Norma Iris Fiallos owns the farm San Rafael, located in the Los Limos area of Corquin, Copan. Norma is one of the most innovative producers in the area, growing a vast array of different varieties, including Bourbon, Catuai, Maragogype, and Parainema. The farm is settled within a pine forest, which greatly acidifies the soil, giving the coffee a very unique cup profile. The coffee is completely shade grown and the production area represents a fraction of the total land. This lot is Normas Catuai which has been naturally processed with an Anaerobic pre-fermentation. The cherries were fermented for 72 hours before being placed on raised beds and dried.
Norma is nearly 90 years old. She was born and raised in rural Honduras, in a village between Corquin and la Copan where her grandparents used to live. Her father was a pharmacist who helped to provide their village with quality healthcare. Her mother had a strong personality and she was the head of the household.
Both Norma’s parents decided to set up a farm with various crops and cattle and they were the first people to introduce coffee farming to the region. They were well respected, and are still remembered by local people today.
Norma wanted to be a doctor but for religious reasons and because of the civil war her parents wouldn’t allow her to study medicine. Instead, she studied nursing in Guatemala, specialized in obstetrics and went to the US and to Puerto Rico to work in social services.
Norma returned to Honduras in her early 30s and spent most of her adult life in the capital Tegucigalpa with her husband and their four children. She worked in a government hospital with her husband.
When Norma’s father passed away in Corquin, her husband went to help his mother-in-law on the family coffee farms. Norma stayed in the capital with their children to make sure they could receive a better education.
One of her sons, Donaldo, studied agronomy in Tegucigalpa and decided to settle down in Corquin to work on the family farms. He was managing the farms with his grandmother until she passed away in 2013. Donaldo has made a lot of changes ensuring that the farms are more efficient. He has planted a lot of different varieties and decided to grow organic coffee. The family chose to rename the farms — Sol Naciente and San Rafael.
Norma, who was managing the family business remotely from the capital, joined Donaldo in Corquin when her husband passed away. They have up to 60 employees during harvest time. Their farms are considered as coffee schools because many of their employees end up having coffee farms on their own, applying what they have learned at Sol Naciente and San Rafael to their practices.