Amrita Certified Pure® Coffee’s Anne Valdez first fell in love with Selva Negra in 2008 when she visited the farm as part of the Let’s Talk Coffee program hosted by Sustainable Harvest. The excitement for the farm visit began days before during breakfast with farm owner Mausi Kϋhl and her son-in-law Stephen Franklin talking about the farm. Anne had previously heard about Selva Negra when the farm was presented the Specialty Coffee Association of America’s Sustainability Award. The visit to the farm did not disappoint.
Upon arrival to the farm one sees a reminder of the Revolution War, a tank parked at the entrance to the farm. Once in the farm, the serenity of the farm embraces all visitors. Coffee plants line the road leading to the farms restaurant and hotel cabins. The hotel cabins give homage to the German ancestors of the German immigrants who first tended to the land in the late 1800’s. Today the farm is owned by descendants of the original farm family. The farm welcomes visitors from around the world.
Mausi Kϋhl lives by the motto of “Waste Not”. Everything about the operation of the farm takes into consideration the protection of the environment and reduction of waste. The farm is self-sustaining by generating its own electric, heat and food. Most of the food served at the restaurant is grown or raised on the farm. Leftover food from the restaurant is fed to the pigs. Egg shells are ground up for an organic calcium fertilizer. Water used in coffee processing is filtered with the releasing gases captured to generate fuel for stoves and water heaters. The algae grown by the filtering of the water is then used for coffee compost. The cleaned water is now used for watering the vegetables and flowers grown in the nursery. Plastic soda bottles are turned into brocca (coffee borer pests) traps. The list of recycling and re-purposing goes on and on. With over 300 workers and their families living on the farm, the hotel and restaurant the farm produces only one 55 gallon barrel of trash per week and less CO2 than the average American household.
The farm has won numerous sustainability awards. Environmentalist from around the world, with a desire to learn about new sustainable practices to preserve the environment visit the farm on a regular basis. Institutes including the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Institute come to learn and document the different species of fauna and wildlife found on the farm. Mausi Kϋhl’s vision is a working farm that serves as an institute for sustainable farming practices.
Farm certifications include Rainforest Alliance, USDA Organic and Bird Friendly. Over 250 species of Birds have been documented on the farm. One third of the farm is native forest, one third is shaded coffee forest and one third is rotational pastures with the farm and hotel infrastructure. Amrita Certified Pure® Coffee has named their espresso as Blue Heron in honor of the bird whose habitat includes the Selva Negra farm, Amrita Island and surrounding areas.
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