Coffee varietal

Yellow Bourbon

Identified by its distinct yellow fruits in its mature stage, the Yellow Bourbon has been gaining popularity in recent years for its uniqueness and impressive flavours; in the 2017 Cup of Excellence competition, a Brazilian Yellow Bourbon attained an impressive score of 92.33. A Yellow Bourbon tree can grow up to 2.8metres in height and sometimes it can mature earlier than usual. It has low-medium yields and is susceptible to the coffee leaf rust. Typically, the fullness of its potential is realized when it is grown at more than 1,000 metres above sea level. 

Yellow Bourbon coffee exhibits the following traits in its taste profile:

  • Sweet, smooth, full body
  • Medium, citric acidity
  • Rich floral aroma
  • Flavour notes: almond, chocolate, caramel, raisins

In 1871, bizarre looking yellow berries were sighted in the city of Botucatu in Brazil. It is believed that these berries were a natural mutation of Typica. Since it appeared in Botucatu, these yellow berries were named “Yellow Botucatu”. Years later in 1930, the first Yellow Bourbon was spotted in a Brazilian Red Bourbon farm and many researchers posited that the Yellow Bourbon is a result of the natural-cross between the Yellow Botucatu and Red Bourbon. However, there are also opponents who believe that the Yellow Bourbon is birthed through natural mutation of the Red Bourbon.

In the 1950s, researchers from the Agronomic Institute of Campinas (IAC) carried out studies on several varieties including: Yellow Bourbon, Typica, Yellow Botucatu, Sumatra, Red Bourbon and Maragogipe. The studies found that the Yellow Bourbon varietal was the most productive compared to the rest. However, the Yellow Bourbon never gained huge popularity due to its yellow feature and is viewed as a novelty, until the third coffee wave.

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