The Mendoza family

The Mendoza Family

At 5,900 ft up, deep in the mountains of the Barrios Altos district sits a house, as if balancing a top the mountain with no more than 10 feet on the front or back of the house staring down treacherous slopes. This is where Nancy, her husband Romario, and their two children Dana and Mayra call home—atop a mountain with a sweeping view of a seemingly endless range.

Nancy and Romario have been producing coffee together since 2013, but for Nancy it has been most of her life. She is a third generation producer and has seen vast changes in production. She remembers when it was normal to leave the coffee cherries to dry on the plant with no control at all, but these days it's much different. On loosely compacted terrain that gives way with each step, using the coffee plants themselves as foot rests as to not slide down the mountain, the family selectively harvest only the coffee cherries that have ripened. They'll perform this harvest three to four times a season, and this is where they spend their days all year.

Back up top the mountain, a few feet from the house sits areas for quality checking the cherries, depulping, washing, and ultimately the space for drying where they'll constantly rake and turn the coffee for days to ensure an even dry. The family is currently working towards building a "modulo" or drying house which provides additional space and control over the drying process⁠—but it's a slow process as they're balancing construction alongside the recovery of a portion of their parcel which was lost.

In early 2021, due to non-stop heavy rains the Mendoza's finca suffered from a landslide. A tidal wave of land, rocks, and trees laid waste to new lots of geisha the family had planted along with equipment and small living quarters located near the bottom of the finca (jump to photos below). The losses were devastating for the family, not just for the plants and equipment, but the refuge as well. Now equipment must be shuffled up and down the mountain daily, hours are longer, rest is more limited, and eating and sleeping requires them to trek back up the mountain.

Nancy and Romario seem optimistic as ever though. After the harvest they're planning on reconstructing as quickly as possible and rebuilding what they once had even better than before. They lots of varietals which are currently mixed are being replaced by planned lots of single varietals to create better opportunities for blends and new business opportunities.

The Mendozas are only one farming family we partner with to bring specialty coffee from Peru all the way to coffee lovers all over the US in turn. We loved our time with Nancy, Romario and the rest of the family. We wish them the best in the recovery and will be helping out in any way we can.

30% of the profits made from the Mendoza's coffee goes directly into their pockets and their community.

Shop now to see what the Mendozas and Peru have to offer.

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The finca


San Ignacio, Cajamarca, Peru


5742 - 5906 ft. (1750 - 1800 meters)


4.9 acres (2 hectares)


Organic, Fairtrade


Bourbon, Catimor, Caturra, Geisha, Pache, Typica



An interview with Nancy

What generation coffee farmer are you?

It started with my grandfather, then my father. I'm the third generation.

How many years have you been producing coffee?

I started when I was 10 or 11. In 2013 my father gave me some land and since then we bought some additional land as well. So I would say I've been producing on my own since about 2013.

What is your favorite part of producing coffee?

My favorite part is when it flowers. It smells so good and looks beautiful. I love eating fruit I pick from the farm and looking at all the plants flowering. 

What is the hardest part about growing coffee?

The harvest is the hardest. It happens during the rainy season, you can't be slow. You have to ferment, wash, then dry. You have to work non stop until it is done.

What challenges do you face?

Rain makes it very hard, it makes working dangerous and the rain also makes weeds grow quicker making us work harder. When the price of coffee drops it makes everything harder for us as well. We make less money, but the prices of everything else keeps going up.


From all the rain we also had a landslide destroy all the new geishas we planted. It also destroyed our small home we had on the farm where we cooked and slept when we didn't want to go back up to our home. It also washed away our equipment like our brush trimmer.

What challenges does your community face?

The price of coffee makes it hard to live. The government forgets about us. The roads are bad, cars fall off the road after bad rains and it takes too long to repair the roads and my children have to walk on them to get to school.

How has climate change affected production?

I don't think so. This year for example has been perfect for coffee production.

What plans do you have for your farm?

We're improving our process learning more from the association, planting geishas and working on improving fermentation. We're saving up to build a drying house and little by little planting varietals in planned sections instead of mixing varietals like we have in other lots.

Do you produce anything else on your farm?

Bananas, oranges, guava, and a few herbs and vegetables like beans and corn mixed between the coffee plants. We also have chickens, pigs and guinea pigs. We also make cheese with the milk from my father's cows.

How has the whole coffee production process changed over the years from harvesting to selling?

There's been a lot of change. For example my father used to leave the coffee drying on the plants before harvesting, then they started taking everything even the green coffee, then they started harvesting ripe fruits. Now along with selective harvesting we're also trying to control fermentation. We use bags now to ferment the coffee in the cherry which raises the quality and is also cleaner.

What makes you feel the most proud about being a producer of coffee?

In the case of quality it makes us so proud when we can work hard and raise the points of our coffee.

What would you like to say to the people drinking your coffee?

When you drink our coffee remember it's pure, we work hard every day for it. We're always working hard to improve and we hope to keep doing this far into the future.

30% of the profits made from the Mendoza's coffee goes directly into their pockets and their community.

Shop the Mendoza's coffee
Read more about our profit sharing program