We are happy to have Finca Retana Yellow Bourbon again after a couple years hiatus. This is a very traditional farm in central Antigua situated at 1550 meters on the valley floor, and they have a small portion planted in Yellow Bourbon cultivar. Bourbon coffees are named for the island in the India Ocean where French colonists grew it, now called Reunion. Yellow Bourbon is a sub-type that has fruit which ripens to a yellow color. (It is possible that Yellow Bourbon is a natural mutation of a cross between Bourbon and a yellow-fruited Typica called "Amarelo de Botocatu"). There are some differences between red and yellow Bourbon types in the cup, and I have noted that on the tree, Yellow Bourbon cherries can be incredibly sweet when ripe, measuring near 26 Brix on my refractometer for sugar content. That's nearly the sugar levels of sugar cane!
In the cup they are classic and balanced coffees, sweet and rounded in flavor profile. The dry fragrance has butter cookie and caramel tones with a very slight wildflower aspect at City+ roast. It opens up a bit in the wet aroma, more floral sweetness, nectar, restrained stone fruit. The aromatics translate well into the cup flavors. Stone fruit sweetness, a peach-apricot jam note, prevail in the City+ roasts of this coffee, pairing well with the juicy mouthfeel. Slightly darker roasts have a tannic, almondy flavor that emerges, with a bittersweet dryness in the finish. In fact this coffee has an interesting sweet-bittersweet complexity throughout the roast range, a soft-yet-bracing duality that gives it some complexity and "structure." It roasts very well at darker levels as it does at light, remaining very compact and tightly closed in the crease. It's a versatile cup, a classic Antigua flavor profile, and also an interesting SO espresso to boot!