Yellow Bourbon – Indonesia Flores

We ran out of the Orange Bourbon, but the sister lot El Salvador Yellow Bourbon Cultivar is now here. Bourbon coffee is a classic cultivar, named for the island of Bourbon (now called Reunion) where it was originally cultivated. When we call it classic, we mean not just the fact that it is a lower-yield, heirloom plant, and that it has a very dense seed that roasts well, but also the cup character. Bourbon (pronounced Bore-Bone), especially those from El Salvador, are neo-typical Central American coffees. They are bright, aromatic, balanced, semisweet or bittersweet, chocolatey and have a creamy mouthfeel. Most of this cultivar have fruit that ripen to a red color, hence Red Bourbon, Orange Bourbon (rare), and then there is Yellow Bourbon too. Yellow Bourbon tends to be more fragile on the tree and in harvest, so in many areas (with Brazil as an exception) you do not see much Yellow Bourbon. We have special Yellow Bourbon from Guatemala (Finca Retana in Antigua) and then there is this lot of El Salvador. It is from a farm I visited last year called El Molino de Santa Rita. The cup has a toasty sweetness in the fragrance, and the wet aroma has clean fruited notes, with a touch of lemon in the lighter roasts. The cup flavors are bright and crisp at City to City+, and have honeydew melon hints at Full City roast. I like the complexity that emerges at FC roast where bittersweet notes mingle with refined, sweet fruit, and extend well into the aftertaste. Toasty sweetness is present from the start to finish in the aromatics and cup here. It has a great balance overall, making it a quintessential classic Central American flavor profile.

We also have new crop Indonsesia Flores – Bajawa Highlands, which is an interesting full-bodied cup much like our new lot of Bali arabica. Flores is a small island (360 km from tip to tip) in the Indonesian archipelago around 200 nautical miles East of Bali. Flores was known as Pulau Nipa (Snake Island) before the Portuguese arrived and they renamed it Flores (Flower Island). A very long thin Mountainous land with incredibly diverse terrain, and numerous active and inactive volcanic peaks. The Bajawa Highlands are one of the most traditional areas of Flores. Bajawa is a small town nestled in the hills and is the centre for the Ngada people of this high, fertile plateau. The coffee is grown between 1150 and 1400 meters, which is actually quite respectable altitude for Indonesian coffee farming. This is not the first time I have cupped coffee from Flores, but it is the first time I found it so (appropriately) floral, clean in the cup, and pleasantly akin to a good Timor or Papua New Guinea wet-processed coffee. It’s not easy to get smallholder farms in remote areas to process coffee carefully; the results from these hinterland growing regions usually reflect this. But here we can really taste the character of the area without defect. The dry fragrance is mildly floral and has a foresty note to it, suggesting it’s Indonesian origin. There are pleasant fresh woody notes wet aroma, and that comes through in the cup, but more like a good East Timor than like a funky, earthy There’s a huge difference between the City to City+ roasts here (nutty, drying mouthfeel, sweet, almost floral, bittersweet finish) and the FC roasts. FC and darker are exponentially more “Indonesian” in character, big body, chocolate, pungency, bittersweetness. And it makes great SO espresso too. The body seemed light after 24 hours rest but was much heavier after an additional 24. Both in the body and aftertaste, this coffee has a syrupy sweetness. It is not overly complex, which is why Timor and Java come to mind … but much more balanced than the later with a good range from bass to treble in the cup. �