Episode 520: Guatemala El Bosque Washed Bourbon

This wonderful coffee is dear to my heart and I'm super excited to have it for the 13th season running!

Situated on a hillside which runs parallel to the main road to Guatemala City, sits the El Bosque farm. Due to it's proximity to the Capital, it faces threats from ever-expanding urban development but for the time we have been working with El Bosque, prices and returns for the farm have made it a much higher concern for the brothers, and they are very motivated.

Before I'd tried this coffee at El Bosque, it was love at first taste, I was absolutely blown away by how good it was! However, my first visit to the farm in January 2007 really cemented this, because I got to learn more about the awesome people behind the coffee.

In 1932, Julian Flores founded the farm and the fourteen hectare extension of land was planted out with Bourbon varietal coffee, which was cultivated and sold in cherry form only. Over the next few years, with the acquisition of more land, the farm continued to grow. Julian Flores passed away in 1947 and his son, José Eladio Flores, inherited the farm and continued his father’s legacy of growth. By 1970, José had bought another 23 hectares and continued to grow and sell the same Bourbon coffee varietal. After his death in 1996, a third generation has taken the farm on under the direction of José’s widow, Martha Stalla, and their sons Julio, José, Francisco and Mario.

Now, this third generation, headed up by Don Roberto, has focused on innovation, and they have built a plant for processing the cherries in line with strict environmental guidelines. They have also branched into cultivating other plants for local consumption, such as avocados, roses and lemons as well as growing a new grass innovation.

Don Roberto and his two brothers have tried to move away from generic commercial coffee by elevating their growing and milling standards, and you can really taste this in the cup. During one of my visits in 2009, I got talking to Francisco about the Bourbon, and was curious as to whether it would be possible to divide the yellow and red beans to compare the results. Of course, it would be cheeky of us to ask that without buying all the coffee, and we were delighted to do just that. Nowhere else in the world will you be able to try this famous coffee using only the Red Bourbon varietal, we're on the VIP list!

In the cup you'll get a bag of nuts. Nuts, nuts, nuts!! There's Brazil Nut, then a sweet Pecan pops up and an edge of dry Walnut on the finish. Even the texture is chunky - heavy bodied in your mouth without being gloopy.

  • Country: Guatemala
  • Department: Guatemala Department
  • Municipality: Villa Canales
  • Town: Amatitlán
  • Farm: El Bosque
  • Farmer: Flores family
  • Farm size: 37 hectares
  • Coffee growing area: 14 hectares
  • Altitude: 1,400–1,645 m.a.s.l.
  • Variety: Bourbon
  • Processing system: Washed

Cupping notes: Brazil nut, pecan, walnut.

  • Clean cup (1–8): 6.5
  • Sweetness (1–8): 6.5
  • Acidity (1–8): 6
  • Mouthfeel (1–8): 7
  • Flavour (1–8): 6.5
  • Aftertaste (1–8): 6
  • Balance (1–8): 6
  • Overall (1–8): 6.5
  • Correction (+36): +36

  • Total: (max. 100): 87

Roasting Information: Medium dark - take it through first crack and give it some development in the gap, then drop it at the first pops of second.

"Quick Look" Guide: Brazil nut, pecan, walnut.

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