Over the River and Through the Woods

By: Al Liu

Perhaps the smallest of our cooperative partners in any origin, CASM El Milagro began supplying us in 2010 and has provided consistently solid Peru FTO. While this accomplishment might be noteworthy on its own, the journey that the coffee takes just to get to the nearest highway is even more so. The co-op’s base of San José de Lourdes is located near the Río Chinchipe, and to cross the river a vehicle first must drive on to a flimsy-looking raft attached to a metal cable that keeps the raft from drifting away in the often-strong current. Even faced with such obstacles, El Milagro continues to look for ways to improve quality and succeeded in selling its very first single-producer micro-lot in 2015.

In the years since then, they have doubled their membership and increased quality immensely. They will export 20 lots in 2020, and since moving their base to a more accessible location in 2018, they have greater storage capacity, a quaint cupping lab, and can accommodate visitors and potential buyers much easier than ever before. Although the rides on the “ferry” across the river were certainly adventurous, the new bridge set to open in fall of 2019 will make transporting coffee out of the cooperative and to port so much more efficient, both in time and costs.

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