The Tantalean Family
Nestled in the mountain tops of the Barro Negro district of San Ignacio, near the Neiras, la señora Nieves, with her husband Ezequiel, work tirelessly to produce some of the best coffee Cajamarca has to offer. Nieves, working with coffee nearly all her life, started as a young girl working alongside her parents building the skills and knowledge that would lead her to owning and operating her own finca.
Nieves has lived through a great deal of change within the coffee industry and embraces the direction it is heading. She feels producers are more united now than they've ever been—associations and cooperatives are more organized and the resources provided to their members result in a more knowledgeable community and higher quality coffee.
She remembers when selective harvesting was unheard of and when fermentation and drying held little importance. On one of our calls, Nieves light-heartily recalled when the family was producing quality coffee and still purchasing instant coffee from the grocery store for personal consumption. Now Nieves and family enjoy their own coffee. They're tasting the fruits of their labor—using it to understand their coffee better and improve year after year.
In Nieves mind, improvement is the only way forward. The Tantalean family continuously work on improving their processes and coffee through projects such as construction and expansion of raised-and-covered coffee drying beds as well as producing unique coffees through controlled fermentation and custom fertilizer blends. Nieves and family have fully embraced the specialty ways and loving the return they are receiving for their efforts and dedication.
Throughout our conversations with Nieves it is also clear she loves the role women have taken within the industry. In Peru, women are now the majority of coffee producers. They are land owners, they are decision makers, they hold positions of importance within their associations and cooperatives, and they are changing coffee for the better. Nieves feels this empowers women to be greater and do greater and we whole heartily agree.
The Tantaleans 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've yet to meet Nieves and family in person due to COVID-19, but we eagerly await the day.