Luis “Wicho” Valdés III is the third-generation producer of Finca Santa Isabel. Located among the rolling hills of the San Cristobal town in Alta Verapaz, Cobán, Wicho cultivates and processes one of Guatemala’s most sought-after coffees.
Luis Valdés I, Wicho’s grandfather, purchased the plot of land now known as Santa Isabel in the 1960s. Wicho’s first memories in coffee consisted of visiting his grandfather at Santa Isabel when he was 10 years old, where he grew coffee and sugarcane. For the past twenty years, he has been producing quality specialty coffee on both of his farms, Santa Isabel and San Lorenzo. He also processes the coffee at Santa Isabel’s mill, which has been in his family since 1985.
Cobán is a coffee growing region characterized by its humid weather and constant rainfall all throughout the year, with an intense rainy season and a light ‘chipi chipi’ rainy season. Wicho uses various methods of drying to adjust to the unpredictable rainy climate of Cobán. His coffee is planted in terraces on the steep areas of the farm, to allow heavy rains to drain and to prevent soil degradation. He also applies organic matter to the soil in the form of coffee pulp and worm cultured soil.
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