We were thrilled to host a group from Peru’s NARSA coffee co-op at our Columbus, Ohio Innovation Lab. From December 4 through 6, they learned how to brew, roast and cup coffee to American tastes under the direction of Q Grader Brandon Bir, director of sustainability and education, and other members of the Crimson Cup Innovation Team.
“Our goal is to arm NARSA members with the skills they need to craft exceptional high-point coffees,” said Founder and President Greg Ubert. “Better coffee quality yields higher prices, which in turn will allow the co-op and its smallholder farmers to invest in continuing improvements in growing and processing.”
The delegation from Peru was headed by Don Julio Abel Arevalo Tello, who founded NARSA (NEGOCIACIONES AGROINDUSTRIAL AREVALO S. A.) in 1988 to help indigenous coffee and cacao farmers in Peru’s Central Highlands and Amazon areas market their crops. NARSA’s affiliated COOPERU organization promotes better farming practices among a network of approximately 3,000 coffee and cacao farmers. Other attendees included:
- Arevalo’s wife Denise Carrión, commercial manager for NARSA and COOPERU,
- COOPERU Quality Control Chief Richard Velasque,
- Field Promoter Leonel Pinto,
- Commercial and Finances Coordinator Eshime Secce,
- Traceability Manager Giuliana Leon, and
- Commercial Manager Manuel Montenegro.
“Working with NARSA over the past five years, we found that lack of access to information about specialty coffee characteristics presented an obstacle to improving the quality of the beans,” Brandon said. “To help address this issue, Crimson Cup partnered with NARSA and COOPERU in applying for a grant from the Peruvian Ministry of Production’s National Innovation Program for Competitiveness and Productivity.”
During an intensive three days at the SCA-certified Crimson Cup Innovation Lab, the group followed the SCA curriculum in learning how to use different roast levels to optimize coffee bean flavor and how to perform a sensory evaluation through cupping. They also explored how different brewing methods affect the cup.
“After they return home, Don Julio and his team will use their new knowledge to guide co-op farmers in better understanding the expectations of American coffee consumers,” Brandon said.
We’re also funding a quality lab to give the NARSA team the equipment they need at origin to properly evaluate coffee.
“Our goal is to have the Crimson Cup Quality Lab at NARSA up and running within the next few months,” Brandon said. “We’re designing the lab to SCA standards and hope to pursue SCA certification after the lab is complete.”