The Monkaaba project supports and develops young producers, and we are particularly excited to be working with Silvia, now 20, who grows Pink Bourbon & Caturra high up in San Agustín. In the cup we find a more fruit-forward profile of jammy ripe berries, milk chocolate, and a balanced and structured acidity.
Pink Bourbon & Caturra
Las Chinas, San Agustín, Huila
Hand picked at peak ripeness every three weeks. Floated to further remove defects. Held in cherry to ferment for 20 hours. Depulped. Dry fermented in a tile tanks for 70 hours. Washed. Dried on her roof using an elada dryer until moisture reaches ~10.5%.
Under the watchful eyes of her father, long time coffee producer Silvio Ordoñez, this is 20-year-old Silvia’s third year of production. About four years ago, the duo planted this plot of 1,500 Pink Bourbon trees together based on Silvio's desire to, "teach her that one has to achieve things by their own merit.” Since taking over this small garden of Pink Bourbon, Silvia has been studious and attentive to all elements of harvesting and processing. Silvia has also become a weekly fixture at Monkaaaba’s coffee tasting sessions, where she has learned to identify her own coffee while learning about physical analysis and defect identification.
Pink Bourbon is a variety known for the complexity of its acidity and fruit characteristics. The physical look of the seeds and plant, along with its rather distinct flavor profile, point towards it being some sort of Ethiopian Landrace variety. However, to our knowledge Pink Bourbon has not yet been genetically tested, so we cannot say with certainty what exactly it is. Working with our partners at World Coffee Research we hope to have this variety tested in the near future.
Caturra is a natural mutation of the Bourbon variety. It was discovered on a plantation in the state of Minas Gerais in Brazil sometime between 1915 and 1918. Today, it is one of the most economically important coffees in Central America, to the extent that it is often used as a benchmark against which new cultivars are tested. In Colombia, Caturra was thought to represent nearly half of the country’s production before a government-sponsored program beginning in 2008 incentivized renovation of over three billion coffee trees with the leaf rust resistant Castillo variety (which has Caturra parentage).
Monkaaba is a group of producers who have been selling their coffee to the specialty market for many years. They have collectively decided that they would like to be more autonomous in their coffee production, and have more involvement in its marketing and sales. Monkaaba is committed to helping producers throughout Huila by teaching them how to cup their own coffees and how and why specific coffees are either accepted or rejected by the specialty market. This group is currently working with growers of all levels of experience in San Agustín and Tarqui to cup and discuss in depth the challenges they are facing on the way to their goals and dreams. The early results of this program have been very successful.
The cost of getting a coffee from cherry to beverage varies enormously depending on its place of origin and the location of its consumption. The inclusion of price transparency is a starting point to inform broader conversation around the true costs of production and the sustainability of specialty coffee as a whole.