Welcome to Puno, a strange paradise that weaves together the past and future into a cultural display of resilience and prosperity. From the intricate hanging nests the paucar birds create to protect their offspring, to the ancient Taquile alpaca textile art that Unesco proclaimed a “Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity.”,  Puno is a lush expression of natural wonder and ancestral traditions that bursts from Andean peaks. The immense ecological beauty of San Juan del Oro is unique and incomparable due to all the magic that always existed in its immense forests and endless trees. As the Spanish ravaged to land for gold, a mysterious local named Juan appeared as solid gold and cursed them for their greedy ways. Today the local gold comes in the form of citrus and coffee as 50% of the population are farming and most are dedicated to an agricultural connection to their golden landscape.

Within Puno is the Sandia Valley, which is due north of the department capital of Juliaca, saddled right up along the border of Bolivia. There are thousands of farmers producing in the valley, but only 10% have the elevation and varietals to produce the  cup quality, water activity, moisture content, and physical preparation worth investing in. The Sandia Valley is home to a wealth of 1900+ masl coffee. Caturra and Typica are the common varietals, though Bourbon plays an even stronger role in the genetic makeup of coffee here, thanks to a UN-funded replanting project in the 1980s. What is most intriguing  about these coffees are their unique flavor profiles. These are not Colombias and they’re not Bolivias. These unique, floral-driven coffees are also filled with fresh cream, fine chocolate, black walnut, toasted sugar and a range of fruit from green grape to apricot to cantaloupe.

San Juan del Oro was the first ever coffee cooperative in Peru. Founded in 1961with 40 farmers, San Juan has has grown to 940 members, including many from the highlands that are of Quechua and Aimara indigenous descent. This cooperative also supports initiatives related to income diversification and processing activities, such as marmalade and honey production. The cooperative has focused on water management and sustainable, organic production as we face an ever-changing climate.

 Unfortunately, the entire Sandia Valley, home to all coffee production in the department of Puno, has been ravaged by roya. In light of the large risk that roya presents, many producers have pulled up their coffee trees and replanted their farms with coca, which has a higher monetary value compared to coffee, and yields multiple harvests in a single year. The producers who have maintained their coffee production are delivering a third or even a quarter of the volume they used to produce. Coffees from this region are the ones that have changed people’s minds about the potential from the coffee of Peru, quality that rivals Colombia in terms of defining what South America can be. 

It starts with a snap, green grapes and apple blossom welcome you to meet bosc pear and cantaloupe. Soft and syrupy, the elegant texture of San Juan del Oro resembles low lying clouds begging to burst into a rainstorm of flavor. The clean, fresh fruit intertwines itself within the pecan landscape that leads to pools of praline creme candy with fudge depths. You are left with the perfect kiss of sweetness that makes it hard not to brew yourself another cup.

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San Juan del Oro, Southern Peru

Region - Puno

Province - Sandia

Village - San Juan del Oro

Varietals - Caturra, Bourbon, Typica

Elevation - 2000 masl

Experience - The joy of juggling scarfs.



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