Finca Santa Isabel

Sweet with notes of milky chocolate and apricot, full body and mild acidity with a long aftertaste.

Roast level: medium roast.

Finca Santa Isabel is very delicious in every kind of coffee method.



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  • Country: Guatemala
  • Region: Cobán/ San Cristóbal Verapaz.
  • Farm: Santa Isabel
  • Owner: Luis Valdes
  • Processing: Fully Washed and sun dried.
  • Altitude: 1,400 to 1,600 metres above sea level.
  • Varietal: Caturra and Catuai

Located near the town of San Cristóbal Verapaz, in the cool, rainy reaches of Cobán, Guatemala, Finca San Isabel is situated on 300 acres of high, but relatively level, fertile land. Finca Santa Isabel was first acquired by Luis Valdes II’s great-grandfather in 1875, when the land was granted to the Valdés family by Guatemala’s President; however, the farm was passed out of the hands of the family when it was inherited by a nephew who sold it to a third party. It took time for the farm to return to the Valdés family, who took charge again in 1960 when Luis Valdés I purchased it, bringing it back into the family. He started the coffee plantation in 1965. 

Don Luis and his son – also named Luis – manage the farm as general and agricultural manager, respectively. When Don Luis first planted the farm out in Bourbon, Caturra and Catuai, Cobán didn’t necessarily have a reputation for high-quality coffee, due in part to the fact that coffee from the region must often be mechanically dried because of the humid climate. Don Luis and his son, however, knew that the region had more to offer. By placing their attention on improved cultivation techniques and perfecting their drying practices, they succeeded transforming the quality of their coffee over the course of the last decade, even succeeding in placing Guatemala’s Cup of Excellence twice.

Coffee picking usually starts around mid November and will continue through until the end of March, and only the very ripest cherries are selected. After harvesting, the red cherries are taken to the farm’s receiving tanks by truck or – if at walking distance – by foot. They are then mechanically pulped. Coffee is fermented for up to 48 hours and is covered at night to maintain constant temperatures. After fermentation, the coffee is washed and then soaked in clean water for 24 hours to remove any traces of mucilage before being dried. 

All coffee at Finca Isabel is dried for at least one day on the patios – though full patio drying is only possible towards the end of the harvest, when the risk of rain is reduced. Usually, after spending one day on the patio, the coffee is stored overnight in wooden boxes before being moved to the greenhouses to dry between 15 and 30 days, or until a minimum of 30% humidity is reached. Much of the coffee is then finished in guardiolas according to a very strict and controlled drying schedule. Coffee is rotated in these mechanical driers at no more than 40°C and is rested between dryings to stabilise humidity. Once the parchment coffee reaches a constant 15% humidity, it is rested for at least 21 days in the warehouse before being delivered to the dry mill for milling.