Marco Fidel Rodriguez (lovingly dubbed MFR by our Sample bar crew) has been in our shelves numerous times, first back in 2015. But this time… this time is very special.
This lot is a natural process Pink Bourbon varietal, classified X-grade by importers Caravela Coffee. It is a super unusual offer at Sample Coffee, as we’ve never purchased this varietal and grading before, and as you may already know, we don’t buy many naturals. This one though blew our minds and broke all our rules.
Marco, Pink Bourbon & Natural Process
Marco first planted Pink Bourbon coffee trees five years ago, having successfully produced three harvests already. Next year, he will start growing another lot of this varietal.
All past coffees we bought from him were a washed process, but this one is a natural. This method presented a few more challenges, as the style requires a lot of space to spread and dry the beans, and a lot of care and control is demanded in the first few days of drying. However, he’s pleased with the result and he plans to try natural process with other varieties already growing on his farm.
In 2021, he plans to offer lots of Pink Bourbon variety but using the washed process (and we are REALLY EXCITED about this).
Marco, Caravela and X-Grade
Two of Marco Fidel Rodriguez’s lots have already made it to the X-grade category. This denomination or program is a relatively new initiative by coffee importer Caravela, currently selling mostly within their US customer base.
One of the motivators behind X-grade was to open new opportunities for buyers to purchase exotic varietals and processing alternatives that Caravela’s producers are experimenting with or implementing at their farms. Another drive was to set a framework within the exotic coffee market, as the global demand grows and a lot of producers decide to run experiments on a farm level.
With the X-grade program, “we commit to purchasing exotics at better prices only IF we are buying other qualities (RTB-AA) from the producers and IF the coffee is excellent quality” says Caravela.
“The idea is to continue buying different quality tiers from producers, from 83 to 90+, but it is VERY important to note that we are not just supporting a trend but more than anything assuring producers can sell as much as possible from what they have. Yes, these are exotic beauties.
We have been working with the PECA team to understand the processes and varieties to support producers and help them minimize risk while processing this type of coffees. Still, again we do not encourage producers to experiment with the whole farm or only focus on those type of coffees unless they already have the experience and the customers to sell the lots too.”
We hope you enjoy it as much as we do.