Pink Bourbon: The Coffee Worlds Pink Unicorn

What is so special about Pink Bourbon? The name sounds exotic, doesn’t it? This coffee variety starts showing off right from the tree with its unique light pink cherries. The taste is as intriguing as its appearance—imagine sipping on a cup that brings together tropical flavours, a citrusy zing, and the delicate aroma of white flowers and tea. If your taste buds had a paradise, Pink Bourbon would be it. No wonder, given its lineage traces back to Ethiopia, the birthplace of coffee itself.

The History of Pink Bourbon and the Confusion of Its Heritage

The origins of Pink Bourbon are like a coffee detective story. Initially, everyone thought it was a romantic blend born from the union of red and yellow Bourbon trees. But hold your lattes—scientific testing busted that myth. Turns out, Pink Bourbon is a proud member of the Ethiopian Landrace varieties. If you take a closer look at its beans, they’re elongated and have a striking resemblance to Geisha or Ethiopian varieties. So, while its name might be a bit of a misnomer, its pedigree is nothing short of royal.

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Is it only found in Colombia?

Not quite. While Colombia is the Pink Bourbon capital, you can find this exotic variety in other South and Central American countries too. Its journey began in the 1980s in the foothills of San Adolfo in the Acevedo municipality of Huila, Colombia. Coffee producers fell head over heels for Pink Bourbon because it was not just a pretty face—it was resistant to diseases and adapted well to its environment, offering higher yields. Imagine discovering a gold mine in your backyard!

Introducing Pink Bourbon Decaf?!! WTH?

Our #meccamates coffee exporter Azahar Coffee has done something extraordinary. They have been working with the unofficial Godfather of Pink Bourbon, Don Gabriel Castaño, who popularised this variety throughout Southern Huila,by sharing seeds from a peculiar-looking tree he happened to stumble across while visiting a farm a relative of his was trying to sell. According to Don Gabriel, that original planting was then destroyed and he found himself as the sole grower at the time of this mysterious varietal. The trees seedlings have now been shared and cultivated by countless neighbouring coffee growers. Creating this special decaf would have been impossible without him and he is directly responsible for the abundance of Pink Bourbon coffee growing throughout the region. The Azahar labs objective was to put together a single decaf made up of several micro lots of Pink Bourbon beans, currently the most productive variety in Southern Huila.

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Decaf Is Finally Tasting Delicious

Like our staple Decaf Rainbow, this unique offer of pink bourbon is decaffeinated by Descafecol, Decaffeination Plant, in Manizales. The Ethyl Acetate process uses a naturally derived solvent made from sugarcane, blackberry, beets and sometimes grapes. The coffee is steamed, then rinsed repeatedly with the EA to remove the caffeine before being dried and sealed with a natural wax. This process is found to preserve the characteristics of the coffee while also introducing a hint of sweetness and complexity. 

It’s been an interesting journey seeing the quality of decaf improve in leaps and bounds over the years. It has now come to a point whereby in blind tastings and cupping, it’s getting more challenging to pick out decaf  alongside other producer/micro lots. 

This was exactly the case when Decaf Pink Bourbon was presented to us by Azahar Coffee to sample on the cupping table without knowing it was decaf. It was clean and expressive and, without a second thought we immediately ordered a handful of bags for a special limited release.

Our Decaf Pink Bourbon Experience

While surprising as it was to sample the coffee and be pleasantly surprised by the reveal that it was decaf, even more validating was tasting Decaf Pink Bourbon at Metric Coffee in Chicago. In April 2024, Paul and Dan visited Chicago to attend the Specialty Coffee Expo. Mecca Coffee was also being showcased with our mates Metric during this time (which is another story in itself).

Hanging out with our mates Metric Coffee also presented the opportunity to taste Decaf Pink Bourbon on bar.  Metric Coffee, like us, share the same values and approach to sourcing coffee which includes sharing the same coffee exporters. According to Dan, the Decaf Pink Bourbon he tasted at Metric Coffee held it’s own and was tasting super delicious and validated his decision in purchasing the limited lot from Azahar Coffee

Dare To Decaf with Pink Bourbon - Now Roasting

Now that it has landed, this is a coffee that is a must try. 

This is no ordinary decaf. This unique blend comprises of pink bourbon from three different producers: Rafael Aya, Luz Divia Fierro—a female producer with 18h dedicated to pink bourbon— and Gabriel Castaño, the Godfather himself.

Truly a pink unicorn and a limited gem of a coffee.  
What a dream to drink pink bourbon all day long. But be quick, it’s a special limited release so not so much to go around.  


Mecca Coffee Single Origin Producer Series
Mecca Coffee Single Origin Producer Series

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