Bourbon coffee is a classic cultivar, named for the island of Bourbon (now called Reunion) where it was originally cultivated. When we call it classic, we mean not just the fact that it is a lower-yeild, heirloom plant, and that it has a very dense seed that roasts well, but also the cup character. Bourbon coffees, especially those from El Salvador, are neotypical Central American coffees. They are bright, aromatic, balanced, semisweet or bittersweet, chocolate and have a creamy mouthfeel. In a competition like Cup of Excellence, these characteristics might seem mundane next to the exotic flavors of the Pacamara cultivar, but Bourbon should be appreciate for more than it's sturdiness, versatility (they make great espresso blend components), and the way they take a wide range of roasts. Each has unique accent notes too. I was surprised to come back from a week of cupping in Guatemala and find that the Matalapa Estate had arrived on the 1st of March. It's earlier than other farms in El Salvador, and perhaps it is because of the micro-climate in the area and the 1200 meter elevation of Matalapa. It's a 4th generation coffee estate owned by Vickie Ann Dalton de Diaz. It totals 120 hectrares and was founded in the late 1800's by Fidelia Lima, great grandmother of the Vickie. She maintains 14 acres of virgin tropical forest and keeps her coffee plants shaded with over forty varieties of larger trees. The cup has the character I aspire to find in El Salvador Bourbon coffees, great balance and sweet accent notes. The dry fragrance has sweet nuts, almost like praline and some soft floral notes at City+, and a syrupy molasses sweetness at FC roast. The cup is very approachable, and you can seek out some sweet, mild citrus in the wet aroma, with syrupy malt sweetness (C+ roast). The cup has a buttery body, laced with floral and citrus accents. As it cools my lighter roasts (City+) became more and more bright and dynamic. I preferred this roast level; the finish is high-toned and sweet. But this coffee works with a huge range of roasts and FC+ or darker produce a great bittersweet, full-bodied cup (ideal as part of an espresso blend or as French Press type coffee).