Not far from the town of Coban, in the department of Alta Verapaz, the Luis Valdez family has been farming the land for more than a century. Santa Isabel was established in 1885 as a sugar cane plantation. Eventually, sugar cane was replaced by coffee shrubs and an adjacent farm, San Lorenzo, was purchased. In addition to coffee, 150 hectares is dedicated to agroforestry, with pine, cypress, and macadamia trees.
The climate can be extreme, with the humidity hovering near 100 and the night temperatures dipping to freezing. These conditions no doubt contribute to the unique profile and profound sweetness of these coffees. The methods for cultivation and processing must take into account the influence of this environment. The Valdez family has adapted and continually strives to improve the quality of their coffee.
Today, the two farms share a wet mill near the family home. During harvest, as each day’s fruit is delivered to the mill, the caturra varietal is kept separate from the rest. Luis’ wife, Lila Martinez, particularly enjoys the flavor of this caturra. We also found the caturra to be of exceptional quality and selected the harvest from three days in March.