Located in western South America, Peru is known for its rich history, special geographic features, and the flourishing coffee industry. Peru is one of the top organic coffee-producing countries in the world, alongside Ethiopia.
Peruvian coffee brands have many unique characteristics. The climate, type of soil, and geographic features widely vary depending upon the region.
This gives the country diverse flavor profiles. We’re going to discuss everything you need to know about Peruvian coffee and provide you with some Peruvian coffee brand suggestions.
About Peruvian Coffee
Peru is famous for its high-rising Andes mountains, the Peruvian Amazon, and the place where the Incan Empire once resided hundreds of years ago.
Coffee is a famous crop in Peru that is scattered throughout the mountains and hillsides on small farms.
Take a closer look at Peru’s coffee history, special benefits and flavour profiles of Peruvian coffee, and what to look for when buying it.
History of Peruvian Coffee
Coffee arrived in Peru in the 18th century by European settlers. The first coffee plants of Peru were grown in the Chanchamayo province in the central Junín region.
The high elevations, fertile soils, and tropical climates throughout the country made Peru an ideal spot for the coffee industry to develop.
Peru slowly grew in popularity as one of the top global coffee producers and exporters by the 20th century. It ranks ninth on the global coffee production scale and fourth out of all Latin American coffee-producing countries.
As a major crop, coffee has played a significant role in Peru’s agriculture industry and economy. The Peruvian coffee industry includes millions of workers and provides thousands of job opportunities to locals.
Where Is Peruvian Coffee Grown?
Coffee farms are scattered all throughout Peru in several different climates, landscapes, and regions. There are a handful of major coffee-producing regions, but more than 15 regions have coffee farms.
Some of the most common regions where Peruvian coffee is grown include:
- Amazonas (Amazon basin region)
More than half of the coffee farms in the country are located in the Peruvian highlands of the Andes Mountains or the Peruvian Amazon.
The Andes Mountains have some summits that reach more than 6,000 meters. Most coffee farms in this area are Strictly High Grown above 1,200 meters.
The Peruvian Amazon is full of thick, cloud-like forests with a more tropical environment. Coffee produced in this region is known for its smoothness and chocolatey and fruity notes.
The beans may be High Grown or Strictly High Grown, depending on the farm or estate.
About 75% of Peru’s coffee is grown on smallholder farms (SHFs). Almost half of Peruvian coffee is certified organic because SHFs generally don’t have the money to spend on expensive fertilizers and chemicals.
Benefits of Peruvian Coffee
Peruvian coffee has some truly unique and amazing characteristics. One of the greatest benefits of Peruvian coffee is the wide variety of flavours you can get from the country. Common benefits of coffee from Peru include:
- Grown in various microclimates
- Mostly shade-grown
- Organic and fair trade coffee
- Speciality coffee
- High Grown or Strictly High Grown
Due to Peru’s vast landscapes, it has many different microclimates that create different flavor profiles. Some coffee-producing countries may only have one or two specific flavour profiles, while Peru can have a handful of complex profiles.
Many Peruvian coffee farms are grown in the mountains and hillsides of the Andes and Peruvian Amazon, surrounded by vegetation. This allows the coffee plants to benefit from the environment with little to no fertiliser required for healthy development.
Shade-grown practices are also better for the environment and allow the coffee plants to mature slower, resulting in excellent bean quality.
Coffee grown in higher altitudes is also considered of higher quality. The flavors are often more unique and complex.
Favoring organic and fair trade coffee is a personal preference, but there are a few reasons why organic coffee has some benefits that can outweigh non-organic coffee, such as:
- Cleaner beans (no harmful, synthetic chemicals or fertilizers)
- Better for the environment
- Helps keep the soil healthy
- Safer for farmers to harvest
If you want completely natural beans, Peruvian organic coffee brands are a great way to get clean beans that are unaffected by chemicals or fertilizers.
Not only can these chemicals disrupt the ecosystem, but it can also be unsafe for farmers to work around certain chemicals or fertilizers for long periods of time.
Overall, organic coffee is more natural, better for the environment, and safer practice.
Peruvian Coffee Flavour Profiles
It’s hard to pinpoint an exact flavor profile for Peruvian coffee beans since the plants are grown in different micro climates throughout the country.
Some distinct hints and notes of flavor you might get with Peruvian coffee include:
Many Peruvian coffees that are rich and smooth tend to have chocolate notes with hints of caramel sweetness. You may also find Peruvian coffee that is very bright and acidic, and fruitier notes are the star in the cup.
The northern and central regions of Peru are known for brighter acidity, sweet notes, and floral aromas. The southern region of Peru is known for fruity notes with chocolate undertones.
However, these flavor profiles aren’t too restricted to their specific region. You can still find beans with chocolatey notes in some northern areas, such as the Amazon region.
What to Look for When Buying Peruvian Coffee Brands
In order to get the best beans, you’re probably wondering what you should look for in Peruvian coffee brands.
To get pure Peruvian coffee beans, you’ll want to look for single-origin beans. This will ensure that the beans are only from Peru, and generally from a specific region or estate.
You can get a wide selection of types of roasts from Peru, from light to dark. Peru has several flavor profiles that range from bright, acidic, and fruity to smooth, rich, and chocolatey.
Light roasts can bring out the bright, fruity flavor profiles, while medium to darker roasts pair well with the rich, chocolatey flavors.
For the highest quality Peruvian coffee brands, you’ll want to find beans that are High Grown or Strictly High Grown at 900 meters above sea level or higher. Most Peruvian coffee beans are grown above this altitude.
5 Peruvian Coffee Brands to Try
1. First Colony – Organic Peruvian Andes Gold
Organic Peruvian Andes Gold is a medium roast made from 100% Arabica beans grown in the Andes mountains in northeast Peru. These beans are shade-grown and roasted in small batches to ensure they are evenly roasted.
If you like oily beans, you may enjoy this Peruvian coffee. The beans produce a medium-bodied cup that has smooth chocolatey notes and a slightly sweet caramel taste.
The roast of the beans may be a little dark and could be considered a medium dark roast rather than just medium.
- Roasted in small batches
- Certified organic
- Dark for a medium roast
2. Mt. Comfort Coffee – Organic Peru
Mt. Comfort Organic Peru coffee beans come from the Chanchamayo and Chontalí regions of Peru in the northwest Andes. These beans come from small farms located between 1,200 and 1,400 meters above sea level.
This coffee has a chocolatey and nutty flavour profile with hints of citrus. This may be a great choice if you’re looking for a rich and complex medium roast that’s on the economical side.
- Strictly High Grown
- Sourced from small Peruvian farms
- Not very strong
3. Laird Superfood – Organic Peruvian Coffee
Laird Superfood Organic Peruvian Coffee is a dark roast with a nutty flavor profile grown at altitudes above 1,200 meters. It’s also available in a medium roast and you can choose between caffeinated and decaf.
The nutty flavours in these beans lack some intensity and it is lower in acidity despite being grown at higher altitudes. If you’re looking for a more mild Peruvian coffee brand that’s still of high quality, this may be a good choice for you.
- Strictly High Grown
- Low acidity
- Caffeinated and decaf are available
- Mild flavor (depending on preference)
4. Fresh Roasted Coffee – Peruvian
Fresh Roasted Coffee’s organic Peruvian beans are packed full of diverse flavors. With this coffee, you’ll get a little bit of spiced cinnamon, caramelized sweetness, and a hint of citrus to top it off.
The complex flavours come from the beans grown in the Amazons region. Along with the diverse flavor profile, this medium roast is organic and fair trade certified.
The beans are a little oily, which can give you a full-bodied cup. Although there are a lot of flavor notes mixed into these beans, the flavor of the coffee itself is not too intense.
- Organic and fair trade certified
- Full body
- Sweet and bright flavors
- Lacks intensity
5. Pure Origin Coffee – Peru
Pure Origin Coffee is an ethically sourced gourmet brand that specializes in single-origin coffee. This organic fair trade Peruvian coffee is a light roast with nutty notes that make a smooth cup.
The beans are grown in the Amazon region of Peru. It is also kosher certified and does not contain any GMOs.
The downside is that the coffee comes pre-ground, so it may not taste as fresh if you were able to grind the beans yourself right before brewing.
- Certified organic, kosher, non-GMO, and fair trade
- Sustainably sourced
Overview: Peruvian Coffee Brands
Peruvian coffee generally has a mild flavor with bursts of citrus, chocolate, nuttiness, and a soft sweetness.
The higher elevations of the Andes that stretch across Peru create some of the most diverse and unique flavour profiles in South America. With that said, it’s not the strongest coffee out there.
You may want to look for the following characteristics when buying Peruvian coffee to get the best quality beans.
- Grown at high altitudes (above 900 meters)
Keep in mind, Peruvian coffee brands can vary widely in flavour depending on where the beans are grown and what type of roast it is.
We recommend trying the Organic Peruvian Andes Gold coffee. It is grown on the slopes of the Andes under the shade of the forest vegetation, which allows it to better develop and produce a high-quality cup of coffee.
It is a little dark for a medium roast but comes out smooth with chocolatey notes and hints of sweet caramel.