When I read “chocolate” on a flavour note, I expect the flavour to be prominent, perhaps due to my experience with a few coffees where coffee is front and centre. Finca Bonanza, an El Salvadoran coffee sold by Steampunk Coffee, changed my perspective. This coffee features prominent apple and tablet notes, with chocolate sitting in the background to delight you throughout the cup.
El Salvador is unique in that a majority of coffee grown in the country is of the Bourbon varietal, despite El Salvador being the birthplace of two coffee varietals: Pacas and Pacamara. Finca Bonanza is even more unique because the coffee is a Red Bourbon. The coffee is currently being investigated for its resistance to coffee leaf rust, a devastating disease that can wipe out a large percentage of a farmers’ crops. Bourbon, on the other hand, is known to be susceptible to leaf rust.
El Salvador has a strong infrastructure which means that it is common to see coffees traceable to a farm, like Finca Bonanza. This is no doubt a result of El Salvador’s long history with coffee, dating back to the 1880s. In the 1970s, El Salvador was the fourth-largest coffee producing country. The country can no longer claim this title, however.
The dry grounds of Finca Bonanza smell like apple and the wet aroma surprised me with a clear apple and tablet aroma. Tablet, a confection common here in Scotland, is considered a treat given its sugar content. I was surprised that any coffee could so closely resemble tablet, a sweet I have not had in a long time but that still brings back good memories.
Apple is the most prominent flavour in the Finca Bonanza coffee, second to the tablet flavour. Both of these flavours persist throughout the cup, providing a delightful and balanced sweetness. This coffee has underlying acidic notes but I have had much more acidic coffees in the past. The delicate acidity of this coffee blends well with the apple flavour.
Finca Bonanza has a medium body and a heavy, lingering apple finish. As I write this review, I can still taste a little bit of apple on my tongue, a hallmark of a good coffee. This brew was certainly unique, again opening my eyes to what coffee can be. I am now inclined to explore more coffees with chocolate characteristics, aware that there are likely more pleasant surprises like this one.
Chocolate came to mind as I got to the middle of the cup. The chocolate notes were subtle but delicious. Every time the chocolate came to mind I was reminded of how complex coffee can be. The apple by no means overpowered the chocolate flavours. There was a healthy balance between the two flavour notes. I am still surprised by the tablet aroma in this coffee which came to the forefront shortly after I started brewing a cup of Finca Bonanza coffee.
Finca Bonanza is a washed coffee, being left to ferment overnight and then washed and dried. Grown at 1,490 meters above sea level (masl), I am reminded that coffees grow at all altitudes and that higher is not necessarily better. This coffee was incredibly sweet, easy to drink, and a welcome surprise of what coffee can taste like.
About This Coffee
Varietal: Red Bourbon
Tastes: Apple, tablet, a bit of chocolate