Maria Nieves is a coffee producer from Barro Negro, a district of La Coipa in Cajamarca, northern Peru. La Coipa is a notable region for its climate and altitude, which is why the winning coffee from this year’s Cup of Excellence Peru came from La Coipa. Ms. Nieves works the farm with her husband, and they named it El Limón because of the prevalence of lemon trees on the property. They cultivate one and half a hectares of coffee in total, .5 of that is sold under the name El Limón I. They harvest only fully ripe cherries, then immediately ferment them in vacuum sealed plastic bags for 12 hours. The next day, the coffee is depulped and fermented another 24 hrs bagged in fermentation tanks. Then, the coffee is washed 3 times to make sure there is no mucilage left behind. Finally, the coffee is transferred to wood framed raised African beds, under a greenhouse-style drying room. They dry for 20-25 days.
The distance from their house to the coffee farm is about 200 meters, but in the mountains, that equates to a 30 min walk. From the village to the farm, she must do some pretty steep climbing to get to the small warehouse they built in the middle of the farm. The warehouse serves as a storage facility for the dried coffee, as well as a small living space to sleep in during busier months. Once ready, the coffee is brought down to the main road sometimes by donkey, but usually on their own backs, where it is loaded on to a truck and taken into the Alpes Andinos association headquarters in Jaén, Cajamarca, of which she is a member and president.