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Brewing Equipment - What is a MUPECO brewer?

What is your favorite way of preparing filter coffee? Often the answer is V60, Aeropress, Chemex or or or... and I would answer the same couple of filters that I know. But I came across something that I have never seen before, a Filter that is not really common in Europe but actually one of the most popular filters in Peru!

The ‘Mupeco’ Brewer.

An overview of Peruvian coffee:

Although Peru is an often-forgotten coffee producer, it is neither new to the coffee business nor small. In fact, Peru was the 10th largest coffee producer in the world as of 2017, was one of the first countries in the Americas to cultivate coffee plants, and is widely recognized as a producer of exceptional beans. Peruvian coffee is no outsider - its country's history is worth exploring and its beans are worth savoring. Let's start with the story.

History of Peruvian Coffee

Peru started growing coffee fairly early – around the mid-1800s. However, why Peru was one of the first countries in South America remains a mystery. After all, the country is far away from the coffee trade routes of the time and thus from the procurement of green coffee seeds.

For most of Peru's coffee history, the majority of the beans have been enjoyed locally. Although production grew steadily throughout the 1700s and 1800s, not many beans were actually exported - and very few made it to the United States.

The late 18th century brought a terrible disease to Indonesia and surrounding countries that decimated the Asian coffee industry. As a result, European buyers began looking to other producers around the world to meet Europe's insatiable demand for coffee and they quickly found Peru.

Peru goes abroad

European investment in the first decade of the 20th century enabled Peru's already healthy coffee industry to expand and begin exporting beans on a large scale. England also accepted over 2 million acres of coffee-growing land in payment for a defaulted loan and began plantation-style farms. Coffee quickly made up 60% of Peru's exports and fueled the country's economy.

With the advent of not one but two world wars, England finally sold its lands in Peru, which were divided among thousands of local farmers. Farmers had more autonomy, but commercial industry became less connected. The more rural farms no longer had large production systems to get their beans to market.

After all, from the mid-1970s there were almost no government subsidies for the coffee sector. In comparison, the coffee industry in Brazil, Colombia and Honduras is heavily subsidized to enable infrastructure from plantation to washingsation and port of shipment.

Peru not only has an interesting history but also a very special terroir. The tectonic plates of the Caribbean Plate and the Nazca Plate met and formed the Andean mountain range over millions of years. The coffee-growing regions of Peru with unique mineral soils and a special microclimate are located directly at the foot of this mountain.

Without government subsidies, it was up to the farmers to build roads and haulage routes in this difficult terrain to transport coffee from farm to washing station.

Despite these challenges, many of which continue to this day, the Peruvian coffee industry has continued to grow over the past few decades. It is the 10th coffee producer in the world and the 5th producer of Arabica beans. Like I said… not an outsider.

Facts about Peruvian coffee cultivation

Peru's relatively poor infrastructure has attracted a variety of organizations from around the world funded by development groups. As a result, Peru has become one of the world's leading producers of certified organic, Rainforest Alliance certified, and UTZ certified coffee.

Almost 30% of the country's smallholder farmers now also belong to local cooperatives. These partnerships help farmers, particularly rural farmers, grow theirMarket beans to a larger audience and get better pay for it.

Although the high altitude of the Andes, which runs straight through central Peru, provides optimal growing conditions for Arabica coffee, there are also farms scattered across the country's coastal plains - and even some in the Peruvian jungle region of the lower Amazon basin. There really aren't many areas of the country that don't grow coffee.

How does Peruvian coffee taste?

Peru's lower-elevation farms, such as those found around the town of Nambale near the Peru-Ecuador border, typically produce coffees with a mild acidity, medium body, and smooth notes of nuts, flowers, and smooth fruits.

Once you head high into the Andes, as with farms around Cusco and Machu Picchu, the coffee begins to show bright acidity, vibrant floral flavors and a rich sweetness.

Both of these flavor profiles are fairly common, but we also see a variety of exceptional beans that go beyond these generalizations. They seem to come out of nowhere, but if you look a little closer, the explanation is clear: Many growers, once constrained by poor infrastructure, are now getting the chance to make their coffees shine for the international market.

How do Peruvians prepare their coffee?

With the mupeco! The handmade clay filter from Peru can be used like a ceramic filter, can be used with cloth or paper filters and is very handy.

It all started with an orange peel

Cafetera Mupeco de arcilla (Foto: La ruta del café peruano )

Rolando Ruiz Loayza, Peruvian coffee specialist, invented the filter and the idea came more from an emergency situation. In a chat about roasting coffee in 2014, who needed a coffee filter, nobody was to be found. Rolando quickly took the dried peel of a halved orange, drilled a hole at the bottom and used it as a filter. The orange peel was the prototype for the coffee filter that Rolando makes from clay today. The Peruvian way of preparing coffee was born!

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