What are Bourbon Coffee Beans?

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Bourbon coffee beans

Bourbon coffee beans are a variety of Arabica, one of the two main types of coffee, the other being Robusta. Bourbon has two other siblings in the Arabica family, which go by the names of Arabica Heirloom and Arabica Typica. 

So, nothing to do with the alcoholic beverage of the same name, but you can, of course, add some Bourbon to your Bourbon coffee!

The Bourbon variety is considered high-quality coffee, a gourmet coffee if you like, and many new subspecies have been developed from the original plant which comes from Yemen.

Where does Bourbon coffee come from?

The history of Bourbon coffee goes back to the early 1700s, when the original plant from Yemen was brought by French missionaries to the Island of Reunion, then known as Bourbon Island. The locals kept this delicious coffee for themselves for more than a hundred years. It was only in the mid-1800s that the same French priests decided to expand their mission to Africa and the Americas, taking the prized coffee plant with them.

If you are a fan of Bourbon coffee, you know who to thank now!

What is the difference between Yellow and Red Bourbon coffee?

The original Bourbon, the one that French missionaries generously carried around the world, was of the Red variety. The Yellow Bourbon variety derives from the crossing between Red Bourbon and the Yellow of Botucatu, a Brazilian coffee.

Bourbon coffee beans are considered among the best in the world for specialty coffees. Brews made from Bourbon beans are soft, medium-bodied and have low acidity. The taste is rather sweet, as compared with other types of coffee. 

Roasted to medium-level, Bourbon coffee retains much of its natural flavor, with hints of chocolate flavor, roasted grains, and hazelnuts. Due to its specific flavors, this coffee offers excellent harmonization with chocolates.

Many countries around the world grow Bourbon coffee today, but most of those plants are sub-varieties of the original one that was initially grown on Reunion Island. 

If you want to taste the original flavor the French missionaries fell in love with centuries ago, you will have to find a supplier from El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, or Peru. Good luck!

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