Producer Visit – Pangoa Cooperative
In August, Andrea Trimmer, Operations Manager at Heine Brothers’ Coffee, and I traveled to the city of San Martin de Pangoa in the Satipo Region of Central Peru to visit our friends at Pangoa Cooperative.
After an 8 hour flight to Lima and a 16 hour van trip over and through the Andes, we arrived at Pangoa late in the evening to a warm welcome from Esperanza Dionisio Castillo, General Manager of Pangoa Cooperative. Esperanza immediately rolled out the red carpet of welcome and made sure we had a good meal before we finally hit our hotel for some much-needed sleep before beginning our 3-day visit at Pangoa.
While at Pangoa, we met with their leadership and with several of their members; we toured their coffee warehouse and drying patios; we cupped coffees with their cupping team; we visited the village of Mazaronquiari where we threw some frisbee in the village square before sharing lunch and visiting their coffee fields; we learned about cacao production and visited a cacao farm; we tasted some of the wonderful chocolate that Pangoa produces; and we enjoyed some great food. The best part of the trip was spending time with the people we met and learning a little bit about them, their families and their lives in Peru. It was a real pleasure to be treated to lunch at the home of Nelson in his thatched roof, open-walled kitchen, where just before lunch, we were welcomed with a gourd of Masato, a fermented concoction of yuka and purple sweet potato!
Pangoa Cooperative is a group of coffee farmers that began in 1977 with 50 members. Today, Pangoa has 600+ members. Pangoa Cooperative works with it’s members on improving coffee plant health and yield, organic practices and sustainable land management that includes reforestation work. Additonally, Pangoa is committed to programs that encourage women and young people to be part of its organization. Pangoa uses the Fair Trade Premiums we pay for their coffee to fund programs that provide scholarships to members’ children and loans to members for farm improvement and renovation.
Pangoa Cooperative is an excellent example of the Fair Trade System working well and as it should. They are well-organized, cooperatively-governed, transparent, and committed to the well being of their farmer members. And, they produce consistently excellent coffee! We’re proud to have been buying coffee from our friends at Pangoa since 2007.