Rutas del Inca is headquartered in the Querocoto District of the Chota Province in Cajamarca, Peru. The area is known for production of potatoes, but since 2010 coffee production has proliferated thanks to support from various NGOs supporting this new crop that has great market potential. Rutas del Inca was founded on October 26, 2013, with just 33 members. The cooperative exported its first crop in 2014, cementing itself as a quality-focused, organic-certified producer.
Currently the cooperative has 258 members—30 women and 228 men—throughout 27 communities in the Querocoto, Huambos and Querocotillo Districts. These producers live between 1,800 and 2,400 meters above sea level, in temperatures ranging between 60 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit. The rainy season takes place between January and March, during which terrain in the area can be rugged. However, routes exist that reach the majority of the communities in the three districts.
The El Chasqui lot comes from nine producers who live across the communities of Cucho and Inguer in the Querecoto District. They were chosen to create a microlot based on their high-quality production and the unique cup profile they produce. Rutas del Inca considers the coffee to be an exquisite sensory experience given the nuanced and beautiful flavors that emanate from a cup of El Chasqui coffee. The name “El Chasqui” refers to the Inca messengers who traversed the lands of the Rutas del Inca farmers, delivering fresh fish and other goods and information from the coast to the city of Cajamarca.
In 2019, Rutas del Inca and Sustainable Harvest plan to expand the microlot program to the individual level, offering 2-3 bag lots from individual producers. Based on the quality outcomes of the pilot, we can’t wait to see what possibilities further segmentation will offer.