About the coffee sourcing
El Milagro is located in Cajamarca, San Ignacio Province, Peru, and run by a cooperative.The El Milagro cooperative launched in 2013 with 56 members and has tripled that number since then. The majority of members have Fair Trade Organic (FTO) certification and the rest are Fair Trade certified and in transition to organic. The cooperative has producers with farms ranging from 1100-1900 masl. Coffees that reach 84 SCA points and above are all harvested above 1400 masl and are mostly planted with CR795, Caturra, Pache, and Typica varieties. Roya (leaf rust) has not been affecting farms as chronically as it was in the past, but producers at lower altitudes are dealing with the coffee borer beetle, known as Broca in Latin America. Unfortunately, this is quite hard to deal with for organic farmers who are prohibited from using chemical pesticides. Instead, they are using environmentally friendly traps and regularly inspecting their crops to separate infected trees before it is too late.
In the early days, the coffee’s journey just to get to the nearest highway was quite extraordinary. The co-op’s base of San José de Lourdes is located near the Río Chinchipe, and to cross the river a vehicle first must drive onto a flimsy-looking raft attached to a metal cable that keeps the raft from drifting away in the often-strong current. In 2018, El Milagro moved their base to a more accessible location, which allowed for greater storage capacity, a quaint cupping lab, and better accommodations for visitors and potential buyers.
El Milagro also has several programs for producer members, the primary being crop diversity. They are encouraging members to develop vegetable gardens and have supplied each producer with a packet of 10 different seeds to grow vegetables such as celery, onion, radish, and leafy greens. In addition, each household was given protective netting so that they can enclose the growing area to keep it safe from household pets and chickens. In conjunction with the municipality of San José de Lourdes, members below 1400 meters are receiving training to grow avocado and cocoa. El Milagro now has an official cacao nursery and they hope to export cacao in the coming years. Additionally, they have developed a reforestation program so that members can grow heavy woods such as Cedar and Eucalyptus within their coffee farms. The goal is to have 25% biodiversity in each farm in the next two years. Finally, all 156 members were given cement, tarps, and nails and shown how to build solar dryers on their farms. While some will need revisions to be as effective as possible, every family now has one and should see improvements in drying time and cup quality.
Peru El Milagro is a great coffee for those who prefer a chocolate-forward cup. Featuring rich flavors of dark chocolate, vanilla, and molasses for a smooth and balanced cup.
Recommended Brew Method:
Drip: To achieve the fullest flavor, grind beans until just before you brew. Be sure not to overload or skimp when preparing – a good rule of thumb is 2 tbsp of coffee per 16oz of water. Rinse paper filters with cool water before you brew to prime them for filtration and get rid of tiny impurities. Remove the carafe from heat as soon as brewing is done.