February 2018 — Colombian Pink Bourbon by Assembly Coffee

February 12, 2018

This month we head to Colombia and Hacienda Mallorca, with a natural process, pink bourbon, roasted by Assembly Coffee in London. Bursting with tropical fruit, hints of candy, and zesty acidity — Assembly have really knocked this one out of the park. 

You can sign up to receive other rare, unique, and special coffees just like this when you join our Superlatives subscription, or just purchase a one-off bag.

 

About the coffee:

Name: Mallorca Pink Bourbon

Harvest: 2017

Plant Varietal: Pink Bourbon

Process: Natural

 

Farm location and other characteristics:

Country: Colombia

Region: Caicedonia, Valle del Cauca

Producer: Santiago Londono

Farm name: Hacienda Mallorca

Farm sizes: 51 hectares

 

We were lucky enough to have Santiago Londono, say a few words about the coffee:

  

The farmer:

“My name is Santiago Londono and I’m the 4th generation of coffee producers in my family. My great-grandfather began the first Typica coffee crop in 1932. My grandfather was an empirical farmer, my father a forest engineer, and my profession is environmental manager. Mallorca is a farm that produces micro-lots of specialty coffees in 51 hectares, made up 50% Caturra, 30%  Geisha, and 20% Yellow/Pink Bourbon. In the harvest season we hire approximately 50 local workers, of which 15 are women and 35 are men.”

“The farm is located in Colombia, on the central mountain system, in Caicedonia, Valle del Cauca. The climate is ideal for the specialty coffee production, with warm temperatures during the day and very low temperatures during the night. This generates a great differential, exceptional for sugar concentration inside the bean.”

 

The process:

“Seven years ago we became interested in the diversity and consistency obtained using controlled fermentations. Since then we have increasingly positioned our brand as a farm of processes: washed process, with long fermentations (19 protocols) semi-washed process (six protocols) and recently natural processed (six protocols).”

“Once the micro-lot is dried we pack it inside a GrainPro bag, beginning a very special period of three months. During this time the coffee is stored and stabilised, allowing the creation of positive sensory changes during this time. We to ensure the water content, colour, electrical conductivity, potassium lixiviation, sugar content, seed viability, and cellular structure of the bean have the correct environment so the quality of the beverage is improved. That's why we store our micro-lots with controlled relative humidity under 60%, and temperature under 19°C. We have encountered great improvements in quality of up to four points in the SCA scores. In the process, harsh, bitter and astringent notes are transformed into sweet brown sugar notes.”

“For every micro-lot processed we log the main characteristics of the process along with the weather conditions. The log starts with the Brix measurement inside the cherries, when they were picked, and the quality of the picking. This information is evaluated in real time to make corrections on the run, while also evaluated at the end of the daily session. The coffee cherries are then selected and sorted by choosing the ripest beans and discarding under-ripe, over-ripe, or low weight cherries.

From here the process really begins. We are capable of using 19 different protocols for washed coffee, six for honeys, and six for naturals. All of the processing information is also logged so we can eventually repeat a micro-lot and obtain similar results.”

Here’s a link to the drying log for this month’s Superlatives. (It says "yellow bourbon" here — Nick from Assembly and Stefano differ on their interpretation of what truly constitutes "pink" or "yellow" bourbon, based on genetic reasons ...) 

 

The farm:

“An organisational innovation on the farm has been to involve local women workers inside the value chain of specialty coffees. The women are responsible for picking and selecting the varietals and differentiated micro-lots. Our objective is to adapt all the infrastructure of the farm toward the fulfillment of the needs of local women.”

“The scientific management of the farm from blossom to cup is the main driver of Hacienda Mallorca. We respect nature using an agro-ecological approach, producing coffee under the shade of trees, with resilient landscapes design. In 2003 we began the sustainability program based on the concepts of Ana Primaveci, in 2006 becoming Rainforest Alliance certified.“

“Landscape design aimed towards resilience of the ecosystem was applied after the La Niña phenomenon of 2009-2010. It is clearer every day that climate change is a reality, and our strategy is to adapt to it, with our goal to improve ecological resilience.” 

“The 18 water springs on the farm are protected with conservation forests, with all the waters used (domestically and industrially) filtered and treated before returned to the environment.”

 

The Roaster: Assembly Coffee

Assembly is a London based coffee roasting company, which recognises independent cafes as an invaluable source of insight into the coffee drinkers they serve.

They work in collaboration with the owners and operators of independent cafes to offer coffees of uncompromising quality, developing forward-thinking approaches to cafe culture.

Matt was in town while Assembly were roasting for us this month, and sat down with Nick Mabey for a quick chat:

The Water:

We stuck with recipe 6 again for this coffee for espresso, but found recipe 1 more suited to filter brewing. You can head here to find the ingredients and recipe specifics for each water profile. Assembly came up with their own recipe for this (in the brew guide below). Using our concentrates, you can emulate this with:

  • 12.3g buffer
  • 17g Mg
  • 970.7g DI water

The Brew Guide:

Assembly have put together a quick and simple brew guide for the December Dripper:

Let us know how you went yourself in the comments below! 

 

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