La Palestina’s story began over 40 years ago when the patriarch, Don Juan Alarcon, purchased remote frontier lands above the village of El Triunfo in the San Jose de Alto district of Cajamarca. Though this land was a several-hour drive from the village, and quite off the beaten path, Don Juan saw the potential for this land and began to turn the cow pastures into land suitable for coffee cultivation. His vision would take years to materialize, but over time Don Juan and his family created something beautiful.
Over the following decades, Don Juan’s sons Juan, Jose, and Annibal took over operations of La Palestina and strategically reinvested in the farm. They built a state-of-the-art washing and fermentation beneficio and began to compost their leftover materials to create fertilizer which they redistribute throughout their farm to promote tree health. They planted a number of shade trees and flowering plants to promote biodiversity and ecological sustainability. Few farms in the world go to such lengths, but the Alarcon’s saw these actions as part of their duty to protect the land they cultivated.
Slowly, La Palestina became recognized as one of the foremost farms in the entirety of northern Peru. Their practices quickly gained recognition from our partners at Origin Coffee Lab, who’ve become partners in their farm and have implemented further quality control measures. This all led to La Palestina winning 17th place in the 2019 Peruvian Cup of Excellence competition, gaining further international recognition.
Today, a wide range of coffee varieties are cultivated on the farm. We saw Peruvian Bourbon (called Bourbon Marshel) growing throughout their land, planted alongside exotic and rare varieties such as Gesha, Java, Ethiopia, and Bronze Catuai. In an effort to further express complex profiles in their coffees, the Alarcon’s began implementing and utilizing wine yeast strains during fermentation. We were able to see their low oxygen fermentation methods which can provide extremely fruit-forward flavors in the resulting coffees!