Puno is one of the coffee world's best kept secrets. Primarily because Peru seems to be a neglected origin by coffee buyers but even the ones who do make the effort rarely have enough gas in the tank to make it out to the far reaches of coffee country that borders Bolivia. Its roughly a 14 hour trip from Juliaca out to the producing zone by bus. Coffee grows at great altitude in Puno with a lot of the terrain sitting perched over 2,000 meters above sea level. Typica is still the varietal of choice with a very small amount of Caturra and Catimor mixed in. Puno coffee farmers, and Peru in general, use great shading. These farmers are small holders meaning that there farms are tiny compared to those in much of Central America. 1 - 2 hectares of production seems to be commonplace. Farmers are processing their own fruit manually on hand crank depulping machines, fermenting in small tanks, washing in the same tanks and then taking their parchment down the mountain to community drying patios owned by the cooperative.
The dry grounds have notes of raisin, toasted nut, cola nut and perfume. Honey, orange zest and and moist olive oil cake waft from the crust. Currants and other juicy fruits appeared in the break along with tamarind. Now on to the cup profile. Hot chocolate. That is all. No, in all seriousness tasting the this particular Puno lot as it cools reminds me of drinking a fine hot cacao. The sweetness leads the way but in just an ever so thin margin over the creamy mouth feel. Its not complex like a Kenya, luxuriously floral like an Ethiopian but it is its own unique experience that has its own place in the coffee drinking world right up with the better lots. Beyond the cacao nature this coffee has a beautifully ripe plum note in the City roast that reminds me of tamarind in the City+ roast. Puno lot #19 shines as it cools. Its subtle acidity becomes more brilliant as it morphs from cacao and cream to ripe stone fruits like the aforementioned plum. The finish is clean and snappy in the sense that its short in a positive sense. Puno lot #19 is for fans of Guatemalan and Costa Rican coffees wanting something supremely fresh this winter.