Alfonso and Karín Tejada Iberico
Alfonso and Karín Tejada Iberico oversee a nine-hectare farm and process coffee for many of their neighbors
Partnered with Stumptown
Caturra, Catuai, Typica
Tejada built three covered drying beds this year to protect the drying coffee from the heavy rains brought on by El Niño.
For how much he accomplishes, Alfonso Tejada Iberico is a super mellow guy — except when it comes to soccer. We love visiting him and his wife, Karín, because every time we come by the farm, they’ve implemented something new. They are a driving force in Peru’s emerging specialty coffee market, but also so hospitable — they’ll always take time to drink a beer or two with us in the plaza.
The Amazonas Department was once home to the Chachapoyan culture. For nearly a thousand years, the Chachapoyas lived in the cloud forests of Peru, building incredible fortresses that stand to this day. It’s a long trip to get to the Tejadas’ farm, but incredible vistas of lush valleys make the ride worthwhile.
Alfonso Tejada-Iberico is a man with a plan. He cultivates coffee on his nine hectare farm in the town Rodriguez de Mendoza in the Amazonas Department of Northern Peru. The town sits in a difficult to reach, remote location on the Amazon side of the Andes Mountains. The easiest route passes the Fortress of Kuelap, pre-Incan ruins that are older than Machu Picchu, and then continues over the high peak of the range to access Rodriguez de Mendoza.
Alfonso manages the Monte Verde cooperative for farmers near the town. He envisions providing quality processing and agronomical assistance to local farmers to improve their livelihood and produce high quality coffee.
Alfonso’s passion and dedication for quality coffee continues improve the lives of local farmers through training and technical assistance.
About 4-5 years ago, Tejada-Iberico took over managing his grandmother’s farm, Timbuyacu. He began to renovate the plants with an eye to maintain strict variety separation. About three years ago he planted four hectares of Caturra. He began to gradually eradicate his Catimor and replace it primarily with Catuai and some Typica. He also plans to continue to expand the farm by planting in an area where harvesting now occurs year round due to climate changes, while the heavy harvest period for the rest of the farm still happens from July-August. The mountainous region creates finicky micro climates which not only affect coffee cultivation, but also creates pockets that provide sanctuary for illicit drug production. He hopes coffee will provide better stability and lucrative, legal employment for his peers.
When Tejada-Iberico built his beneficio, or washing station, he constructed it to accommodate more farmers in the coming years. Currently, he only processes his own coffee. He plans to gradually include his neighbors, and then eventually extend his processing to the entire Monte Verde cooperative. He intends to teach quality and agronomy to elevate the rest of the co-op. To further this goal, under his direction, the co-op built a cupping lab and trained cuppers. His wife, Karin, is the main cupper for Monte Verde.
After careful picking with variety separation, Alfonso depulps his coffee using a Penagos demucilager which uses significantly less water than other processing methods. He dry ferments the coffee then washes it in a tiled tank. Finally, he dries the parchment on raised beds.