We have been working on this new idea for a while now, and we’re happy to finally showcase the first in a new series of coffee which we’re calling LIMITED BATCH. These coffees are going to have limited availability, will be sold in 8oz bags, and will be some of the most unique coffees that we’ve ever had. And, you should get them while you can, because once they’re gone, they’re gone.
Our first LIMITED BATCH coffee comes from a producer that we have served here before at Mission: Rodrigo Sanchez. But, this coffee, and this variety, is one of the most unique coffees in all of Colombia.
Introducing: Colombia Monteblanco Pink Bourbon Cold Fermentation.
Now, that’s a mouthful of terms. So, let’s break what makes this so unique:
Finca Monteblanco is a farm that sits in the ideal coffee growing region of Pitalito, Huila. This farm has been in Rodrigo’s family for three generations now. Their story is like many who have ventured into the specialty coffee world. They grew coffee for years without really understanding much about flavor and quality. And, that is not to say that they didn’t care about quality. But, if you never taste your own coffee, how do you know what affects it?
An overhead view of Finca Monteblanco. (Photo credit to Ally Coffee.)
This changed when Rodrigo learned how to cup and analyze his family’s coffees back in 2002. [Cupping is a process by which we analyze aroma, flavor, aftertaste, body, acidity, and balance of a coffee.] By doing this, he was able to dive a bit deeper into the quality grown on the farm and understood how different varieties were affected by the micro-climates in the different terroir of the farm. Yes, coffee from various parts of the same farm can actually taste dramatically different due to things like soil composition and exposure to /shade…).
Walking the coffee fields at Monteblanco. (Photo credit to Ally Coffee.)
During his investigation of varieties on Monteblanco, he discovered one that was significantly different than others. This was a unique variety that his grandfather had planted back in the 1980s. This is what is now known as Pink Bourbon.
What makes Pink Bourbon special? First, it is a hybrid coffee, meaning that is a crossbreed of different varieties. It physically looked like a Bourbon (tall, skinny trees) and had a solid yield of cherry but had other traits unlike the Bourbon - it was more resistant to coffee diseases. And, its cherries ripened to a unique orange/pink color. After cupping the coffee, it became clear that the Pink Bourbon had shared genetics with coffees from Africa / Ethiopia (those floral and acidic makeup of those coffees are unmistakable). So, Rodrigo started cultivating this variety, and in 2014, planted three hectares of land dedicated to the Pink Bourbon.
Even to the untrained eye, these Pink Bourbon cherries look pink! (Photo credit to Ally Coffee.)
Around the same time, Rodrigo began toying around with traditional fermentation, seeing if he could modulate and improve cupping scores by changing the process. In case you didn’t know, almost all coffee is fermented somehow. This natural fermentation process helps remove fruit from the outside of the coffee parchment, but also develops flavor and acidity inside of the coffee bean. As many of you know, fermentation can either be an amazing thing (wine, beer, vinegar, etc…) or it can ruin your food (sour milk, food that has gone “bad”, etc…) What Rodrigo noted was that there was a direct correlation between the sugar content of the coffee (which we measure in units called Brix) and temperature. If you could control the fermentation, you could create more desirable flavors.
Looking through a Brix meter, which measures sugar concentration. (Photo credit to Ally Coffee.)
After trial and error, he developed a process that pulped coffee out of the cherry and fermented it for a long time. 76 hours to be exact. But not just at any temperature. Specifically, between 50-55˚F. (You do not just accidentally arrive at this point. There is tons of trial, error, and tasting every step along the way.) This process, which he coined Cold Fermentation resulted in an ideal development of sweetness, acidity, and flavor notes. After fermenting, the coffee is allowed to dry slowly on solar dryers and raised beds for another three weeks.
So, not only do you have a unique variety in Pink Bourbon. You get to taste this unique Cold Fermentation process on top of it. As soon as we cupped this coffee over at our roasting Annex, we knew that we needed to have it. The roast on this coffee is slightly lighter than most. We wanted to develop a bit of sweetness, but really want the coffee to speak for itself. This Pink Bourbon has an extremely floral nose. When you are tasting, you will notice bright notes of lime and delicate citrus along the sides of your tongue. On the finish, you will get a note that is reminiscent of a sweet, floral raspberry.
Mr. Rodrigo Sanchez, the man behind this amazing Pink Bourbon Cold Fermentation Lot. (Photo credit to Ally Coffee.)
We hope that you splurge and try a cup (or a bag) of Pink Bourbon. This is only the first in our LIMITED BATCH series, so if you miss this one, be sure to check back for more offerings in the future.