About Finca El Milagro
Isabel Mendez is a coffee producer located in the Huehuetenango region in northwestern Guatemala. The farm is near the banks of the beautiful Rio Azul and about five miles from the closest municipality. Together with her father and mother, Isabel owns a small, 4 manzana farm called Finca El Milagro located from 1,000 to 1,700 meters above sea level. The farm was part of an old plantation that is now being renovated year by year with new coffee plants to produce high quality coffee.
Most of the farm is dedicated to traditional, washed processed coffee grown under shade trees using conservation practices that protect the soil and the water. For Isabel, working as a coffee farmer is an opportunity to thank /her parents for all they gave throughout her schooling.
Isabel spends most of her time advising other small producers in her cooperative. During the harvest season, Isabel turns her attention to her farm’s process for picking, making sure the ripest coffee cherries are selected with the goal of maintaining the highest quality. After the harvest, the coffee cherry is taken to the processing mill about 40 minutes away, where the coffee is de-pulped and undergoes the fermentation process. The coffee is then washed and dried under shade to provide more time to enhance the quality of green coffee, which currently includes varieties of catuai, caturra, sarchimor and other experimental coffee plants.
Isabel is very proud to be able to help her parents through her work in coffee. In the future, she plans to continue to invest in the farm, while monitoring use of resources like water and the nearby forest, to produce the best, most sustainable coffee possible. In order to diversify and invest in the future, Isabel has also began to produce coffees using new and experimental processes like honey and natural to expand her potential offerings.
In addition to running El Milagro, Isabel is also the founder of the cooperative Covicafe R.L., which is a cooperative of young people looking to increase the sustainability of coffee growing throughout generations. Through this initiative, the cooperative is able to show how the community’s youth can be involved in farming activities, innovating and leading the sustainability of coffee growing families. Through the cooperative, Isabel and her peers see numerous opportunities to innovate and support other coffee farmers contributing to development within the region, while achieving a sustainable cooperative and producing high-quality, competitive coffees.
SIZE: 4 manzanas (approx. 6.88 acres)
ALTITUDE: 1000 - 1700 masl
VARIETAL: Catuai, Caturra, Sachimor
PROCESS: Washed and Honey
LOCATION: Huehuetenango, Guatemala
COOPERATIVE: COVICAFE R.L.