Peru Arrival + Market Updates
If you’ve been following Non-Fiction for a while now, you know how much the Torre family and our connection to their Peruvian coffee means to us. We’re all expectantly waiting as we’re approaching the arrival of their coffee for the first time in two years. This past year, we worked with the Torre’s as it came time to bring their coffee to the states, but Covid protocols in Peru proved to be too much of an obstacle.
Much of Peru, at least in the more urban communities, were on lockdown in 2021; at times, only one member from each family was permitted to go out for food or supplies. These protocols were enforced through militarization in the streets. Thankfully, around this same time, the coffee market was becoming more favorable for producers. We’re truly grateful that Gregorio and his family remained safe, healthy, and provided for during these harsh times.
The c-market for coffee, which is the commodity rate at which coffee is valued per lb, is currently floating higher than it has in 10 years. Back in 2019, coffee futures price hit as low as $0.87 (April 2019) and the price today is approximately $2.40 (1/2022). This rise had begun gradually in 2021 while we were hitting hurdle after hurdle in our attempts to export Gregorio and Isabel’s coffee, which was made more bearable by the fact that the Torre family were able to benefit from a surging c-market price for coffee by selling their coffee to the local Peruvian market.
In our consumer-centric society, it’s difficult to reckon with prices rising. But, producers and empathetic roasters have been fighting daily for coffee prices to rise above their abysmal lows, which at times were lower than the cost of production for most producers. While the increase has come in large part from great loss to many producers in Brazil where they’ve lost an estimated 10 million bags of coffee to frost, we’re glad to see positive progress in the valuation of coffee. The c-market for coffee, as you can see, can be a roller coaster of provision for producers. Now is not the time for us, specialty coffee roasters, to grow complacent because the market will continue to do as it’s always done, rise and fall.
Our responsibility to you all and to our producer partners is to pay for coffee, not with the intention of getting the best deal but with the intention of honoring farmers. Livable wages are not our goal, only our launchpad. Our goal is wages that allow for reinvestment, growth, and the building of infrastructures that can and will be passed down to the next generation of producers.
The Torre family are resilient, humble, and truly skilled coffee growers. Each of us at Non-Fiction become giddy at the thought of once again smelling the rich aroma and tasting the sweet, chocolate forward profile that we’ve come to love from the Torre’s coffees. This year, we’ll all get to reap the benefits of Gregorio’s labor as this will be the first harvest we’ve received from them since Gregorio built a drying house on their farm.
Back in 2020, we held a fundraiser at a local church which fully funded Gregorio’s drying house. After wiring him the money, we must have received an update within only a few days – he’d already begun building. With a chainsaw in hand, he cut beams and wood planks from trees on his land and had already framed the drying house. This infrastructure will serve the Torre family for years to come as it will increase their production capacity and efficiency and will improve the quality of their crop.
At the moment, Gregorio’s coffee is packed safely in Grain Pro bags on a shipping container headed for the states. These moments of passive waiting serve as reminders for our team that so much of what we accomplish is due not to our labor but the works of Gregorio’s and Isabel’s throughout the coffee growing world. Our hope is that you’ll taste their coffee and not see or think of Non-Fiction, but that you’ll see the Torre’s and their infectious smiles.