Finca de Garces' Bourbon Varietal: From French Missionaries to Your Cup

May 14, 2023

Within the vast landscape of coffee, there exists an exceptional gem known as the Bourbon varietal. Celebrated as one of the coffee world's most genetically significant cultivars, Bourbon emerges as a natural mutation of the Typica varietal. Its allure lies in its rich genetic heritage and its distinct flavor profile, characterized by its velvety smoothness, buttery notes, and innate sweetness. 

In the first blog of our 5-part series on the different varietals that grow in Finca de Garces, we talk about the Bourbon varietal and how this coffee stands out. 


Bourbon (pronounced as boor-bon; vs. the “other” Bourbon whiskey which is pronounced as boor-bun) goes way back to the 1700s when French missionaries introduced this varietal to the Bourbon Islands. This type of coffee bean did not have its own name then, so the missionaries named it after the island. Bourbon flourished in this new ecosystem and over time, its natural flavors developed as it adapted to the island. Fast forward to the 1800s, the French missionaries then took their teachings to other parts of the world, as well as taking with them the said coffee. Although the island has then been rebirthed with its new name La Réunion now, its contribution to the history of Bourbon is still widely celebrated.

Photo courtesy of World Coffee Research


In the video, you can Gio showing how far the spacing is between the stems. The trees are adorned with fewer leaves, which spiral around the stem. Notably, the new shoots of the Bourbon tree showcase vibrant shades of green, serving as a visual marker that sets them apart from other coffee varieties where the new shoots bear brown tips.

Bourbon trees are generally tall and slender, not chunky unlike most of their other counterparts. Similar to many other Arabica coffee varieties, Bourbon flourishes in elevated altitudes and presents a unique set of challenges for growers due to its susceptibility to plant diseases. Cultivating Bourbon requires unwavering diligence and constant monitoring to ensure a good yield.


Bourbon is one of the many varietals the that the Garces family grows on their farm. As we launch a Finca de Garces Experience Box featuring different coffees from the farm such as Bourbon, we decided to become a bit more intentional with our relationship with not only the producers but with the plants themselves. The Bourbon we harvested and roasted from Finca de Garces exhibits the flavors of citrus fruits, stone fruits, and milk chocolate: a combination that reflects the renowned smoothness and buttery taste that Bourbon is celebrated for.

This is only the first blog of the five coffee varietals from Finca de Garces and we’re super excited to share more about these with you throughout the month.


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