ABOUT THIS COFFEE
Santa Isabel is a fifth-generation family farm, comprising 300 hectares in the beautiful and rugged region of Alta Verapaz: a unique growing region in Guatemala that has remarkable mountains, a cool climate and plenty of rainfall, as well as dense rainforest and impressive flora. Founded in 1875, the farm is today owned by Luis Valdés Sr and managed by his son, who is also called Luis—or, to his friends and family, “Wicho”.
The Valdés family care a lot about preserving their natural environment, and have dedicated nearly one-third of their farm (88 hectares) to a natural forest reserve—made up of cedar, pine and mahogony trees—which helps protect natural water resources and encourage biodiversity, providing a habitat for local animal and birdlife. Wicho also grows macadamia nut trees on the farm, which he harvests, roasts and sells.
The remaining 200 hectares of the farm at Santa Isabel is dedicated to coffee production. The plantation is planted out with Caturra (80%) and Catuaí (20%) variety trees. Wicho adopts a 3 year/3 row approach to pruning, to optimise ventilation and light (and reduce excess humidity), which minimises fungal disease (including leaf rust) and, in turn, the need for chemical applications. Inga trees are planted throughout the plantation to provide shade for the coffee trees and help enrich the soil by providing a healthy cover of foliage. Furthermore, frequent application of vermicompost (using the by-products of wet-processing) has enabled them to reduce their applications of chemical fertilisers by more than 15%.
Santa Isabel sits at 1,400–1,600m above sea level. The farm receives a lot of rainfall—around 3,500mm, which falls regularly for 9–10 months of the year. This constant rain (much of it a gentle drizzle) means that coffee tree flowering is very staggered, with eight to nine flowerings a year, usually between April and June. This results in a long harvest period, which typically runs from November–May, as the coffee cherries ripen at very different rates. To combat this, Wicho instructs at least 12 passes for picking (with breaks of up to 14 days between passes), to ensure that only the very ripest cherries are selected.
HOW THIS COFFEE IS PROCESSED
Within hours of being picked, the red cherries are transported by foot or tractor to Santa Isabel’s wet mill (located on the farm) where they are sorted through a mechanical siphon and graded by weight. They are pulped immediately and then fermented for up to 14 hours, and then passed through a “washer” to remove any remaining fruit. The coffee is then passed through channels and graded by weight, and then soaked in clean water for 24 hours. It is then dried in the sun for 7–10 days until it reaches 30% humidity and is then transferred to a greenhouse for a further 15–30 days to dry in full on raised beds.
ABOUT THIS ROASTER
"Semi-Pro Coffee. Dumb name, right?
That’s kind of the point.
Ultimately if you’re the kind of person who is turned off by the name, you’re not the kind of person who is going to be turned on by us.
We love coffee. Probably more than you.I know you went to Melbourne once and the barista talked you into an espresso that you awkwardly suffered through so now you know things. But here’s the deal. We went to Melbourne too. And we ordered our own espresso, and we kind of liked it."
Fast forward a few years and here they are. A group of people who love what they do and are proud of what they serve. Semi Pro source and roast some wonderful coffees from wonderful, hard working women and men all over the world. We’d love to share them with you. Chances are that if you don’t mind the name, you won’t mind the taste.