Marco Fidel Rodriguez (lovingly dubbed MFR by our Sample bar crew) has been in our shelves numerous times, first back in 2015. But the lot we’re sharing this month? Well, we’ve been looking forward to it for a while.
This lot is a washed process Pink Bourbon varietal, classified X-grade by importers Caravela Coffee. When we last shared Marco’s X-grade Pink Bourbon in 2020 it was a natural process, and back then he was hinting at preparing a washed process next.
Well, we’re thrilled to say: it’s here at last.
MARCO, AND PINK BOURBON
Marco first planted Pink Bourbon coffee trees seven years ago, and planted a second lot of this varietal around two years ago. It’s now 20% of his crop, with the remainder being Caturra.
Growing Pink Bourbon brings its own challenges, though: more attention has to be paid during cherry picking to make sure they are at the right level of ripeness, because the varietal can over-ripen very quickly and doesn’t last as long on the tree. Pink Bourbon trees are more resilient to coffee leaf rust, but also produce fewer cherries than other varietals.
WHAT IS 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.”
Here’s Reuben, Marco Fidel and his family back in 2015…
BREW, SHARE AND ENJOY
Now you know a bit more about the background it’s time to enjoy this awesome coffee! If you don’t know where to start, you can use Reuben’s brewing recipe (coming soon, see below).
You can also try your favourite method and play around with some settings to get the best of it. Don’t forget to tell us how it went, adding your recipe here, via email or on Instagram at @samplecoffee.
We look forward to hearing about your experience with this VS coffee!
Certifications: UTZ, Rainforest Alliance, Fairtrade, PECA
All the images and information about this coffee and producers have been kindly shared by its importer, Caravela Coffee, and edited by us, Sample Coffee (unless linked to or credited otherwise).
All the images and information about this coffee and its producers have been kindly shared by the importer, Caravela, and edited by us, Sample Coffee (unless linked to or credited otherwise).
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Learn how long and why you should wait in our brewing window recommendations.
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