The scent of coffee seduces. There is nothing like it, with its richness and complex notes. The coffee grown in Cuzco is particularly known for its perfume. Between it and Starbucks lies the difference between an ordinary supermarket cologne and an upscale perfume with delicacy, delight, and passion.
Part of the world of Peruvian coffees that are gaining ever more international attention, one particular coffee, from the ex-hacienda of Huadquiña, gained in 2012 the status a Denomination of Origin. This is a status granted by the Peruvian government in recognition of its quality and its dependency of the particularities of place.
It is only the second coffee from Peru to do achieve this honor and the seventh product overall. It is also the second agricultural product from Cuzco to be so recognized. This is a particular honor for Cuzco given how small a part it is of the very large and varied republic that is Peru.
Cuzco’s coffee grows on the mid-level slopes of its mountains, before they drop to the hot, jungle lowlands. This region, where the lowland Amazon valley’s tributaries flow with greater force and vigor because of uplift, is one of the most ecologically diverse areas of the world. Each valley, each fold of the mountains, has slightly different characteristics.
It is not surprising that the first crop from Cuzco to gain the distinction of a Denomination of Origin was from the upper valleys of this region, white corn from the Sacred Valley of the Vilcanota river. Huadquiña Coffee is from downriver and up a side canyon.
The coffee growing region does not just encompass Cuzco. In fact, awards for the finest coffees have been gained by regions in neighboring Puno department. In any case, the coffee from here is some of the finest in the world, if not the outright finest.
However, to experience the coffee best, you want it fresh and you do not want to give it the over-kill dark roast of a Starbucks. You want a more medium roast that enhances the natural perfumes of the beans.
You will not find many cafes or restaurants in Cuzco that offer this local coffee, despite its international success. Nevertheless, there are shops in the airport, near the Plaza Regocijo, and by the Municpal Theatre where you can find it and take it home with you.
Although the awards are going to particular small coffee farms or small regions, in Cuzco the name of the cooperative is the main name under which the coffee is marketed. It is known by its initials, COCLA.
If you have not tried this coffee, you are in for a wonderful experience when you do. Its perfume is the high-end, elite of coffee.