The Charuyo cooperative is located in the Sandia Valley of Peru. It's about 10 or more hours outside the capital city, meandering well through the altiplano and on through to the jungle. Sandia Valley is the location of a small string of cooperatives who in the past operated on their own, but who are now united under one larger cooperative union. Being part of this union has allowed them to pool together resources, and ultimately build a centrally located dry mill as well as build out an exporting operation for their coffee. Cooperative members are small-holder farmers, with farm sizes in the 2 hectare range. Wet milling occurs using fairly 'traditional' techniques for this region, with hand-crank depulping devices, single tank fermentation and washing, and then often drying the coffee on covered beds (the weather can be unpredictable in the region). Charuyo growing area is at an elevation range from about 1500 - 1800 meters, and Caturra, Bourbon and Typica are the expected varietals.
This regional Charuyo coffee has an up-front sweetness in the dry fragrance, with a smell of toasted sugar, almost like roasted marshmallow, and a note of almond as well. A toffee sweetness builds in darker roasts and nears 'brooding' with hot water. The wet grounds have a simple, yet sweet, smell of marzipan - that sweet culmination of honey and almond meal. It's strong and pleasing, and the break lets off an ever so slight note of dried wild flowers. Chocolate and cocoa are definitely central to this coffee's profile - think Mexican hot chocolate with cinnamon and a bit of malt powder. It has an inky body, which carries the chocolatey aspects well. Fruited notes are there, but a little difficult to decipher, especially at hotter temperatures. A bit of red apple comes to the surface in the cooling cup, also defines the acidity, and is more prominent in the lighter roast levels. This makes a fantastic espresso, with straight forward chocolate sweetness and such a creamy mouthfeel.