Colombia Palestina “Aguazul” Pink Bourbon Crown Jewel

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Intro by Chris Kornman

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.

Green Analysis by Nate Lumpkin

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.

Ikawa Analysis by Chris Kornman

We’ve updated our V2 Ikawa Pro machines with the latest Firmware version (24) and run on “closed loop” setting. Our roasters underwent full service in October of 2018 which included replacement heating elements and an updated PT 1000 temperature sensor, and were recalibrated in September 2019.

I usually expect high density southern Colombian coffees to respond well to accelerated Maillard reactions, but in this case, it seems a little extra sugar browning can go a long way.

I put this Pink Bourbon through the paces on my two sample roast profiles, and when I cupped it I had a pretty strong preference for the extended edition. A slight slowdown as color changes began seemed to have a really nice effect on the sweetness and acidity.

Roast 1, the quicker of the two, offered plenty of enjoyable notes like nectarine and rhubarb, but it was roast 2, with its notes of raspberry lemonade, watermelon candy, and guava nectar that really caught my attention. I suspect this coffee will respond pretty well whichever way you swing it, but the roasts here should get you started on the right track.

You can download the profile to your Ikawa Pro app here:

Roast 1: Crown Standard SR 1.0
Roast 2: Crown Maillard +30 SR 1.0

Quest M3s Analysis by Candice Madison

A Pink Bourbon! Finally – I’ve only ever tasted a couple and never had a chance to roast any before now, so, even with my kitchen table set up, I was really excited to get this sample in the Mail from our QC department, still hard at work (very modified work, that is), getting us these great coffees without any delay! The only ideas I had going into the roast were to work the new, ‘loose’ profile that the Quest seems to demand, and to eke out all the candy sweetness and effervescent fruit notes that I could.

I dropped the coffee in at 386 degrees F. I aimed for 390F, but due to my being careful to get beans in the drum and not the exhaust pipe, I was a little slow and Artisan recorded the temperature drop as the charge. I mention this as it’s always good to remember that data-logging software is great and did the work for me in this case, but eyes, ears, nose, and putting pen to paper will never go out of fashion. So, especially if you’re a home roaster, I would make sure to keep those practices up – I do, even as a professional production roaster. I have the sea of papers scattered around me, as I analyze my roasts, to prove it!

I dropped the coffee in the hopper at 5 Amps and 0 Fan speed. At the turning point, I turned the heat up to 9 amps and the fan up to 9. This initial heat, I have realised, allows the roaster to do most of the work of heat retention and transfer, up front, and gives you the flexibility to play with lower heat applications and with the fan for the duration of the roast, without stalling the coffee.

At 294 degrees, I made the mistake of turning up the heat to 10amps. This was unnecessary, and provoked by nothing more than nerves. Between the higher heat and the high fan, at this point, the Rate of Change (RoC/RoR) rose dramatically. Although the coffee was still proceeding, it was going to rise any minute. At just after 300 degrees F. I turned the fan to 0 and the heat to 7 amps. The roast was dominated, but only slightly, but the coloring stage, stage 2. I manage to cut the fan and gas just before first crack, which started rolling at 390 degrees F. The steady and immediate first crack made for an easy to manipulate PCD, and I ended the roast at 398 degrees F with 16% PCD. You could drop this coffee even earlier to reserve more of the fruit acid notes.

A stunner in the cup, I filtered my cupping bowls and drink the coffee there and then – glad we’re doing solo cuppings at the moment! Heaps of bing cherries, deep sweetness of caramel was accompanied by the high, bright sweetness of confectioners sugar and notes of red plum. The balance of a soft lemon-lime acidity balanced out the cup and elegant, silky body ties everything together, ensuring your palate is not overwhelmed by the myriad types of sweetness evident in the coffee. Drink it, any way you can, if you don’t, I will!

Behmor Analysis by Evan Gilman

Unless otherwise noted, I follow a set standard of operations for all my Behmor roasts. Generally, I’ll use the 1lb setting, manual mode (P5), full power, and high drum speed until crack. Read my original post and stats here. 

Pink Bourbon isn’t the most common cultivar, and it has wowed me every time I’ve had a taste. When approaching this coffee, I thought back to the times I’ve tasted this type of coffee and what I appreciated about it most. The bright and playful fruit notes were the first to come to mind!

For this roast, I followed my usual parameters: 100% power and manual roasting, with high drum speed at the start. I engaged P4 (75%) at first crack (10:30) due to the high density and large screen size of this coffee. I wanted to apply heat all the way through Maillard on this one, and get this through drying phase as quickly as possible on the Behmor. I opened the door of the roaster for 20 seconds at 11:00 in order to abate any smoke, and hit “COOL” to stop the roast at 11:30. Just one minute of post-crack development!

The result was just as bright as I wanted, even though I had a somewhat high roast loss percentage (around 14.5%). These numbers are typical for the Behmor, and I don’t find they reflect on any perceived roastiness. In fact, the clear sugars and gentle malic acid came through on this coffee so well, I’d be proud to serve it to Candice, social distancing be damned.

Give this coffee plenty of heat at the beginning of your roast, and if you enjoy those gentle acid notes, I’d recommend not taking this coffee too far past first crack. You’ll have all the sweetness, and not a touch of astringency!

Brew Analysis by Evan Gilman

After not much trial and error, I’m fairly convinced that this coffee can do no wrong. The first time I tasted a Pink Bourbon coffee was from an unbranded package given to me by Julie Burden, a research assistant at HARC studying soil sciences at UH Manoa. This coffee was so bright and crisp, it reminded me of a Fuji apple. Delectable!

This one isn’t too much different. My first brew was almost too intensely delicious, with plummy sweetness, tart grapefruit acidity, and some kind of raspberry apple cider juiciness. Honestly overwhelming, but certainly tasty! I wanted to dial this one back a bit and enjoy some subtlety in flavor.

To that end, I simply decided to grind a bit coarser. The gambit worked, and my extraction percentage went from nearly 22% to 20.71%. More gentle malic acidity and quinic acids came out in the form of honeydew melon, green apple, lime, and a juicy red grape finish as it cooled. There’s a ton of soluble material here, so don’t be afraid to grind a little coarser or even explore bypass brewing with this coffee!