An Interview with Freddy Bermeo
For the past two years, we have been sourcing our Peruvian coffee through Jose Rivera who runs Origin Coffee Lab. Origin Coffee Lab is based across Cajamarca, focusing on the Jaen and San Ignacio areas. They believe in quality, sustainability, and traceability – seeing the open dialogue between roasters and farmers as the key to making long term decisions on both sides.
This year, Jose helped connect us with Freddy Bermeo. His coffee has a sweet nectarine character up front, with a warm, cinnamon finish. Though we have not been able to visit in person yet, we were able to ask Freddy some questions via email and facetime.
How long have you been growing?
As an independent since 1996, but since I was a child on the farm of my parents Teofilo and Feliciana on their farm El Sauce.
What made you decide to grow coffee?
Because I like agriculture and a well-grown coffee is a quality product that must be valued. I have decided to return to the farm to be able to do something for our people despite the market prices. I am very passionate about coffee and I have always liked it and I think that I will always like to grow coffee.
How did you start working with Origin Coffee Lab?
Once I arrived at the laboratory because I knew they were buying quality coffee and my coffee is quality, trying to find a better market and that is how we started working with Origin Coffee Lab.
Did you benefit from working with Origin Coffee Lab?
Of course yes, because our coffee was better valued and the relationship with customers is a more direct relationship that we know they want or seek a long-term relationship, that helps us not to depend on the local market.
What experiences have shaped your approach to agriculture?
Life and work on the farm is hard work but it is very satisfying when you are always pursuing quality.
Pests and diseases sometimes hit us a lot, but can be fought with good management of the plantation.
The internships and workshops.
The final market that we are just accessing and we feel that our coffee is valued, thus we improve our quality of life—we have more income and more opportunities.
As a producer, when I started I did not have anything, now everything I have is thanks to coffee and work in the cafe, that’s why I am convinced that it is a path to sustainability.
How big is your farm?
The Shimir – 4.5 has
El Salino – 5 has
The Ball – 3 has
Together with my brothers and my parents we have 47 hectares of coffee.
How many full-time employees do you have?
The only ones who are full time are the owners of the farms in this case it’s me, my brothers and my parents. Altogether we are ten.
Is it difficult to get your workers to follow quality standards?
At first it was very difficult to work on the issue of selective harvest, but now they are more aligned and I think it is something that will be improving harvest after harvest.
How do you get information about market trends?
Internet, newsletters, reports and be aware, technology has helped us a lot and gives us more ease, now we have wifi on the farm and that helps us communicate better and make more accurate decisions.
What varietals do you cultivate?
50% of everything is Caturra, then Bourbon Pache and Mundo Novo.
We have new plantations of Geisha and Icatu.
Do you have a favorite varietal?
Caturra and Bourbon.
Is there any difficulty that the coffee industry has presented to you?
Not for the moment.
What improvements do you expect to make in the future?
Continue to improve quality, implement a good laboratory with the Origin Coffee Lab, technical assistance and the benefit plant.
Housing plan for workers and our families.