El Vergel Pink Bourbon Koji ProcessMy Friend's Coffee
Red Jolly Rancher, Malted Caramel, Umami
This is one of the wilder brews you're likely to find. Why? Because the folks at El Vergel decided to take their already-coveted Pink Bourbon and introduce a culture called Koji during processing. Koji is a fermentation agent. It's been used for ages, most notably in Japanese cuisine. It's a mainstay in sake production, and when added to food, it produces distinct umami notes. But using Koji in coffee processing is a new practice, one pioneered by the El Vergel crew. On paper, the results are predictable; it lends umami tones and emboldens the funk you catch in progressive cups. But knowing is different than tasting, so the flavors still manage to spin heads.
If you're not into wild coffees, keep moving because this one is a funk-fest. If, however, journeying to the furthest reaches of the flavor spectrum is your bag, then hop on board. Red Jolly Rancher opens the cup. It's heavy, sweet, fruity, and dosed with funk. Next comes some caramel, but with a twist. There's malt in the sugars, and the note stands out as singular for its category. But the hallmark tone in this coffee is a savory umami finish. It's an interesting thing catching umami notes in a coffee, and to be clear—it's not like having a cup full of mushrooms. Instead, it's a ballast that provides some savory underpinning to the sweet fruit and heavy sugars.
Here's the bottom line: this is a lionhearted coffee. If you're into restrained flavors or traditional processes, it's not going to be for you. But if you're a red pill drinker, grab a bag and the coffee will be happy to show you how deep the rabbit hole goes.
- Region - Tolima, Colombia
- Farm - El Vergel
- Producer - Shady and Elias Bayter
- Varietal - Pink Bourbon
- Process - Koji
- Altitude - 1,500 MASL
- Pour Over
- French Press
- Drip Machine
- Utterly Wild (Non-Dairy) Espresso