Cup profile and tasting notes
Sweet melon through to milk chocolate with juicy mouthfeel and some tangy acidity - a well balanced cup.
|Coffee||Valmar Santa Isabel|
|Farm||Finca Valmar Santa Isabel|
|Variety||Bourbon / Caturra|
|City/Town||San Cristóbal Verapaz|
Quite possibly my favourite coffee at the moment. A lovely rich juiciness to it. Soft undertones but very distinct.
A mellow and yet complex coffee. Not overly powerful but with lots going on in terms of flavours. Soft on the palate with notes of citrus and caramel. A treat to drink with a little milk when made in a cafetière. I’ll be back for more.
Our Delivery Policy
Where do we deliver?
We would deliver to Mars if we could – to reach the whole of the universe with good coffee, but it is not that simple – so for now we deliver to:
UK: Channel Islands, Isle of Man, British Forces Post Office.
Europe: Andorra, Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Luxembourg, Monaco, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden.
How long will it take?
We do not work at weekends so the term working day means Monday to Friday. If you place an order on the weekend it will not be sent out until Monday.
All orders placed before 13:00hrs 'normally' go out the same day. We do not guarantee orders go out the same day as ordered.
Royal Mail - You can order up to 2kg (7 x 250g bags) using Royal Mail first or second class - orders over 2kg will be sent using Interlink Next Day
UK Mail Next Day - using this service you can order up to 10kg (38 x 250g bags) will ensure your order gets to you the next working day once the order is despatched from the roastery.
If you use this service you maybe required to sign for the delivery unless you elect to take responsibility for loss if left in a safe place. You will receive an email update from UKMail with a one hour delivery window and using the consignment number you track your order.
How do we keep you updated as to the status of your order.
Once you have placed your order you will receive 2 status updates - they will be:
Order confirmation – this means we have received your order and the coffee is yet to be roasted.
Shipped confirmation – this means your order has left our roastery by your chosen method.
Do we meet our delivery deadlines?
We try our best to meet the delivery deadline quoted, but on the odd occasion a parcel can be delayed due to reasons that are out of our control.
Why don't we offer free postage?
Nothing is free in life. We know you all love free postage and sometimes we do offer it as part of a promotion, but it is our policy to charge for postage. We have considered offering free postage but the costs would have to be absorbed elsewhere by you the customer. We don’t hide our postage costs.
Missing, Damaged or Incorrect Orders
We try very hard to ensure you receive your order in pristine condition. If you do not receive all your products or in the unlikely event that a product arrives damaged, please contact us via the email address within the 'contact us' section of the website.
Please note: Royal Mail does not class an international shipment as lost or missing for 28 working days unfortunately we can not take any action until this time has passed. During that time we recommend that you ask your local sorting office / post office if they've tried to deliver (even if they haven't left a card) and ask your neighbours if your order has been left with them. You should also check that the delivery address you gave us is correct, this can be found on your shipping confirmation email. If your delivery still hasn't arrived after 14 working days and you have performed the above steps then please email us.
Change of Mind, Address and Cancellations
You can cancel your purchase at any time either before or up to 7 working days* following the day you receive the goods by emailing us at the address shown in the 'contact us' section of the website.
Your product must be complete and in 'as new' condition e.g. if you have opened the postal packet to examine the product you must have done so without damaging or marking the product or packaging. It must not have been used and it must have the heat seal still in place. It should be returned with the original postal packet and packing note you received with it.
Please note that orders that have been ground to order (e.g - not whole roasted beans) may be exempt from our usual returns policy, as these represent a customised special order item. Any 'Free Gifts' received with the product must also be returned. Coffee Real will not refund the cost of postage incurred in returning a item.
If you follow the steps above you will receive a full refund of the product price and any delivery charge paid.
We cannot cancel your purchase when:
The seal has been broken on any products, or the goods were a special order to your specification.
To qualify for a refund or exchange the product must be:
In otherwise "as new" condition; and complete with any free gifts offered with it and, if possible, the original box and packaging.
This promise does not cover faults caused by accident, neglect, misuse or normal wear and tear.
If you have a coffee subscription with us please note that if you change your address and/or product profile in your account settings after the purchase date this will not update your current order, only future orders and thus you will need to notify us by email of any changes you wish to make.
What a stunning coffee.
Located near the town of San Cristóbal Verapaz, in the cool rainy reaches of Cobán, Guatemala, Finca Valmar San Isabel is situated on 300 acres of high, but relatively level, fertile land.
Finca San Isabel was first acquired by Luis Valdes II’s great-grandfather in 1875, when the land was granted to the Valdés family by Guatemala's President; however, the farm was passed out of the hands of the family when it was inherited by a nephew who sold it to a third party. It took time for the farm to return to the Valdés family, who took charge again in 1960 when Luis Valdes I purchased it, bringing it back into the family. He started the coffee plantation in 1965.
Don Luis and his son - also named Luis (nicknamed ‘Wicho’) - manage the farm as general and agricultural manager, respectively. Now Luis IV (5 years old), Wicho’s son and Luis’ grandchild, spends his school holidays at the farm, much as his father did when he was young.
When Don Luis first planted the farm out in Bourbon, Caturra and Catuai, Cobán didn’t necessarily have a reputation for high-quality coffee, due in part to the fact that coffee from the region must often be mechanically dried because of the humid climate.
Don Luis and Wicho, however, knew that the region had more to offer. By placing their attention on improved cultivation techniques and perfecting their drying practices, they succeeded transforming the quality of their coffee over the course of the last decade, even succeeding in placing Guatemala’s Cup of Excellence twice!
Wicho’s background in agronomy, combined with his passion for coffee farming, has led him to implement experimental practices that are paying off, as well, in the battle against coffee leaf rust. The farm’s innovative pruning schedule, which took some 15 years of experimentation to develop, has succeeded in greatly reducing the severity of rust’s impact on the plantation.
Plants are pruned according to a five row/five year cycle that is further fine-tuned according to each plant’s need for aeration and light. This helps to minimize applications of chemical fertilizers and pest control – in some cases, reduced by half of what their neighbours have to apply - by reducing excess humidity and fungal diseases. Furthermore, frequent application of lombricompost (mostly the by-products of wet-processing) has enabled them to reduce their applications of chemical fertilisers by more than 15%.
Although almost 80% of the farm is planted out in Caturra, the farm is also experimenting with new varieties, such as Pache. Currently, Santa Isabel plants their nursery under shade using polyurethane bags starting in May and continuing through August. Young plants are planted 15 months later.
Soil test analyses are completed throughout the farm to promote effective fertilisation and pest control. Santa Isabel also has a weather station (funded by ANACAFE) on the farm, which helps to effectively schedule the application of fertilizers and, in general, helps Wicho manage the farm more efficiently.
The annual precipitation at Santa Isabel is around 3,500mm, with regular rainfall between nine and ten months of the year. Constant rain (much of it gentle drizzle) means that flowering is very staggered, with 8-9 flowerings per year. Due to this prolonged flowering season, coffee ripens at different stages, which means that up to 10 passes (with breaks of up to 14 days between passes) are needed to ensure that only the very ripest cherries are selected. For 2015, picking started on the 15th of November and will continue through until the end of March.
After harvesting, the red cherries are taken to the farm’s receiving tanks by truck or - if at walking distance - by foot. They are then mechanically pulped. Coffee is fermented for up to 48 hours and is covered at night to maintain constant temperatures. After fermentation, the coffee is washed and then soaked in clean water for 24 hours to remove any traces of mucilage before being dried.
All coffee at Finca Isabel is dried for at least one day on the patios – though full patio drying is only possible towards the end of the harvest, when the risk of rain is reduced. Usually, after spending one day on the patio, the coffee is stored overnight in wooden boxes before being moved to the greenhouses to dry between 15 and 30 days, or until a minimum of 30% humidity is reached.
Much of the coffee is then finished in guardiolas according to a very strict and controlled drying schedule. Coffee is rotated in these mechanical driers at no more than 40°C and is rested between dryings to stabilise humidity. Once the parchment coffee reaches a constant 15% humidity, it is rested for at least 21 days in the warehouse before being delivered to the dry mill for milling.
Santa Isabel trains and employees 40 permanent workers year-around; up to 500 seasonal labourers are brought in for the coffee harvest. Wicho has commented that although many farms in the region find it increasingly difficult to secure labour for the entirety of the harvest, Santa Isabel has a stable and reliable work force, despite their reputation for being very demanding with regards to selective picking. In addition to paying fairly, a picker at Santa Isabel can harvest up to 160 pounds of cherry a day, which means many of the same workers come back year after year!