Juan Encalada Sumalave - Peru
Farm: San Antonio
Department and District: Cusco – Yanatile
Community: San Antonio
Cooperative: Valle Inca
Altitude: 1600 MASL
Varietal: Typica and Bourbon
Process: Washed and Fermented for 30 Hours, dried in raised beds for 15-20 days on raised beds
Notes: White peach, raisin, pink lady apple
Juan Encalada has been around coffee his entire life, as his parents produced coffee as well. At the farm, the entire business is a family effort. He has been a member of Valle Inca for 4 years. He is actually a fairly young producer, born in 1985.
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 101 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 the 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.
Over the last four years, Valle Inca has grown alongside Red Fox Coffee Merchants. From Red Foxes first year where they bought two lots from Valle Inca to the present year where they are lucky enough to have over 1000 bags from them, they’ve never ceased to impress.
Text and photos provided by Red Fox Coffee Merchants