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Raul Gutierrez

with notes of
  • Chocolate
  • Graham Cracker
  • Red Grape

Coffees from Peru’s Cusco region have been a fixture of Passenger’s menu for a number of years, but 2021 marked the beginning of Cusco’s tenure on the Foundational menu. The vast majority of coffee producers in this mountainous region are smallholder farmers in the truest sense, with an average farm size of 2 hectares (a little less than 5 acres).

Thanks to local government support that facilitated access to fertilizers, tools, and improved wet mill infrastructure, many farmers in Cusco were able to improve their production yields and overall quality in recent years. However, for a significant percentage of this community, the challenge of gaining access to specialty buyers willing to pay higher prices for their coffee on a consistent basis has prevented many from securing a stable and meaningfully improved income.

Passenger’s green buying team continues to work, in collaboration with our sourcing partners at Caravela Coffee, to broaden our annual buying from a small group of producers in the province of La Convención. As these sourcing efforts gain focus over time, we are truly excited for our menus to feature a broader representation of the beautiful coffees of this region.

Raul Gutierrez Escobar
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Raul Gutierrez began producing coffee in the Quelloúno district of Cusco, Peru, in 2015 after his wife Carlota inherited a parcel of her father’s farm. Upon inheriting the farm, the pair immediately began focusing over a quarter of their 4 hectare plot to coffee production, guided by the experience and assistance of Carlota’s father. Since then, Raul has continued to work towards improving the quality of his coffee production, with a particular focus on ripe cherry selection. Among his goals for the future are improved and expanded solar drying beds for the farm and continued improvement of the consistency and quality of his coffee. Since 2018, Raul has been part of a grower education program funded by importer Caravela Coffee, which assists producers on the ground with education and implementation of best practices surrounding productivity, quality, farm management, and sustainability.

This coffee from Raul's 2022 harvest is one of four single producer Reserve Lots that together represent an exciting new chapter in the evolution of Passenger's Foundational sourcing program in La Convención. While our team has bought and presented coffees from the Cusco region for many years, it wasn’t until 2021 that Cusco officially joined the Foundational menu alongside our five other year-round offerings from producers in Ethiopia, El Salvador, Colombia, Burundi, and Brazil. For each of these Foundational Partnerships, the goal is the same: to try to add value for the relevant producers as a reliable, ongoing buyer - intentionally prioritizing the purchase of a broad representation (i.e. not just the 'cream of the crop') of the coffees and quality grades that each partner produces.

To that end, Passenger’s green buying team is working with our Peru sourcing partners at Caravela Coffee to carefully evaluate each small delivery of coffee that each member of a small group of Cusco farmers produces throughout the harvest. By tasting each lot individually we are able to make collaborative decisions regarding which lots to blend for the Passenger Foundational offering, and which lots to feature as special separations - as we are with the present Reserve Lot from Raul. This is the same purchasing model that informs the development of all of Passenger’s Foundational Partnerships, and, given the nascent stage of these relationships in Cusco, we are especially excited to see these single producer lots added to the menu.

Raul Gutierrez and his wife Carlota largely produce typica and red bourbon varieties on their farm, as well small amounts of gesha. After pulping, the coffees are given a ‘low-oxygen’ fermentation in sealed barrels for 36 hrs before being washed. Taking around 20-25 days to dry completely, any remaining coffee that Raul is unable to dry on his personal canopied patios or solar dryers are brought to a local dry mill to reach the proper moisture content for hulling. The cup profile of this coffee features a delicate red grape acidity, with the sweetness and body of milk chocolate and graham cracker.