Summer Allocation Coffee 2020: Colombia Palestina Pink Bourbon

 

Notes from our importer:

I have been known to joke about pink and orange cultivars as just being underripe versions of their red fruit trees, but this Pink Bourbon, aka Bourbon Rosado, is no laughing matter. It is seriously delicious.

I’d been keeping an eye on it ever since Trader and Team Colombia coffee buyer Amanda Amato messaged me to let me know that “It’s soooo good, everyone here is raving about it.”

I can confirm that it is indeed so good, extra ooos included. Raspberry lemonade, rose wine, grilled pineapple, watermelon candy, super sweet and unique with a lot of complexity to it, it’s really something special.

Tucked away in the mountainous regions near Palestina in Colombia’s southern Huila department, this coffee was harvested and processed by a small group of producers associated with an organization called Terra Coffee SAS. Most are multi-generational homes who have been producing coffee for decades. The region is part of a gateway to a national park called “Cuevas de los Guacharos” (the Guacharo is a large, fruit-eating bird), and was once called “Aguazul,” a name that Terra Coffee have applied to their exports.

Most of these farms average less than 3 hectares a piece, but small plot size hasn’t impeded Colombian producers from adding value to their crops. Unlike smallholders in many other areas of the world, who frequently sell their cherries to centralized processing centers, Colombia’s powerful Federation (FNC) has empowered producers to pulp, ferment, and wash their coffee, thus selling finished parchment to a dry mill and getting a higher price per pound. Average fermentation times in the region are relatively long, 25-30 hours per batch. Check the green analysis details for further information on this unique cultivar.

This coffee from Colombia comes with somewhat above average density, as well as about average moisture content and water activity. It shows a narrow screen size spread, with the majority falling into screen size 17 through 19, and a full 30% falling into screen size 18, making it a fairly large coffee. Overall this is a well-rounded coffee with specs that should lend to ease in roasting, though this coffee’s slightly above average density may cause it to resist heat, so consider using a higher charge temperature or increased energy at the early stages of the roast for best results.

Pink bourbon is a hybrid of Red and Yellow bourbon. It is said to be both very resistant to rust disease and difficult to raise, as the crop must be isolated to prevent cross-pollination. Bourbon itself was originally taken by French missionaries from Yemen to the island of La Reunion, then called Bourbon, and then spread in the 1800s to Africa and the Americas, particularly Brazil, and from Brazil to the rest of Central America. Bourbon is a tall variety with a reputation for very good cup quality but poor resistance to disease and pests, making Pink Bourbon unusual in this characteristic.

This washed process Pink Bourbon from Huila, Colombia is the poster child of a clean coffee. This coffee forgoes the punchy, fermenty fruit bomb profile of many higher end offerings and instead focuses on clarity and nuance. I am very excited to show this coffee off and I’m proud to use our Allocation line to highlight truly special coffees such as this.

I brewed using Kalita wave with 31.5 grams of dry coffee in yielding 510 grams of brewed coffee for a ratio just a bit over 16:1. My brew time was 3 minutes and 40 seconds. Aroma is always difficult for me to describe but tart raspberry was unmistakable. My initial sips of coffee at high temperature produced flavor notes of rose, hibiscus, and lemon. The body was silky and medium/light, like herbal tea with a mild red apple acidity. 

As the coffee cools, the body thickens and becomes very juicy with a sparkle that reminds me of powder candy. I begin tasting plum, tangerine, nutmeg, and black cherry on the finish. The cup is very sweet without overwhelming and is dominated by pink lemonade in both flavor and acidity. I recommend brewing this coffee on Kalita or V60. After brewing, don’t rush to finish the cup. This coffee is very nuanced and should be slowly appreciated from hot to cool.