Meet Don Gabriel Castano and his family from Finca La Granada

In 1990, Colombia opened its doors to the international economy. This was a hard blow for local producers all over the country, because foreign imports were usually cheaper. This situation was also very difficult for Don Gabriel Castaño - until he discovered the Pink Bourbon coffee variety, which was not very well known at the time. Fascinated by the colour of the seeds, he planted this variety on his finca La Granda in the department of Huila and discovered that the plant was very resistant to rust. Based on this discovery, he decided to replant it completely: with success! His plantation and the quality of his coffee brought him and his family a secure economic income. Gabriel and his wife Carmen have six children - four daughters and two sons - five of whom have followed in their parents' footsteps and become coffee producers themselves. Although Gabriel is getting on in years and can no longer drink coffee for health reasons, he says he wouldn't trade his life with anyone. He has planted 8,000 trees in his lifetime and is known in his community for introducing Variety Pink Bourbon to his colleagues.

Coffee from Colombia

Processing in Colombia

In Colombia and at Finca La Granada, there is a lot of experimentation. The farmers' great responsibility here lies not only in cultivation and thus in the right agricultural culture, but also in the further development of processing methods. Well-known and popular processing methods for coffee are the washed and the "natural" method. But more and more anaerobic methods are being tried, i.e. fermenting the coffee beans in tanks. These can be open (aerobic) or closed (anaerobic). Depending on how long the coffee beans are exposed to fermentation, their flavour profile varies. 

Cultivation of new varieties

Colombia offers a unique flora and fauna. This and the nutrient-rich volcanic soil at high altitude provide great conditions for growing coffee plants. 

Bourbon coffee and Typica are considered the most original of the noble Arabica coffee varieties. Many other Arabica varieties can be traced back to these two, which belong to the Heirloom family. The Bourbon coffee plant has a less conical shape than the Typica plant. Its branches are more closely spaced, which means that it yields about 30% more than the Typica plant. However, the yield is still low compared to other coffee plants. Bourbon coffee, like bourbon vanilla, takes its name from the island of Bourbon, which today is called Réunion. Originally, the plant comes from Yemen, but the French king had this coffee plant cultivated on Bourbon. Réunion is located in the Indian Ocean east of Madagascar and west of Mauritius and thus geographically belongs to Africa. As the island still belongs to France today, the eponymous island of Bourbon coffee is European, and more precisely the southernmost part of the EU.

Discover new varieties

Bourbon from Colombia

The original Bourbon coffee cherries from Yemen are red. The well-known "Yellow Bourbon" is a subspecies of Bourbon coffee that was created by crossing the original red Bourbon with the coffee plant "Amarelo de Botucatu", which originates from Brazil. The leaves of the Bourbon coffee plant are wavy. Light green or red leaves grow mostly at the ends of the branches. The fruits are relatively small and dense. The cherries ripen quickly and run the risk of falling off in strong winds or heavy rains. The cherries are usually harvested by hand, either directly or by shaking the coffee plant. In the latter case, cloths are stretched around the plants to prevent the cherries from falling to the ground. It is difficult to make a general statement about the taste of a bourbon coffee, as many factors (such as cultivation, processing, roasting, freshness and, last but not least, preparation) and not only the type of coffee plant have an influence on the later taste. High-quality Bourbon coffees usually have a very low acid content. This balanced acidity also made it known as a very digestible coffee. The caffeine content is lower than that of a Robusta coffee. Bourbon coffee usually has fruity notes and a pleasant natural sweetness.