Last week we began production roasting a new coffee from Colombia. This coffee is produced by our friends at Café Granja La Esperanza, the same people who brought you Cerro Azul. Our roaster Andy won the 2012 US Brewers cup with Cerro Azul (and nearly the World Brewer’s cup). This coffee comes from the Las Margaritas farm in Valle del Cauca. Perhaps one of the more interesting things about this coffee, and there are many given the producer, is that it is 100% Red Bourbon varietal.
In the same way that there are different varietals of wine grapes, so there are different coffee shrub varietals. If you remember, the coffees featured in our previous ‘Coffee is the New Craft-Beer’ blog post from Ninety Plus are 100% Gesha varietal, a rare and low-producing varietal. That said, the majority of coffees that we, and most roasters, source are a mix of a couple to several varietals from a specific farm or region. Information about varietals: how they taste, the kind of roast that suits them and what varietals a given farm grows is becoming readily available to the average consumer. In an effort to add to that conversation here is a little bit on Bourbons. The Bourbon varietal is one of the base Arabica varietals that have a few spontaneous mutation varietals associated with it and is grown all over the world. Some coffees we have carried in the past and some we carry/have carried recently, like Guatemala San Jose Ocana, have some bourbon varietal in them. There are a Red, Orange and Yellow bourbon varietals on the coffee market today all known by the unique color they display when ripe.
Our Red Bourbon is a gorgeous coffee displaying an array of intense characteristics from a honeyed pastry sweetness to a soft tangerine acidity. The most striking taste characteristic of this coffee is the flavor of a fresh cola as the cup cools. Think about the best naturally brewed cola you have had and the soft flavors of caramel, anise, cinnamon and that hard to pin-point ‘herbs and spices’ mix that makes cola… well cola. This coffee displays those flavors in the simple concentrated way a great cola does. Of course this is not soda, nor does it taste artificial or cloying the way some sodas do, instead this Red Bourbon displays sweetness, intensity and that elusive ‘completeness’ that so many coffees lack.