Although Peru is located near the equator, there are glacier areas in the country. A full 71% of the world’s tropical glaciers are located in Peru, at icy heights of over 5,000m. Their ancient water reservoirs are important sources for the world’s most water-rich river: the Amazon. Its largest and most water-rich headwaters are the Marañón River.
It flows from its source in the Peruvian Huayhuash Glacier to the mouth of the Amazon into the Atlantic Ocean a total of 1905km through the various landscapes of the South American continent. In the mountain rainforest of northern Peru, the Marañón flows past the village of “Gracias a Dios”. Germán Carranza and his family live here.
Germán is special in many ways. With his friendly, communicative and engaging nature, he has managed to build friendships across oceans on his own. Through a major trader, he managed to sell his green coffee to Munich. Everyone was enthusiastic about Germán’s commitment. Soon Germán approached cumpa and we began a friendly correspondence.
When Friedhelm von Röstkammer visited Moyobamba in Peru with us in 2019, Germán spared no effort to meet Friedhelm in person. For this, he traveled nightly for over 7 hours the dangerous mountain road through the rainforest from Gracias a Dios to Moyobamba. We were very impressed by his efforts and had a great time together in Moyobamba. Since then we have been in constant contact, talking for several hours every month, by phone and during visits.
From 2020, we started to work together. For this, we bought the first microlots from Germán and his family. Together they cultivate 9 hectares of coffee, which is quite a lot by Peruvian standards. Germán pays equal attention to innovation, environmental sustainability and social responsibility. He uses sophisticated systems for cultivation: The plants stand in terraced rows. The shade trees are specifically selected and placed.
He was one of the first in Peru to obtain the Castillo variety through contacts, a few years before it was legalized in Peru. In general, when it comes to new varieties in Peru, Germán is at the forefront. He has also successfully cultivated and marketed his own varieties, such as his bourbon mutation “Tres Cogollos.
The processing of Germán’s coffees is also complex. The process for a “normal” washed coffee from Germán looks something like this: The harvested coffee cherries are first cleaned in a water basin and freed from floaters. Then the cherries are packed in plastic bags and fermented. After fermentation, the coffee is depulped with a Colombian machine and then fermented again in the plastic bag. Both fermentations take several days. When the sugar content, smell and temperature of the fermented coffee are right, Germán washes the sugar mucilage off the coffee seeds. To do this, he takes spring water from a stream on his property. The wastewater is deacidified using an organic purification system before being discharged. This water, too, will first flow into the Marañón River and later into the Amazon River before ultimately flowing into the Atlantic Ocean.
Germán dries the washed coffee in his drying beds. Unfortunately, the climate on the hill is becoming increasingly volatile, with the dry season often interrupted by weeks of rain. Therefore, Germán had to build a drying facility on the banks of the Marañón River. The climate here is desert-like and contrasts with the humid climate on the hill.
It is impressive how far Germán’s horizon reaches, despite his remoteness. The most important things to Germán are his daughter, his wife and his family. After that, his thoughts revolve around coffee.
How can he ensure that coffee improves his family’s quality of life in the long term? How can he improve the quality of the coffee? How can he produce better and more? How can he build stable, resilient friendships with customers? We are proud that Germán has chosen us to be his distributors in Europe. He has long been selling his microlots independently in the USA and Canada. To do this, he uses the reach of his network of coffee experts, which starts locally in the village and extends through the regional and national coffee industry to the whole world.
Germán represents a new generation of coffee farmers who produce superior quality and consider themselves independent businessmen. His demeanor is self-confident. He knows that his coffees are rarities.
As a producer and exporter, he can determine to whom he sells and at what price. He knows and controls all processes from the finca to the port. We are excited to see where Germán’s coffee career will lead and look forward to being part of it.