Coffee is a world unto itself, with a rich tapestry of flavours, aromas, and experiences that are as diverse as the regions they come from. Among the myriad types of coffee beans, there are a few that stand out for their exceptional characteristics. One such standout in the coffee world is the Pink Bourbon varietal—a rare and relatively new addition that has been making waves for its unique flavour profile, striking appearance, and the meticulous care it requires for cultivation.
What Is Pink Bourbon?
The Pink Bourbon varietal is a hybrid coffee bean, believed to be a mix between Yellow Bourbon and Red Bourbon, although its exact genetic heritage is still a matter of debate among experts. The name "Pink Bourbon" derives from the blush-pink colour of its cherries, distinguishing it visually from the more common green, yellow, or red cherries.
Where Is It Grown?
Pink Bourbon is primarily grown in Colombia, especially in regions like Huila, although attempts are being made to cultivate it in other countries. The conditions needed for Pink Bourbon are highly specific. The plant thrives at altitudes of 1,600 to 2,200 meters, requiring a specific balance of temperature, humidity, and soil nutrients. Any deviation can result in a subpar bean, making the cultivation of Pink Bourbon an endeavour for the dedicated.
The Flavour Profile
Pink Bourbon is renowned for its nuanced and complex flavor profile. While coffee flavours can be influenced by numerous factors including soil quality, altitude, and processing methods, Pink Bourbon often delivers a cup that’s notably juicy and complex. It has a bright but balanced acidity, with common tasting notes that include tropical fruits like mango and papaya, subtle floral undertones, and a sweet honey-like finish.
Sustainability and Ethical Concerns
Given its specific growing conditions and the meticulous care it requires, Pink Bourbon tends to be a low-yield crop. This makes it more expensive to produce and puts pressure on growers to achieve a high price to make their efforts sustainable. The premium price can be a boon for farmers who can grow this varietal successfully, but it also raises questions of sustainability and accessibility.
Brewing Pink Bourbon
If you're fortunate enough to get your hands on Pink Bourbon beans, you'll want to brew them in a way that maximizes their unique characteristics. Methods that highlight the coffee’s acidity and complex flavours are often recommended. The pour-over method, using a Chemex or Hario V60, for instance, allows the flavours to shine. A lighter roast is often recommended to preserve the unique flavours of the bean.
The Future of Pink Bourbon
Pink Bourbon is still relatively new to the global coffee stage, and research is ongoing into its potential, its best growing conditions, and its genetic heritage. As coffee enthusiasts and growers alike continue to explore this intriguing varietal, it seems likely that Pink Bourbon will continue to be a subject of fascination, debate, and, of course, enjoyment for years to come.
The Pink Bourbon coffee varietal offers a unique and rewarding experience for those who seek it out. Its exquisite flavour profile, unique appearance, and the challenges and rewards it offers to growers make it a standout in an already diverse coffee world. Whether you're a casual coffee drinker or a seasoned aficionado, the Pink Bourbon is a journey worth embarking upon.