From start to finish, this archival selection from Marlenis Imbachi is characterized by deep sweetness and elegant structure. We find plum, red grape, and toasted almond on the nose with complementary flavors of milk chocolate, cherry, and mandarin orange in the cup.
Located roughly 56 miles west of Divino Niño, the small hamlet in Southern Huila that has been the primary focus of Passenger’s Colombian purchasing for the past two years, San Agustín is a charming town with charming coffees. This 2018 offering from producer Marlenis Imbachi is a beautiful example of Pink Bourbon, a relatively rare variety capable of producing amazing cup quality.
Over the past two years, Passenger’s sourcing efforts in Colombia have been largely focused on building our foundational partnership with the producers of Divino Niño, a small hamlet near the town of Suaza, Huila. Huila is one of Colombia’s 32 Departments, which are not too dissimilar in political structure and general appearance to our States. Of these 32 departments, 19 produce coffee: Antioquia, Boyacá, Caldas, Cauca, Cesar, Caquetá, Casanare, Cundinamarca, Guajira, Huila, Magdalena, Meta, Nariño, Norte de Santander, Quindío, Risaralda, Santander, Tolima and Valle. Of these 19, Cauca, Nariño, Tolima, and Huila are arguably the most famous for producing top quality specialty coffee.
Years before identifying the Divino Niño producer group as a community with which we wanted to pursue a primary and long term partnership, Passenger’s green buying team had already spent considerable time in southern Huila, and we proudly continue to support some of the producers with whom we have a long association in the region. This is the third consecutive year that we have bought coffee from Marlenis Imbachi, a producer from the charming town of San Augustín, located approximately 56 miles to the west of Suaza.
San Agustín, which currently has a population of roughly 34,000 people, was officially founded in 1752 but has historical roots that go back much further. The area is home to the San Agustín Archaeological Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that contains the largest collection of religious monuments and megalithic sculptures in Latin America and is considered the world's largest necropolis.
Passenger’s first offering from Marlenis Imbachi was a tiny 50 lb. lot from her 2017 harvest. It was the first example of the Pink Bourbon variety on our menu, and we have looked forward to subsequent harvests ever since. Pink Bourbon is an interesting Arabica variety that is fairly high-yielding and relatively disease resistant. Due to its cup profile, which is often characterized by intensely fruited flavors and juicy acidity, it seems plausible that Pink Bourbon is closely related to some sort of Ethiopian landrace variety, though, as far as we are aware, this has yet to be established by genetic testing.
Whatever its precise genetic lineage, Marlenis Imbachi’s Pink Bourbon is a simply delightful coffee and we are excited to re-release two archival selections from 2018 simultaneously in 2021! The present selection was harvested in April, 2018 while the “Winter” selection was harvested in November-December, 2018. Tasting these lots comparatively offers a fascinating opportunity to experience the clear impact that subtle differences in harvest and processing conditions can have on the finished coffee in the cup: both harvests are delicious, and they are beautifully distinct!