UNICAFEC cupping2

UNICAFEC is a small, close-knit cooperative based in the town of San Ignacio on the border with Ecuador. The farms are at ideal altitudes in the lush mountainous region for cultivating premium-grade Arabica.

Fast Facts

  • Location: San Ignacio, Northern Peru
  • Altitude: 1,200-1,700m
  • Members: 406, including 94 women
  • Founded: 2001
  • First traded with Twin: 2008
  • Coffee: Arabica
  • Variety: Typica, Pache, Caturra, yellow Caturra, Catimor
  • Type: Fairtrade and organic
  • Quality: Fully-washed
  • Harvest: April – September
  • Shipping: June – December
  • Production capacity: 560MT (growing 20% year on year)
  • Flavour profile:  Sweet acidity, chocolate, medium body 

Headlines

  • Has a strong women’s empowerment programme and pioneered women’s coffee with Equal Exchange in the UK and Cafe Femenino in the US
  • Revolving sustainability fund supports UNICAFEC’s commitment to 100% organic
  • Inclusive and supportive organisation

Quality and processing

The cooperative has invested Fairtrade premiums in building an office, cupping lab, fertilizer warehouse and drying machine fuelled sustainably by coffee husks. The drying machine enables UNICAFEC to consistently control moisture levels to achieve export standards during the humid drying season. This is increasingly important due to heavier and more frequent rainfall as a result of climate change. They have also trained team of cuppers, which provides feedback to improve flavour and quality. 

Projects

Twin supports UNICAFEC’s board in developing long-term business plans and provides training on Price Risk Management. Twin also helped develop the cooperative’s first women’s coffee initiative in partnership with Equal Exchange UK. Premiums from the sale of all coffee ‘Grown by Women’ have contributed to the financing of polytunnels for coffee drying. Previously, coffee was dried on the ground. When it rained the cherries could become mouldy. The polytunnels enable the coffee to be dried whatever the weather and have created a major improvement in quality.