Fredy Rapalo

Fredy Rapalo  is an innovative third generation coffee farmer in western Honduras. Few people are more passionate about their craft than this man, and it shows in every aspect of his coffee growing process. How a coffee bean is shelled, dried, and roasted affects its flavor, and Fredy is meticulous every step of the way.

His aim is to leave the land as close to natural as possible. Unlike many other farms in the area, as you walk his coffee farm, you are greeted by towering old-growth trees. When expanding any portion of the farm, Fredy makes sure that standing timber remains where it’s at. This provides shade for the coffee plants, prevents erosion, and doesn’t needlessly do away with nature. “It affects the flavor of the coffee,” he says.

Not all coffee farmers trim and fertilize their plants, but Fredy has established it as an important part of his process. Rather than buying commercial organic fertilizers, they built chicken houses. While the chickens are sold off for food when full-grown, their manure is mixed with the hulls removed during the shelling process to formulate a truly organic mixture that’s rich in nitrates and safe for the environment. The cost of trimming and fertilizing adds about $1,000 USD per acre, but Fredy believes it is a valuable return on investment.

As the former mayor of San Luis, Fredy is truly a man of the people, a fact readily seen when spending time with him throughout the local community. But his devotion to those around him doesn’t simply start and end with public service. As an entrepreneur, Fredy has established multiple businesses that not only provide goods and services to the residents of the area but provide jobs as well. His coffee farm alone employs 150 to 200 workers during the harvest seasons to pick the ripe beans, in addition to kitchen staff to serve the workers free meals and the cultivators who work throughout the year pruning and fertilizing the plants.

Those who work the fields during harvest are paid by the “gallon” – a woven basket that is most often tied around the worker’s waist and measured out at the end of the day. Fredy pays these workers five lempiras (Honduran currency) more per basket than any of the other farms in the area, and it is not uncommon to see entire families out working the fields together.

Fredy also owns and operates a coffee processing facility where all of the coffee from his farm is hulled, dried, and either packaged for export or sent for roasting. In addition to employing a full workforce, this facility also serves as a place where smaller farmers and individuals can bring their raw beans for processing.

Tasting Notes: This coffee the brown-sugar sweetness that many Mexican coffees strive for and is complimented by aromas of green apple and milk chocolate.
Community: San Luis
Region: Santa Barbara
Country: Honduras
Variety: Bourbon,Catimor,Caturra,Typica
Process: Fully Washed; Patio Dried
Elevation: 1,600 meters