When we set out to find our debut single origin offering for Future Classic, we wanted something very special – period, no exceptions. Sometimes, when you’re looking for a specific thing, it’s very easy to overcomplicate the search and get lost in a rabbit hole. With Autumn in mind, we approached the search with a set expectation of exactly what we wanted, zoomed out and let the coffee find us.
We went looking for something that was clean, sharp, precise, focused, and fun. We knew we would end up spending a little bit of coin on a strong green offering, but boy, did we find an outstanding coffee. After narrowing down our scope and cupping multiple coffees, we were blown away by this beautiful honey-processed yellow bourbon from Quindio, Colombia. Produced by Edwin Norena, who we have admired for several years.
Some light background on Edwin, he’s a fourth-generation farmer and coffee innovator, an agro-industrial engineer, Q Grader, and Cup of Excellence judge. On his farm, Finca Campo Hermoso, he is hyper-focused on experimentation and creating new techniques and processing for his carefully selected varietals. Edwin’s style is reminiscent of the craft beer and wine industry here in the States at the moment. He has his attention set on different fermentation methods and highlighting fruit, while balancing acidity and sweetness. To be frank, is a legend in the coffee space. When someone on the farm level is putting this much thought into your raw product, as a roaster, this is who you want to work with. The next step is taking that beautiful raw product and highlighting what we love about it through the roasting process and letting that Excite.
What is Yellow Bourbon? Well, first off you’re probably pronouncing it wrong. Bur-bone is how you say it and it has absolutely nothing to do with the brown distilled spirit. Oh, and it’s the name of the varietal which is the name given to a specific type of coffee plant. The default characteristics that you normally see from a yellow bourbon coffee are a distinct, sweet cup profile, slightly fruity and nice bright wine-like acidity. Bourbon is mostly planted and used in Brazil; however, it is now used all over Central America.
Let’s delve into the topic of coffee processing, specifically focusing on the most common three processes you see in coffee; most commonly washed, followed by natural, and the occasional honey processing methods. In the washed process, the coffee cherry is mechanically depulped to remove the fruit and mucilage surrounding the coffee bean. The remaining coffee beans are then washed and dried. On the other hand, in the natural process, the coffee cherry is left intact with its skin and flesh while being exposed to the sun. This can result in unique flavors that some describe as fruity, complex. Lastly, the honey process falls between the washed and natural methods. During honey processing, the skin is removed from the cherry and the inner fruit is left intact during the drying stage. This results in a fruit-driven, sweet coffee like a natural but oftentimes results in a slightly heavier mouthfeel than a natural coffee so it has a nice balance of body and fruit.
Edwin’s purple honey process is a thing of beauty and must be executed with a lot of precision. Firstly, coffee cherries are carefully selected according to the sugar concentration. These cherries are soaked and undergo an initial anaerobic fermentation for 12 hours with crushed cherry pulp; this step provides extra sugars to ferment. The cherries are then de-pulped, leaving 75% of the mucilage and then are anaerobically fermented again for 18 hours. This results in a full-bodied, juicy coffee.
In our inaugural single origin for Future Classic, you can expect a bouquet of jasmine blossom notes, and upon first sip, a raw honey-like sweetness. The cup is rounded out with a beautiful effervescent-like acidity reminiscent of juicy red currants. Noreña’s finely executed honey processing method creates a perfectly balanced body that brings this coffee all together to create something truly masterful.
Get yours today, quantities are limited: Finca Campo Hermoso