Counter Culture has purchased coffee from the Cajamarca region of northern Peru since 2001, at which time the region had a reputation for producing large volumes of low-quality coffee. In 2006, we tasted coffee from the Cenfrocafe cooperative for the first time and we, along with all of our customers, were immediately hooked by its sweetness, hints of ripe clean fruit, and juicy acidity. We took a major step with Cenfrocafe in 2007 by focusing our attention on a small network of five communities and tasting coffee from each of the 75 families of these communities individually.
This partnership has been our most successful small-scale farmer relationship to date – we've sourced incredible, organic coffee directly from small farmers, delivering premiums for quality, and have built rewarding personal relationships at the same time.
Cenfrocafe was founded in 1999 and has grown rapidly ever since, becoming a model for other smaller cooperatives in the surrounding area. Their approximately 2,200 members are part of more than 84 smaller local organizations. In 2007, they became Fair Trade certified, opening themselves up to even wider markets. A unique aspect of Cenfrocafe is their intentional hiring of youth and family members of producers to work within the cooperative.
Many of the farms in the mountains of the region have only been settled and planted for a generation, as opposed to the southern regions of Peru where the agricultural history dates back millennia. Cenfrocafe's members hail from some 30-odd communities around Jaen and smaller towns like San Ignacio, Chirinos, and Tabaconas. In contrast, again, to the southern and central highlands of Peru, most of this region's people are of mestizo descent and speak Spanish as their first and only language.
Explanation of the Name
When deciding what to name this coffee, we knew that we needed to use something that would unite all five of the communities from which we were buying coffee. So in a chaotic meeting of all the members, we voted to name their coffee Valle del Santuario after the national park that abuts these communities' farms.