Red Plum, Peach, Brownie
Region: Alta Verapaz
Variety: Caturra, Sarchimor, Pache, Catuai
Santa Isabel is located in San Cristobal, in the upper regions of Alta Verapaz, very close to Coban - a wonderful region with remarkable mountains, rainforest and impressive flora.
The soil of this region is mostly clay and limestone. Coban and its neighbouring areas are predominantly characterized by humid subtropical forests.
The climate in the region is influenced by the Atlantic Ocean and is often cloudy with only a few hours of direct sunlight.
Flowering takes place during April and June, and the harvest season is between December and March.
Santa Isabel is a family business that started as a coffee plantation in 1875, when it was granted by Guatemala ́s President at the time to the great grandfather of the current owners, Luis Valdez.
In 1890, the farm was sold, however, after decades, the Valdez family managed to buy Santa Isabel back in 1961.
The coffee from Santa Isabel is now produced by fourth and fifth generations of Valdes Family.
The coffee farm has 187 hectares of coffee plantation where it produces strictly hard bean coffee of bourbon, caturra, catuai, sarchimor and pache varieties.
Inga and macadamia trees help provide shades for coffee plants. The annual production is around 2,000 of 69 kilogram bags of green coffee
which is exported to different countries around the world such as Denmark, Germany, Finland, United Kingdom, France, Australia and Italy.
Santa Isabel has also worked with many coffee companies in the United States.
Santa Isabel employs 40 full time workers year-round, and up to 500 seasonal labourers are employed during the busy harvest season.
Wicho has commented that although many farms in the region find it increasingly difficult to secure labour for the entirety of the harvest,
Santa Isabel has a stable and reliable work force, despite their reputation for being very particular with regards to selective picking.
In addition to paying fairly, a picker at Santa Isabel can harvest up to 160 pounds of cherries a day,
which means many of the same workers come back year after year resulting high quality and consistent pickings.
Environmental responsibility is a huge focus at Santa Isabel as they have reserved a natural forest.
Pine and cypress are planted on 100 hectares of farmland to reforest, reserve natural water resources around the farm, and create a natural habitat for animals, such as deer, birds, and squirrels.
Coffee pulp and organic waste are used as organic fertiliser. As far as quality is concerned, Santa Isabel carefully carries out every step during the production process from seed selection to storage of the finished product.
The coffee is handpicked, especially by women and then processed in an ecological wet mill to reduce the water consumption.
Water recycling is also implemented. Coffee beans are dried using two processes - sun dry and Guardiola dryer depending on the climate.
The Valdez family’s work has come to fruition when their coffee placed 8th place in the 2011 Cup of Excellent and 3rd place 2 years later in 2013.