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Red Bourbon Honey Papaya / Vanilla / Bourbon Biscuit

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What's in a name? "Red Bourbon Honey" hardly the most prosaic of titles, is it? Yet it's hard not to be swayed into an auto-suggested flavour expectation by this seductive, almost poetic, blend of ...

Origin
Colombia
Region
Valle De Cauca
Variety
Red Bourbon
Process
Honey
Altitude
1550 - 1650 MASL

What's in a name? "Red Bourbon Honey" hardly the most prosaic of titles, is it? Yet it's hard not to be swayed into an auto-suggested flavour expectation by this seductive, almost poetic, blend of scientific, botanical & agro-industrial process terminology!So, the Red refers to the outer skin of the coffee cherry. In this variety, Red Bourbon, a certain shade of red is a sign of peak ripeness. Whether gauged by the incredible precision of the human eye or
the mechanical exactitude of the Brix meter, we are aiming for maximum sugar content. It's a waiting game. Patiently letting Nature take its course. Only picking the cherry when it has reached its full potential & before it goes over, not an easy task when on a single node of the stem one finds every stage of fruition, from flower to green cherry to under-ripe & ocadsionally over-ripe. With some cherries being ready to pick 365 days a year a heap of local knowledge is needed by the pickers to make multiple passes across entire swathes of the hillsides where the parcels & lots of trees are planted.

..& Bourbon? A name that has resonated with many different meanings, in different contexts, to many generations. It was originally the name of that most opulent of French dynasties, the Bourbons. So keen were early explorers & plant collectors to bask in the reflected glory of the Sun King, Louis XIV, that having claimed the Île de Bourbon, in the Indian Ocean, off the horn of Africa, for the French crown it was named after the ruling monarchy. It is thought that a new strain of the Coffea Arabica sprung forth here, a Cultivar (note: not a Variety) that, as if to proclaim its supremacy over the proletarian sounding 'Typica', it became known henceforth as 'Bourbon'. Along with this regal mantle came certain responsibilities, such as the ability to deliver sweetness in the face of bitterness. The more familiar Bourbon label, of course, belongs to that sweet whiskey hailing from the Southern, French influenced,
United States of America, best sipped on Bourbon St during Mardi Gras! But there is one Bourbon I cannot allow us to forget. For people of my own age & cultural background, the Bourbon will forever be a certain chocolate biscuit, of a dark chocolate brown hue, with even more chocolate cream, sandwiched in the middle... My own family will tell you that this was always my favourite biscuit! Imagine my delight in finding a cultivar of coffee with the same sweet, chocolatey properties?

...& so we come on to the final panel of the etymological triptych - The Honey. The fruit of the coffee tree tastes like sweet honeydew melon when mascerated in its raw state. The process called 'honey', which this refers to here, is when the mucilage of the bean is allowed, in part to remain on during its fermentation, so that it is sticky, like honey, when tested for readiness by a skilful handler at the mill. Personally I believe that these remnants are translated into a caramelised element during the development stage of the roast. So, it is by a team effort involving the skill of the grower, picker & processor at Granja La Esperanza, with their clear vision to find progressive solutions to bring us a genuinely Premium product & the finessing of the sweetness in the roasting drum & ultimately the Brewer, that we all try to arrive at the same glorious conclusion, to hit that elusive sweet spot of the bean. To bring out the best of the Red Bourbon Honey! I'm off to find a Bourbon biscuit to dunk in mine...

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