Guatemala Finca Bourbon is a family-owned plantation that was founded by the Escheverria family in 1870 and has been producing Bourbon coffee since 1878. Not only is it one of the oldest farms producing coffee in Guatemala, located in Patzun, between Atitlan and Acatenango in the Chimaltenango region, it is the only coffee plantation in this part of the country.
Established in 1870, Finca Bourbon is the only coffee farm in the area surrounding the city of Paztun, by the border of the Atitlan and Acatenango regions, in the Chimaltenango Department. Just over one third of the 286 hectare farm grows coffee in volcanic soil, shaded by natives trees, while the remainder of the farm is a protected nature reserve and haven for wildlife.
Growing at an elevation of between 1500 and 2425 metres above sea level are Bourbon variety trees, a good many of which are between 70 and 100 years old. The coffee cherries from these trees are hand picked at their very ripest between December and March, processed in the traditional fully washed manner, and sun dried on dedicated cement drying patios.
The Guatemalan Finca Bourbon coffee is grown under a full canopy of shade, and the farm is certified Bird-Friendly by the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center (SMBC). SMBC has developed the only 100%-organic shade-grown certification. This certification assures quality bird habitat within the coffee production area. Approximately 75% of Finca Bourbon is a protected forest preserve.
Welcome to my Table, here in the corner of this cafe. Today we’re sipping a cup of Guatemala Finca Bourbon, from Tony’s Coffee in Bellingham, Washington. Feel free to pull up a chair.
region: Patzun, Chimaltenango, Guatemala
farm: Finca Bourbon
producer: Dariush Echeverria
elevation: 1500 – 2425 meters above sea level
process: fully washed, patio dried
certifications: Organic, Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center
The aroma of the Guatemala Finca Bourbon is sweet and “homey”—it reminds me of Autumn, with warm and inviting scents of caramel, cinnamon, cane sugar, apple, and huckleberry.
Diving into the first few sips of this coffee and I’m impressed with the sweetness and the complexity in it. It has a creamy mouthfeel, but a fair amount of fruity juiciness too and floral silkiness, too. A very tasty layer of toffee, molasses, and caramelized brown sugar spreads over the palate, ushering in tastes of apple, rose petal, cherry, and almond.
As it cools off, the fruitiness doesn’t necessarily take over the profile, but it certainly gets amplified. In addition to apples and cherries, I’m getting tastes of raspberry, pomegranate, marzipan, grapefruit, zesty orange peel, and—what’s this?—a dash of black pepper spiciness that nips at the tip and sides of the tongue.
Medium body; creamy mouthfeel; citrus acidity; clean finish.
the bottom line:
Unlike Ethiopia, 2013 has not been kind to Guatemalan coffees; which is discouraging for me, because it’s traditionally been one of my favorite regions. But the Guatemala Finca Bourbon, from Tony’s Coffee, was an exceptional coffee that definitely set itself apart from its fellow Guatemalan offerings.
Intricately layered, complex, and certainly unique, the Guatemala Finca Bourbon offers the palate a myriad of different tastes—pomme fruits, citrus, berries, bread, spices, flowers, and savories—that couldn’t be more unlike each other, but somehow make sense together in this cup and play well off of each other.
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Andrew is a husband, father, dog lover, craft beverage enthusiast, content creator, and niche market Internet celebrity. Formerly of A Table in the Corner of the Cafe and The Pulitzer Project and contributor to Barista Magazine and Mental Floss, he’s been writing on the Internet for years.