many climates and ecologic niches at 1,200 meters above sea level or higher. This environment is what accounts for the outstanding quality of Peruvian coffee. Coffee growers resort to environmentally friendly techniques that meet the demanding standards of US, European and Asian markets. Now, international traders are flocking to Peru in search of the wide range of available coffee flavors and aromas.

Its fertile lands bathed by generous rainfall make Peru the third largest world grower of organic coffee, and a supplier of high quality coffee varieties. In 2010, Tunki coffee was recognized as the world’s best gourmet coffee in a competition organized by the Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA), competing with premium coffee samples of El Salvador, United States, Guatemala, Kenya, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama.

Tunki coffee orchards are located in the jungle of Puno state, at 1,628 meters above sea level. This coffee is prepared into a delicious beverage that is perceived by and pleases our five senses. Tunki coffee releases an aroma of citrus flowers with a taste of chocolate.  Tunki is a Quechua indigenous language Word meaning “cock of the rocks,” Peru’s national bird.

Out of the total surface planted to coffee in Peru, 140,000 hectares are certified organic thus ensuring this coffee can be sold in international markets. Organic certification ensures growers are not using chemicals or fertilizers to grow coffee. Demand for this 100 percent natural coffee is growing steadily in view of present trends for consuming health foods. It is also Fair Trade Certified, to ensure a premium paid over coffee’s price will be invested in community projects.

Cocoa, a plant native to the Amazon forest, is another Peruvian bean captivating the world’s palates.  Peru now ranks as the world’s second largest grower of organic cocoa. Because 60 percent of Peru’s land surface is covered by tropical rainforest, this country provides ideal conditions to grow cacao, including at least eight wild and cultivated varieties, such Theobroma cacao L, or common cocoa, grown along the northern coast and in the Amazon.

Peru is also one of 17 world growers of fine flavor cocoa characterized by their various fruity, flower, nut, molasses and malt flavors. Fine flavor cocoa is grown in Tumbes, Piura, Cajamarca, Amazonas, Loreto, San Martín, Huánuco, Pasco, Junin, Ayacucho, Cusco and Madre de Dios regions across Peru.

The quality of Peruvian chocolate-making using fine flavor cocoas is recognized around the world. In 2014 Tumbes cocoa won the mark of “excellence” at the Paris Salon du Chocolat. At the Cocoa and Chocolate Salon in Lima, Peru’s capital, cocoas from Piura, Amazonas and San Martín states received top awards.

To make chocolate, the seeds are removed from their mature pods and fermented for six days in special fermentation boxes to decompose the sweet pulp until it reaches the right flavor. The beans are then spread under the sun and dried on pallets or cement slabs stirring them to dry them homogeneously. Once dry, the beans are roasted and ground to make cocoa paste that eventually becomes chocolate through various methods. But only the right harvesting, fermenting and drying of the beans will result in outstanding quality cocoa.

Peruvian cocoa’s exceptional flavor and aroma, and its superior quality, have made it the ingredient of choice for the best chocolate brands and made Peru a premier exporter of fine flavor cocoa to the world.

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