Wilton Benitez Pink Bourbon-#1 of Coffee Review 2023

Discuss flavors, brew temperatures, blending, and cupping notes.
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TomC
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#1: Post by TomC »

I think it'll be worth starting a discussion on this coffee. Coffee Review gave this a whopping 98 points for 2023, landing it at their #1 position for the year 2023. Even with their generous scores, they do tend to find and report on great coffee. The ordering went live at 9am on Wednesday and almost crashed their site, definitely slowing it down to a crawl, as i was feverishly hoping my order would go thru.

$28 for half a pound is a good deal in my opinion on a special coffee north of 90. I got it and the Geisha. If you were one of the lucky few, I hope you share your impressions, good or bad.

https://jbccoffeeroasters.com/product/w ... k-bourbon/
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thirdcrackfourthwave
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#2: Post by thirdcrackfourthwave »

Thanks for the heads up, mine arrives tomorrow.

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TomC (original poster)
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#3: Post by TomC (original poster) replying to thirdcrackfourthwave »

mine arrived 2 days ago but i still cant taste a damn thing, so my own participation will be delayed.

#covid
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bznelson91
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#4: Post by bznelson91 »

Pardon my ignorance, but is this a roaster that typically features 90+ coffees? Do I need to put them on my radar? :)

Brad

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TomC (original poster)
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#5: Post by TomC (original poster) »

JBC basically sends all of their offerings to Coffee Review for scoring. that's not very common in the industry. many roasters send in their top tier stuff like Klatch for example, but not their entire list. They are a good roaster and yes, they buy some amazing greens.
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PhilthyCoffee
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#6: Post by PhilthyCoffee »

Had this from Modcup and was not a fan of their development of it. Had to go extremely coarse for pourover and kept pulling astringency. They also charged $30 for 250g. Made an interesting espresso though in milk based drinks, notes of fresh rosemary and strawberry puree.

Edit, ive attached a link. "Everyone else" seems to like it, but all those reveiews look to be from 6-9mo prior to the batch I had. And i'm not sure if they just reused an old Pink B internal page to boost the ratings, but the first 3 reviews are from 18 years ago :roll:
https://www.modcup.com/collections/expe ... nk-bourbon

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TomC (original poster)
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#7: Post by TomC (original poster) »

strange brew.

with senses fully restored, i dove into this just now. i hadn't even opened the padded envelope that JBC shipped it and the geisha from the same finca. but when i tore open the bag, my senses were assaulted by indescribable horrendous smells, none of which were ever noted by me from roasted coffee before. i think it is primarily coming from the geisha actually and i'd wager to guess separately the fragrance wouldn't be nearly as bizarre. moving on to the pink bourbon....

plan was for a 30g batch brewed in the Pulsar.

whole bean fragrance: dank marijuana, horse manure, rosemary/oregano, berry cordial

ground fragrance: mostly the same, a balance of those above, with the berry cordial intensified

brew aroma: during the brew, my kitchen was enveloped with the aroma of dank marijuana. very off-putting. i wasn't expecting to enjoy this coffee.

i aimed for a 1:16 batch, at 201F, and even though my grind appeared coarse enough, it was still too fine, with a very long 7 minute total brew time of a 560g batch. I'll repeat tomorrow at a coarser setting but I'm definitely done with this for today.

in the cup: you cant get your nose near the rim of the cup without being assaulted by dank weed. but the taste shifts to an amalgam of those intense fragrance notes, into a blend that very very much tastes like hibiscus juice. not unpleasant. there's a soft acidity, nothing pronounced. sweetness is pleasant and similar to the syrupy nature of hibiscus, almost as if the coffee was replaced with the agua fresca jamaica you get at any latin/mexican restaurant. mouthfeel is thin weighted but soft. there's plenty of balance to the odd bedfellows of flavors somehow. finish lingers for quite a while and is also pleasant. the cup finishes as clean as one would expect for a coffee that predominantly tastes like liquified marijuana spiked with berry cordial.

subjectively: i think id like this coffee more if there were any trace of actual coffee flavor in it. i'm not against experimenting with processing methods, especially those that lead to novel flavor profiles, but i still prefer to actually taste something reminiscent of coffee in my cup.
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thirdcrackfourthwave
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#8: Post by thirdcrackfourthwave »

Okay glad you've bounced back. Firstly I wanna say I'm not a Q grader and I don't play one on the internet same with the whole Brewer's Cup deal though I think my PO's are reasonable.

As far as real Q grading goes I know within the last year I did drink one legit 94 Sidra from Colombia. This was not a 98. Not bad, not unpleasant but not a 98. This is far from the best cup I would've had in '23 coffee review score or not.

Interesting comment about the mj. I wasn't getting that (nor was DW) until I read your description and I could totally see that. My initial take on the aroma was not indistinct fruit--like juicy fruit gum-some raisin, a spice that was hard to nail down-clove? and maybe a bit of pumpernickel bread.

So far I've done three brews all around 93-94 c: Orea-two blooms and long pour starting outer circles and moving to center only, Pulsar-steep and flush 1:17 and a pulse v60. I think our experiences and comments would be similar--
though I'm still not as marijuana as you--but I see it. I totally was thinking hibiscus while drinking. Thus far v60 was my favorite cup because I appreciated the acidity it brought. The mouthfeel was thin, the clove/bread flavor did linger w/o the fruity/hibiscus that was present in the cup. I think our experiences are close.

I was thinking maybe it needed a little longer to rest. I'm also thinking I may try and pull some shots.

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#9: Post by luca »

The whole idea of specialty coffee is that it is distinctive and merits premium prices, so it's absolutely wonderful to see such detailed discussion on one of the coffees that surely everyone that is interested in specialty coffee will want to hear about, and thanks, Tom, for treating us to such a vivid set of notes.

I didn't get to taste this coffee, but I did do a big cupping of Wilton Benitez's coffees in 2022 at MICE and I got to taste a bunch of them in 2023 from some brewers' cup competitors, both times including this coffee. I didn't take notes, but my recollection was pretty much the same across both years. It has complexity and intensity of fruits; something like a guava I seem to remember, but with a bit more of a wild funk like a jackfruit as well, maybe a bit of mango, like the flavoractiv "tropical fruit" reference standard, which I remember people saying tastes like the wrigley's "tropical fruit" gums (I haven't tasted that for like 25 years), much of which has a slightly synthetic candy cast to it, often like tinned lychee. These flavours are intense and in your face. Notably missing is the gentle estery cotton candy that I've had from a number of washed pink bourbons, which I've come to associate with the variety.

But let's talk about the elephant in the room - I'm totally there on the marijuana and manure. These were common elements across something like 8/10 of Wilton Benitez's coffees at the MICE cupping that I did, and I found these and the aftertaste very offputting. It was persistent, kind of musty, as well as with perhaps a slightly peppery edge, perhaps even a bit like a pine-o-kleen. The Coffee Review notes listed "frankincense", which I can't really remember, but one description google threw up was musty pine, so maybe that's a positive way of looking at it. To Wilton's credit, this cup character is very different from the finish that I've gotten on a lot of hot extended carbonic maceration ferment coffees.

Now, complexity and intensity of flavour only get you so far on scoring, and if you're going to be in the high 90s on the COE or Q sheet, you're going to have to have high scores for what I like to think of as "structure", which is basically everything else, notably body and acidity. And like I've got to say that I don't remember this as a particularly high bodied coffee, though I guess you'd probably have to say it's pretty balanced and I seem to remember finding the acidity good, but not memorable.

So we reach a beguiling question ... how do you score coffees that have both good and bad aspects? Well, here you've got the information, so you can make your own assessment, and you don't need to worry about scores.

Personally, I found the wild, unclean characteristics of this cup too much for me, and I have stayed away from buying most of Wilton's coffees, though I do try them from time to time. Others more interested in the unusual and the intense, and with a higher tolerance for the funky and wild, may well love these coffees.
LMWDP #034 | 2011: Q Exam, WBrC #3, Aus Cup Tasting #1 | Insta: @lucacoffeenotes

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TomC (original poster)
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#10: Post by TomC (original poster) »

Only one more attempt at this coffee today, the dankness has subsided a fair bit. It's more guava now. It's still very unimpressive and I'll probably be giving the second bag I bought and froze away. :( What a dud.
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