The long-running coffee review site Coffee Review has counted down its top 30 coffees of 2023, giving tip-top honors to an experimental-process coffee roasted by Madison, Wisconsin-based JBC Coffee Roasters.
The “Wilton Benitez Pink Bourbon” offering was one of two roasted coffees to receive a Coffee Review all-time-high score of 98 this year (a Gesha-variety coffee from Taiwan’s GK Coffee was the other).
Coffee Review’s editors described JBC’s winning coffee as both “wildly expressive” and “richly compelling” while noting its wine-like and juicy acidity, as well as its “long, very complex finish that leads with notes of wild blackberry and frankincense.”
Family-run JBC, which roasts for direct-to-consumer bagged coffee sales as well as strategic wholesale accounts, routinely turns out 90+ coffees, according to Coffee Review archives. Yet none of those moved as fast as the 98-pointer, which sold out in 24 minutes when the review initially dropped.
(Note: JBC is planning on receiving more of the award-winning coffee in unroasted form soon; in the meantime, the company does have another offering grown by Colombia-based Wilton Benitez.)
“Being named the #1 coffee of 2023 does bring recognition both locally and nationally,” JBC Coffee Roasters Co-Owner Laura Salinger Johnson told DCN. “It definitely boosts online sales and interest in our public events. It’s a great honor.”
The honor should also extend to Benitez, an already renowned coffee producer who has applied a chemical engineering background to coffee farming and post-harvest processing in Colombia.
The 98-point coffee, of the prized but potentially misnomered Pink Bourbon variety, was subjected to unique anaerobic yeast fermentation in bioreactors, including the employment of ozone gas and ultraviolet light sterilization. According to JBC, the post-harvest processing is what paved the way for the coffee’s unique fruity and floral characteristics.
“We were able to make those notes pop even further with a roast profile of 10 minutes — with the very first pop at 7:30, rolling into first crack at 8 mins — with 20% development and a finish temp of 396,” Salinger Johnson told DCN. “The result is a juicy, sugary sweet, syrupy, and silky coffee with tasting notes of pink bubblegum, strawberry blossom, blackberry buttercream, orange, and purple grape.”
[Note: This story has been updated. The original version incorrectly identified Wilton Benitez as Wilson Benitez.]
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