The Best Peruvian Coffee Beans You Have to Taste in 2021

Every self-respecting coffee aficionado knows the difference between Brazilian and Colombian java and can tell Kona from Yirgacheffe. But few are curious and adventurous enough to give Peruvian a try, and that's a shame because it's one of the best single-origin beans ever. Mellow, smooth, but still exciting enough to make your taste buds tingle and urge your pleasure centers to ask for a second serving. Sound like something you'd want to try? Let me share a few varieties worthy of introducing you to the wonders of java from Peru.

7 Best Peruvian Coffee Beans Reviews. Personal Faves

Volcanica Peru Coffee

Volcanica Peru Coffee

  • Brand: Volcanica Coffee
  • Item Form: Whole Bean
  • Roast Level: Medium_roast
  • Flavor: Peru
  • Caffeine Content: Caffeinated

If there's one thing you should know about Volcanica, it's that they go out of their way to secure the highest-quality beans grown at 3,000 feet and above. And their Peru Coffee is a prime example of that. The high elevation means lower temperatures and longer ripening time, so each cherry and bean has plenty of time to develop a rich and complex flavor. And that same flavor is transferred into every cup of the brew.

This medium roast blend isn't over the top, but it's smooth and medium-bodied with plenty of subtle notes of nougat, plum, and lemongrass. The flavor is bright yet low-acid, meaning your tummy is safe from any unpleasant issues. I wouldn't recommend adding milk or cream, as the brew is mild-mannered enough to be enjoyed black. Adding too much milk will wash out the flavor undertones and will likely leave you feeling unsatisfied.

Finally, you can go with your favorite brewing method, as Volcanica is pretty accommodating when it comes to packaging. If you own a burr grinder, the whole bean is the obvious choice, but if you don't, there are three extra options to choose from: drip, espresso, and French press grind. For your first foray into Peruvian java, I'd suggest a 16 oz bag, but once you fall in love with the blend, you can save a few bucks by placing a bulk order for 3 to 5 pounds.

Cubico Coffee: Peru

Cubico Coffee: Peru

  • Brand: Cubico Coffee
  • Item Form: Whole Bean
  • Roast Level: Medium_roast
  • Flavor: Peru
  • Caffeine Content: Caffeinated

Whenever I see CENFROCAFE on the pack, I know I'm in for a delicious cuppa. One of the largest cooperatives in Peru holds the growers to the highest sustainability and organic farming standards. Grown at high altitudes of the Northern Highlands, hand-picked, and fully washed, Arabica beans develop a smooth palette with bright, citrusy acidity balanced out by sweetness and a lengthy herbal finish.

My favorite thing about this bean is roasting in micro-batches. Not only does the City roast suit the Peruvian Arabica perfectly, but you also get a pack dated and signed by a master roaster. Thanks to fast shipping, you're guaranteed to receive the freshest beans at your doorstep within days of placing an order.

I am a huge proponent of buying whole bean java and grinding it in small batches for maximum aroma and flavor enjoyment. However, Cubico knows we don't always have the time for a full-blown brewing ritual, so they offer 10-capsule packs along with pound bags of whole beans. So you can enjoy their Peruvian blend even if you only own a Keurig machine. I'm not sure whether the K-cups are recyclable, so you'll have to contact Cubico to learn more if you're trying to keep the waste down.

RhoadsRoast Coffee

RhoadsRoast Coffee

  • Brand: RHOADSROAST COFFEES AND THE GREEN DRAGON COFFEE HOUSE
  • Item Form: Whole Bean
  • Roast Level: Medium_roast
  • Flavor: Medium/Dark Roast
  • Caffeine Content: Caffeinated

Organic, Fair Trade, shade-grown, hand-picked–I could expand the list of the pros of this coffee, but all you need to know is that it's delicious. Mild-mannered, smooth but still surprisingly complex, it's pleasantly sweet and nutty with no flavorings added. Expect almond, milk chocolate, and coconut notes to pop up in your cuppa, whether you brew it in a French press, espresso machine, or a drip coffee maker.

If you're looking for Peruvian green coffee beans, RhoadsRoast is the place to buy them. However, the company offers roasted java too, for those of us too impatient for home roasting. Unlike traditional roasters, the brand gives you a choice of three profiles: light city, medium full city, and dark espresso. The bean's flavor changes dramatically the longer it's roasted, so if you prefer your cuppa bright with acidity, go with a light roast. But if you enjoy toasty undertones or want to indulge in a cappuccino, the dark espresso roast is the way to go.

Though not the most well-known by far, RhoadsRoast variety can make any caffeine addict swoon. Peruvian java is only one example of a great single-origin bean. Still, I encourage you to check out their best-selling collection or set up a build-a-box subscription of samplers that will take you on a gourmet tour of the best coffee destinations worldwide.

Café Altura Peruvian Coffee

Café Altura Peruvian Coffee

  • Brand: Cafe Altura
  • Item Form: Whole Bean
  • Roast Level: Dark_roast
  • Flavor: Peruvian Dark Roast
  • Caffeine Content: Caffeinated

The first organic coffee company if the US can't steer you wrong when it comes to delicious java, and their Peruvian blend is a testament to that. The beans are grown with zero pesticides or chemical fertilizers, every cherry is hand-picked and sun-dried to preserve its flavor and ensure top quality. This variety is among the best Peruvian dark roast coffee beans. Roasting to the second crack is perfectly suited for the mild body, bringing out the toastiness and depth you wouldn't get with a light or medium roast.

According to Cafe Altura, this single-origin bean works well, hot or cold, and I have to agree. I prefer mine freshly ground and French pressed, as the drip machine doesn't do this java justice. Espresso shots are also mouthwateringly intense and make for a punchy pick-me-up or a mellow cappuccino. I've also tried brewing these beans over ice, and they do lose some of the intensity, though that's easily fixed by upping the grounds-to-water ratio.

The packaging is my only complaint about this coffee. The two-pound bag seems a bit ambitious for taste-testing, and you'll be stuck with this variety for a while if you don't like it. Besides, there's also a recommendation to store the bag in the fridge, which is a waste of fridge space and good coffee, as any self-respecting caffeine addict will tell you. I recommend you put the pack into a ziplock baggie and store it in a kitchen cabinet or pour the beans into a jar with an airtight lid.

Java Planet Decaf Peruvian Coffee

Java Planet Decaf Peruvian Coffee

  • Brand: Java Planet Organic Coffee Roasters
  • Item Form: Whole Bean
  • Roast Level: Medium_roast
  • Caffeine Content: Decaffeinated
  • Specialty: Organic

If you're trying to cut down on caffeine, this variety will make you regret not making the switch sooner. The Peruvian green coffee beans are carefully hand-picked, washed, dried, and decaffeinated via a 100% natural and safe Swiss water process. Small-batch medium-dark roasting follows to dial up the aroma and flavor intensity. The result? You get to enjoy a smooth, mouth-tingling nutty and chocolaty java without a hint of caffeine jitters. It's so good, you wouldn't know it was decaffeinated if I hadn't told you.

I love Java Planet for going the extra mile to keep their coffee good for me and the planet. It's organic, meaning no pesticides and synthetic fertilizers are used, which is good for flavor and the rainforests. It's also Rainforest Alliance certified, Bird Friendly, and Fair Trade. Finally, there's coffee that doesn't promote deforestation or harm the environment in any other way. And it's delicious too!

The price tag is manageable at $16 per pound. But the best thing for true gourmets is the roasting date specified on every bag. You get freshly roasted whole beans and can grind them right before brewing to make every cuppa even better.

AmazonFresh Organic Peruvian Ground Coffee

AmazonFresh Organic Peruvian Ground Coffee

  • Brand: AmazonFresh
  • Item Form: Whole Bean
  • Roast Level: Medium_roast
  • Flavor: Peru Medium Roast
  • Caffeine Content: Caffeinated

Mild and affordable–that's all you need to know about this variety. But if you want more detail, you should know it's an Amazon brand, and the price tag is around $24 for a 3-pack of 12-ounce bags ($7 per pack). That's a steal for Organic and Fair Trade certified java!

The blend isn't very distinctive but makes for a solid daily cuppa when you're in a rush to get out the door without fussing with more exotic beans. The medium roast may not be the best roast for Peruvian coffee beans, but it compliments the medium-bodied beans producing a tart and lightly sweet palette with a smooth finish. It may seem too acidic if you prefer your java on a toastier side, and it's not well-suited for espresso, cappuccino, or latte. But it's perfect for your drip machine, Chemex, or even cold brew. Incidentally, the pre-ground beans are ideal for these exact brewing methods.

If you prefer the speed of a Keurig machine, the same variety is available as K-cups. Want to grind before brewing? AmazonFresh has you covered, with a whole-bean version of this blend. It's not my favorite but still nice to have in a pantry for an occasional change of pace.

White Coffee Organic Andes Coffee

White Coffee Organic Andes Coffee

  • Brand: White Coffee
  • Roast Level: Medium_roast
  • Flavor: Tip of the Andes
  • Specialty: Organic
  • Weight: 0.2 Pounds

Last but definitely not least on my list is this single-serve K-cup option that'll have you craving another cuppa. I am guilty of using a Keurig from time to time when life gets hectic, and I'm sure everyone can enjoy the simplicity and speed this miracle machine offers. Besides, these pods produce a smooth brew with a pleasant finish and no overwhelming bitterness or acidity, thanks to a well-balanced medium roast. It's a nice alternative to boring Brazilian java, at the very least.

And you don't have to feel guilty about those single-serve pods anymore! For one, White Coffee is Organic, Fair Trade, and Rainforest Alliance certified, so it's a win-win for us and the planet. And the pods are biodegradable and compostable, so they won't add extra waste to your household. However, you should research composting facilities in your area to learn where the pods can be processed, as you're unlikely to successfully compost them at home.

The one downside to this variety is the 10-count pack. I can go through it in a week, and restocking is always a pain. Luckily, you can buy this coffee in bulk, and a set of 4 packs is around $23. It's a bit pricier than whole-bean varieties, but I, for one, am ready to pay extra for convenience.

What’s Different About Peruvian Coffee Beans?

Peru was among the first Latin American states to start coffee farming in the middle of the 18th century, but the crops were modest and mostly enough to supply the local demand. It wasn't until the cusp of the 20th century that the industry took off, and the beans were finally making it out of the country.

As of 2017, the US is the largest market for Peruvian beans, followed closely by Germany and Belgium. Funnily enough, Brazil is also among the major java importers from Peru. While the country is close to the top ten of worldwide coffee producers, it is remarkably the fourth largest organic java exporter in the world. While the lack of infrastructure stunted the coffee industry development, it also enabled Peruvian farmers to sell their produce as organic and specialty-grade beans, driving up the rates.

So if you haven't heard of Peruvian coffee, it's just because it isn't as plentiful as Colombian or Brazilian, and neither is it as well-marketed as Ethiopian or Hawaiian. But it's still a treat, thanks to the unique growing conditions and processing techniques.

Know Your Peruvian Java

A quick glance at Google Earth will let you know that Peru hosts the Andes, thus making a large part of the country's territory a highland. While that's not ideal for infrastructure, education, medicine, or traditional agriculture crops, it provides perfect conditions for growing coffee. There's enough rain to make the cherries juicy and sweet, and the soil is rich enough to produce a well-balanced flavor. Even the lack of infrastructure is good for coffee plants, forcing farmers to use organic fertilizers and avoid pesticides. No roads or heavy machinery means no deforestation, so the beans are harvested from shade-grown Arabica trees.

Most farmers rely on decades-old coffee growing and processing traditions that produce superb results. Every cherry is hand-picked between May and September. To ensure the beans retain most of their flavor, the cherries are wet-processed, meaning the pulp dries out in the sun and transfers the accumulated sugars to the bean. Once the beans are fermented, the pulp is cleaned off, and the beans are dried before starting on their lengthy journey to your pantry.

Saved by Co-ops

Peruvian geography played a major part in the coffee industry's development, and it still does. Instead of huge corporate plantations, the country relies on tiny family-owned farms of which there are over 200,000. Each lot is barely a few acres big, and most farmers didn’t have a chance to access the international market for decades. The bean quality suffered, and Peruvian java got an undeserved reputation for being mediocre at best.

Luckily, as demand for coffee skyrocketed at the end of the last century, Peruvian farmers gathered in co-ops to pool their resources and improve the major export crop's quality and reputation. Cenfrocafe became the largest Peruvian co-op that includes over 2,000 farms. Their combined efforts instilled new quality standards, increased export sales, and turned around the worldwide perception of java from Peru. If you notice Cenfrocafe affiliation on a bag of beans, you can be assured of its quality.

Still, Cenfrocafe is not the sole Peruvian coffee co-op. Most major growing regions have farmer cooperatives. For instance, Norandino is a co-op of hundreds of Piura coffee and sugar cane farmers, the second-largest in Peru. Pangoa is a San Martin cooperative, while Sol y Café is among the youngest co-ops, established in 2008 by java farmers in the regions of San Ignacio, Jaen, and Cajamarca.

When it comes to Peruvian coffee beans, where to buy them isn't the question you should be asking (Amazon is the most obvious answer). Instead, you should ask where they are grown. The country is huge and hosts plenty of growing regions and subregions, but let me walk you through the few that really matter.

Cajamarca

Set high on the Andes slopes, the Cajamarca coffee-growing region is known for its 'gold.' The low level of industrialization and ideal growing conditions translate into specialty-grade beans that are sought after by true gourmets. Local java is consistently highly rated thanks to a full-body, crisp acidity, and lasting finish. The balanced flavor is supported by an intense aroma.

Chanchamayo

The Chanchamayo valley belongs to the Junin coffee region of Peru placed smack dab in the middle of the country. The coffee trees are grown on the Andes slopes at an elevation of around 5,000 feet. The rich soil and ideal climate produce a well-balanced, smooth cuppa with sweet fruit and chocolate nuances.

Amazonas

Nestled in the highlands of north-western Peru along with Piura and Cajamarca, Amazonas boasts elevations of around 6,000 feet above sea level. This translates into a cooler climate that promotes slow ripening of the coffee cherries and a sweeter cuppa. Expect the notes of fruit, citrus, and chocolate in an Amazonas brew.

San Martin

The third-largest coffee-growing region of the country encompasses the Andean Plateau and the curves of the Huallaga River. The many hills and valleys are the home of Machu Picchu and hundreds of family-owned coffee and cacao plantations. Most of the produce is organic, and the java is medium-bodied, balanced, and low on acid.

True Peruvian Brew

Now that you know your way around the four major coffee-growing regions, let's learn how Peruvians take their java for maximum enjoyment. If none of the traditional brewing methods appeal to you, pour-over, French press, drip machine, or espresso maker are all excellent options too.

Café

Don't get fooled by the fancy name, as it's usually nothing but a cup of instant coffee you get in street food vendors or local cafes. It can also refer to a cup of pour-over coffee, so don't expect an espresso shot or even a French pressed cuppa. However, the beans are usually so flavorful and fresh that the drink tastes great regardless of the brewing method.

Pasado

Cafe Pasado is a traditional Peruvian brewing method that calls for a two-chambered pot similar to a percolator. The hot water and grounds are added to the top chamber and boiled, and the finished brew is collected at the bottom of the pot. Despite the strong, intense flavor, cafe Pasado is shared even with children who learn traditional family recipes from early childhood.

Cold Brew

Considering the toasty climate, it's no wonder Peruvians enjoy cold drinks, such as Pisco sour or Inca Kola. Coffee is no exception. After a 12-hour steeping period in cool water, cold brew is served chilled and perfect for enjoying the lighter tones and bright acidity prevalent in some varieties of the local beans.

Peruvian Poop Coffee

Never ones to be left behind, Peruvian farmers followed in the footsteps of their Indonesian competitors. Whereas Kopi Luwak is a dung coffee that's passed through the digestive system of a civet, Uchunari coffee is eaten and digested by a coati, a small local animal. In fact, 'uchunari' or 'mishasho' are the common names locals use for these animals.

The novelty coffee is said to taste sweet and full-bodied. According to some researchers, partial digestion removes excessive bitterness from the beans, and they develop a pleasant, long-lasting aftertaste. Considering the processing method, Uchunari coffee is hard to come by, and it's extremely expensive, with prices sometimes exceeding $300 per pound.

But before you decide to give Kopi Luwak or Uchunari coffee a taste, I should warn you that you're likely to be scammed. For one, most dung beans have nothing to do with animals or this unique processing approach. Worst of all, most animals engaged in coffee production are caged and kept in horrible conditions. Despite my endless curiosity about all things coffee, I'd rather steer clear of dung coffee and be safe in the knowledge that my caffeine addiction doesn't harm cute furballs half a world away.

Besides, I've listed a few of the best Peruvian dark roast coffee beans and some medium roast alternatives for your drinking pleasure. Give them a try before you go looking for a ridiculous marketing shtick that's dung coffee.

Renat Mamatazin

Renat Mamatkazin

2021/01/19

Founder and owner of Lion Coffee and 3ChampsRoastery, 1st place winner of Ukrainian Barista Championship 2017. Interested in travelling, football and Formula-1 (besides coffee, of course).