Justino Huaman Cruz has been producing coffee for over 20 years in Yanatile Valley. This is our first season to separate and highlight Justino’s coffee as a single producer lot. His dedication is evident in the quality of his product and we are excited to offer this to you.
Nestled in the Yanatile Valley in the Department of Cusco in the south of Peru, Valle Inca functions as a producer group, where Prudencio Vargas Saenz, who created and runs the group, buys parchment from farmers, reinvesting premiums in the community’s infrastructure to help them continue to improve quality. Prudencio, who lives in nearby Calca and brings the benefits of his former experience as an agricultural loan officer, used to operate outside the aegis of a collective, but after years of running Valle Inca informally, he formalized the organization this year in order to gain organic certification, Fair Trade certification and the ability to export on his own.
Member-wise, Valle Inca is growing fast, with 127 farmers currently in the fold. It’s no surprise that more and more farmers want to work with Valle Inca; in the community, Prudencio is known for his honesty, trustworthiness, dedication, and drive to invest and reinvest in his community, genuinely engaging their goals and concerns. He also pays higher prices than farmers had access to prior to the founding of Valle Inca, which has helped to improve quality as well as overall community health over time.
Leaders like Prudencio are rare, and the quality of connection between leadership and producer shines through in the cup. At their best, coffees from Valle Inca display elegant honeyed florals, crisp red apple, and a pleasant tannic quality like oolong tea. These coffees cup beautifully, but where they really shine is in a brewed cup off the production roaster, and while they have a lot to offer specialty professionals in the way of nuance, they’re also wonderfully approachable for consumers.
One of the things that makes Valle Inca so exciting is that there’s still so much untapped potential there. There are many more hills and mountain peaks where producers we haven’t yet connected with are growing great coffee, and Prudencio is working hard to find them and bring them into the specialty market. Right now, Valle Inca is producing an exceptional amount of beautiful 85-86 point regional-quality coffee, and going forward we expect to see even more 86-87+ lots. In fact, a lot of the coffees we’ve purchased this year are actually outscoring themselves as they mature post