I first met Jose while cupping coffees in Pitalito, Colombia. During this first meeting, I was instantly impressed by Jose’s demeanor and thirst for knowledge. Naturally, Jose asked me to taste his coffee, but I needed to leave for the airport within half an hour. Jose pleaded “wait for me, don’t leave!” then jumped on his motorbike and sped out of the lot.
He returned 29 minutes later with 4 green coffee samples and said, “please taste them in Canada and tell me what you think”. Days later, Phil and I tasted those four samples in Canada and they were outstanding. I made a commitment to purchase all of Jose’s harvest shortly afterwards.
I visited Jose in early 2015 and learned more about him. He was born on a coffee farm and first learned about coffee from his father. When he was 16 Jose decided to leave the farm and ended up becoming a bus driver. He did this for over a decade until he decided to return to the home, buy the farm from his dad, and follow in his footsteps. Although he now regrets temporarily leaving the farm, he feels the time away developed a fire within him to become a better coffee producer. This fire is evident when visiting his farm. It is not over-planted nor deprived of natural shade, as is very common in Colombia.
Since 2014, I spent plenty of time admiring Jose’s farm and realized that this tiny region of Colombia retained many of the original shade trees, something that is rare for Colombia. I believe this plays a role in the exceptional cup quality that Jose produces. Orlando’s farm benefits from the same natural shade.
This lot is entirely of the Pink Bourbon variety. While there doesn’t seem to be a lot of legitimate literature on Pink Bourbon, it appears to be a hybrid between Yellow and Red Bourbon. In my experiences with the plant and in speaking with farmers who grow it, it doesn’t behave like a traditional bourbon in that it is hardier and more resistant to disease. The coffee bean also doesn’t look like a bourbon, but more like a typica or Geisha. The tree looks like a cross between the Colombia variety and a Typica. I’ve been asking for more clarity from those who study varieties and I have yet to get a clear answer on the lineage of Pink Bourbon.
In the cup, my experiences with this variety have been awesome – tending to a more exotic cup profile that stands out from the more traditional Colombian varieties and resembles traits of Geishas, Ethiopian, and Kenyan coffees.
This coffee was frozen immediately on its arrival in Calgary, to preserve freshness.