I already loved this coffee before I got to try it at El Bosque. I mean that I was truly blown away with how good it tasted. However, my first visit to the farm in January 2007 made me love it some more as I got to meet the fantastic people behind the coffee. Don Roberto and his two brothers have tried to move away from generic commercial coffee by raising the standards of the growing and milling, and you can really tell in the cup. During another visit in 2009, I got talking to Francisco about the Bourbon and asked if it would it be possible to split the red and yellow beans to compare the results. Of course, I could only really ask them to do this for me if we bought all of the coffee, and we were delighted to do so. Nowhere else in the world will you be able to try this famous coffee in the specific Red Bourbon varietal only.
Julian Flores founded Finca El Bosque in 1932. The 14-hectare extension of land was planted out with Bourbon varietal coffee and grew over the next few years with the purchase of additional land. Julian Flores died in 1947 and his only son, José Eladio Flores, then continued in his father's footsteps. 1n 1970, Jose bought another 23 hectares planting the same Bourbon coffee varietal. Since his death in 1996, a third generation is now in charge under the direction of José's widow, Martha Stalla, and their sons Julio, José, Francisco and Mario.
The first two generations cultivated and sold coffee in cherry. Now the third generation has taken care to innovate and build a plant for processing the cherry inline with strict environmental guidelines. They have also diversified into growing other plants for local consumption such as avocado, roses, lemons as well as a new grass innovation.
El Bosque farm is located near the capital Guatemala City on a hillside running parallel and a way off from the main road. It may, in future, be jeopardized by urban development but since we have been working with El Bosque prices and returns for the farm have made it a much better going concern and the brothers are very motivated and fascinated by the new world of direct relationship.
Great care is taken to preserve and sustain the local environment. Residual waters from processed coffee are no longer poured into rivers as was the case several years ago but are now used to irrigate the grass. The skin from the coffee is also used to fertilise the plantation. As well as areas dedicated to the cultivation of fine coffee, the farm also has a large area of preserved woodland which is home to a wide variety of flora and fauna.
The owners of the farm were recognized by Asociación Nacional de Café de Guatemala (Anacafe) for their effort in the area of human development and productivity in 2000.
In the cup this coffee is amazing. I use the term 'amazing' a little too often, but this is right up there as one of my favourite coffees this year (if not my favorite so far). I tasted the pre-shipment sample at origin back in January at which point I made the decision to buy - somethnig you should never do whilst at origin. But we had to move quick and did so. We had no further tasting until the beans arrived, but when they did the coffee was so worth it.
Expect sweetness, smooth milk chocolate with a grape acidity that's very pleasing. This is much more fruity than previous harvests, with hints of of cherry and apple. It retains a hint of spice that is a little more delicate than previous crops. Delicious espresso, delightful brewed coffee and a real all rounder.