In 2004, Santa Isabel experienced a pandemic of coffee rust disease. Producer Alex Keller experimented with a variety of methods to treat the problem, but finally decided that the only solution was to return to organic cultivation. 2007 heralded their first certified organic production.
Since then, Alex has continued experimenting with innovative cultivation at the farm. Nowadays, it is a model of biodynamic organic agriculture; producing two pounds of composted dirt/fertilizer for every pound of coffee produced. Alex proudly showed us around the farm, even unearthing the fungi underneath a tree log to display the symbiotic relationship between fungi—beneficial to plant root systems and allowed to thrive due to Alex’s organic conditions—and the tree root systems. He has also planted other flowering plants and trees around the farm to attract more diverse species of insects. Alex’s goal is to build a diverse and sustainable ecosystem within his farm, one that mimics the natural preserve surrounding it.
Along with precise cultivation, Alex is meticulous about processing. Cherry selection, washing and drying protocols are painstakingly followed, producing clean, consistent and delicious coffee. His grandmother Isabel would be proud that he has put her name on this full-bodied, chocolatey coffee.
This coffee is certified USDA Organic, meaning its production did not involve the use of synthetic substances such as most pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers.