£14.00£31.00

Clear

Description

Finca Santa Isabel is located in Santa Rosa, Nuevo Oriente about 60 km southeast of Guatemala City, Guatemala.  The farm has been passed down through four generations of the Keller family since 1899. 

Each coffee cherry at Santa Isabel is carefully selected, handpicked, and sorted, guaranteeing a consistent and high quality product.

In the cup you can expect a syrupy body, indicative of the finest washed, Guatemalan coffees with rich, sugary undertones reminiscent of chocolate and fudge.  A clean and rounded acidity profile of orange, papaya and melon creates a moorish, balanced and sweet cup all round.

£14.00£31.00

Clear

Producer

Alex and Martin Keller

Cup Profile

Chocolate Fudge, Orange, Melon

Country

Guatemala

Preparation

Washed

Terroir

Santa Rosa

Genetics

Anacafe 14, Sarchimor, Pache Enano

Altitude

1100-1300m

Cup Score

85

Sourcing

Direct Trade / Los Amigos

Description

Finca Santa Isabel is located in Santa Rosa, Nuevo Oriente about 60 km southeast of Guatemala City, Guatemala.  The farm has been passed down through four generations of the Keller family since 1899. 

Each coffee cherry at Santa Isabel is carefully selected, handpicked, and sorted, guaranteeing a consistent and high quality product.

In the cup you can expect a syrupy body, indicative of the finest washed, Guatemalan coffees with rich, sugary undertones reminiscent of chocolate and fudge.  A clean and rounded acidity profile of orange, papaya and melon creates a moorish, balanced and sweet cup all round.

In 2004, Santa Isabel suffered widespread disease of their crops.  After extensive research, the Keller family decided that the only way to save the farm was to implement a restructuring of the farm, planting disease-resistant varieties (such as Sarchimor, Anacafe 14 and Pache Enano) and an Organic approach to cultivating the land.  They did in fact, go one step further and secured Biodynamic status, becoming the first farm in Guatemala to achieve this in 2007/2008.

Our owner, Jamie visited Guatemala earlier in the year to source new coffees and was introduced to Alex and Martin Keller through Markos and Christina Fischer-Ortiz who operate Los Amigos.  Their mission is to support producers in Guatemala and partner them up with roasters to engage in direct relationships and the sourcing of coffees.

Markos first came to Ancoats Coffee’s attention back in 2018 whilst touring the UK with several producers they work with and coincided nicely with the Manchester Coffee Festival.  We then welcomed them to the roastery for an event on sustainability and a cupping of their latest crops the week after.  Fast forwarding to 2020, Jamie picked up the relationship with Markos and Christina who welcomed him to their home and organised an extensive trip around various regions and producers to showcase the best of Guatemalan coffee.   

There were many highlights and outstanding coffees on offer on the trip (and unfortunately not all the coffees / producers enjoyed could be sourced on this occasion!) but Jamie was really impressed with the overall Biodynamic approach and processing of Finca Santa Isabel.

Alex and Martin Keller who operate the family farm, are extremely forward-thinking characters and have put their engineering minds to great use across the farm.  Unlike some other producers in that region, who process their coffees to parchment stage on the farm and then ship them to a dry-mill for storage/preparation for export (where further steps on quality are made), the Keller brothers have designed and engineered all of these processing steps right on the farm itself, which houses it’s very own dry-mill.  This essentially keeps as much control over the final quality of the coffees as possible. The level of design and engineering implemented here, from wet-processing to preparation for export, is something to behold!

However that is nothing in comparison to the approach to Biodynamic agriculture itself across the farm.  Essentially Biodynamic farming encapsulates various esoteric concepts drawn from the ideas of Rudolph Steiner (1861-1925).  Initially developed in 1924, it treats soil fertility, plant growth and livestock management as symbiotic processes working together in harmony, harnessing spiritual and cosmic perspectives. 

Biodynamics has much in common with other organic approaches – it emphasises the use of manures and composts and excludes the use of synthetic (artificial) fertilisers on soil and plants.  Methods unique to the biodynamic approach include treatment of animals, crops, and soil as a single system, with emphasis on local production, distribution systems and use of traditional and/or development of new local breeds and varieties.  Some methods use an astrological sowing and planting calendar, treating the wider relationships as something directly connected to the universe and cosmos. Biodynamic agriculture also uses various herbal and mineral additives for compost and field sprays.

The highest area of the property is a protected nature reserve where there are many diverse species of plants and animals.  Biodiversity and sustainability are key components in the production of Santa Isabel coffee and the preservation of the nature reserve. 

The farm houses its very own herd of goats and also sources manures from neighbouring farm stables, a handy relationship to utilise the abundant waste material to create and develop their own nutrient-rich fertilisers for the coffee plants.  A wormery helps to break down all these natural sources into compost material that, combined with minerals from the rich, volcanic soils from the area, can be used to maintain the nutrient balance required to produce exceptional coffees.  Additionally a secret recipe of various plant materials, manure and minerals are also combined to create a mixture that is sprayed onto the plants instead of chemical pesticides and fungicides to combat diseases naturally, like leaf-rust.

 

Alex Keller says “the main benefit of not needing to spray fungicides, allows us to maintain better local native yeasts on the fruit skin (coffee cherries), which in turn ferments coffee after depulping and develops further aromas and flavours.  Less yeasts and biology, equals less aroma and delicate flavour profiles.”

The next process that, in essence, closes the loop of agriculture, is the pollination of the farm and coffee plants themselves.  Martin Keller, the more experimental of the brothers, developed several beehive colonies that support and maintain prehistoric and endangered species.  Jamie was astounded to see these amazing creatures at work and are quite different to the average bee you may find in your garden here in the UK. They are tiny in comparison, more akin to the average mosquito and are stingless.  The honey they produce from the jasmine-like coffee flowers is simply sublime and also carries organic certification. 

Each coffee cherry at Santa Isabel is carefully selected, handpicked, and sorted, guaranteeing a consistent and high quality product.  Alex says “we dry the coffee initially for 3 to 4 days directly under the sun, with the remaining drying process under shade cloth on patios thereafter.  This allows us to better maintain the natural oils without sunburning the coffees.”

In the cup you can expect a syrupy body, indicative of the finest washed, Guatemalan coffees with rich, sugary undertones reminiscent of chocolate and fudge.  A clean and rounded acidity profile of orange, papaya and melon creates a moorish, balanced and sweet cup all round.