As a connoisseur of one of the rarest and most exquisite coffees, you appreciate good coffee when you see, smell, or taste it. You understand not just what makes coffee taste great, but all of the other aspects that go along with coffee; details like where it comes from, what the soil is like, or what the process looks like. Coffee says a lot about the region it comes from and tells a story about the way of life in that area. We want to express what life is like deep in the lush, tropical mountains of South America, and how coffee is essential to the circle of life in that part of the world.
The SelvaSur coffee journey begins deep in the heart of the Amazon rainforest (selva in Spanish) of Peru, in the southern (sur in Spanish) Junin Region. Here, both the coffee cherry and coatimundi live and thrive off of the wonderful average climate of around 75 degrees Fahrenheit at an altitude of just over 2,000 feet.
Coffee plants produce berries, called coffee cherries or coffee fruit, that turn bright red when they are ripe and ready to be eaten (by the coati, of course). Considered one of nature ’s healthiest superfoods, packed with antioxidants, the coffee cherry is actually mostly wasted and/or used for compost by the majority of coffee farmers as the cherry skins ruin the taste of coffee. It’s a little different on our farm – we don’t pick the coffee cherries and they don’t go to waste.
The coatimundis do most of our coffee fruit picking, and they only select the best coffee fruits as part of their diet. They’re somewhat picky eaters, so they’re able to pick out the most flavorful coffee cherries. Their stomach acids and enzymes then break down the outer layers of the coffee bean. Not sure what a coatimundi is, or what it looks like? We explain in another blog what exactly is a coatimundi.
It’s important to note that the coatis cannot be forced to eat the cherry fruit every day, because the sweetness of the coffee eliminates their red blood cells. If we do this we would have a bunch of overworked, tired, anemic animals. It’s only up to three times per week that their body systems are able to work in such a way. The coati have a special select diet based on tropical seasonal fruits. The days when they’re not eating coffee stone fruit, they rest, recuperate, and play with other coatis in an open and caring environment.
The outermost layers of the coffee bean are dissolved once ingested, from the outer skin (known as the pericorp or the exocorp) all the way to the silver skin (which has a parchment paper-like texture), the last layer of protection of the actual bean. After digestion, the beans have been infused with other fruits and vegetables in the coati’s diet.
The beans are then extracted from the feces of the coatimundi, then washed (very, very thoroughly) a total of four times (very extensively) before being roasted at 230 degrees Fahrenheit, which kills any bacteria, making it completely safe to consume.
The entire digestion, cleaning, and roasting process adds to the coffee flavor. Its taste and aroma have hints of chocolate, wildflowers, and dried fruit. It’s at this point that we’re able to package it and ship it across the world (free shipping for all domestic/Canada orders). Because we respect nature’s cycle and slow process, the production per year of actual coffee is a little less than 900 kilos (about 1,984 lbs per year), making it one of the world’s richest, rarest coffees around.
By providing the background of each of our coffee beans, we believe it brings out the flavors that are sometimes missed by the average coffee drinker. Appreciating the journey means appreciating the coffee itself and the process it took to get to your hands. We take pride in all that goes into making sure you’re able to learn about it, order it, and not just drink it – savor it.
We want to reiterate how important it is to keep this journey of the coffee bean as natural as possible – no exploiting, no shortcuts, no mass-production. Disturbing or tweaking this entirely natural process affects the coatimundis, it affects the Peruvian habitat, and it affects the reputation of the entire coati coffee industry – including the ones who are doing it the right way. As “coati poop coffee” becomes increasingly industrialized, abusive, and faked, we’re willing to bet you can taste it in their coffee.
KEEP IT NATURAL.
Support us in delivering a healthy, ethical coffee as nature originally intended.