In the early 1980’s and up until the late 1990’s Peru was internally at war with two large socialist terrorist groups: The Shining Path (Sendero Luminoso) and The MRTA (Movimiento Revolucionario Tupac Amaru). These two terrorist groups occupied much of the mountainous coffee-growing regions of Peru and wreaked havoc on farmers by keeping them from exporting or growing coffee. Many farmers were driven out of their homes and farms but managed to survive by living on the run. One of our team members, Nate Marshsall spent part of his childhood in Peru during the terrorist occupation. Nate recalled hearing terrorist bombings, frequent power outages, and government road closures. These terrorist groups managed to destabilize much of Peru but were eventually halted in the late 1990’s when the group’s leaders were captured and imprisoned. These disastrous events almost entirely removed Peruvian coffee from the global market.
In 2013, as Peru was working its way back into the specialty coffee market, an outbreak of “Roya” or Leaf Rust Disease devastated several hundred thousand hectares of coffee plants, plummeting Peru into a state of emergency. This common coffee plant disease was brought on by poor soil and crop management, adverse climate conditions, and disease susceptible plant varietals. Seemingly undeterred by the devastation of their crops, these farming communities embraced new sustainable farming practices and planted disease-resistant coffee varietals. The coffee that we, at Heritage Roasting Co. serve today are the first fruits of that labor.
This coffee lot was produced by 39 different small-scale farmers. These farmers often cannot afford to hire on seasonal laborers for harvesting season so instead, they travel farm to farm harvesting their neighbor’s crops ensuring that their community is cared for. Because of this care for their neighbors in the face of great turmoil throughout their history, they decided to name this coffee lot Minca. Minca is a word from the native Andean language of Qechua which refers to the camaraderie and perseverance of a community. At Heritage Roasting Co. our mission is simple, “Value People. Create Community.” We at Heritage are about trying to create Minca not only in Shasta Lake but globally. We are proud to be able to partner with these Peruvian farmers as they overcome life’s challenges and exemplify community on their farms. We, like these Peruvian farmers, want to see more Minca in our world and we believe that it has to start with us.