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Sipping First Cup of Popular BRCC ECS Roast in Guatemala

When I received the call from Coffee or Die Magazine to pack my bags and fly to Guatemala, to say I was excited would have been an understatement. The new assignment would be the first time I’d traveled internationally since the pandemic hit.

Getting the chance to cup one of Black Rifle Coffee Company’s yet-to-be-released specialty coffees made it completely worth the inconvenience of adhering to Guatemala’s strict COVID-19 protocols, which were in place at the time. (“What do you mean, the bars and restaurants shut down at 8 every night?”)

But once I arrived in-country and met my guide, Fredy Bolanos, I knew I was in good hands. If that name sounds familiar, he’s the same coffee trader who took the CAF Life team on an infamous five-hour death race through Guatemala last year.


Photo by Kelly Getzelman/BRCC Blog. 


Almost immediately, I started researching all the details on Guatemala’s specialty coffee offerings and, more importantly, the ones debuting through Black Rifle Coffee Company. So when Bolanos mentioned that the same BRCC roast that had reignited my passion for coffee was a Bourbon variety produced in Guatemala by the Association of Special Coffee in Huehuetenango, I was blown away.

The next day, Bolanos and I headed out to the farm in Antigua, where the coffee beans were harvested. Nestled between two volcanos nicknamed Fuego and Agua, Cuxinales Farm has volcanic soil rich in minerals, with a climate ideal for growing amazing coffee.


Photo by Kelly Getzelman/BRCC Blog.  


After a farm tour, it was time to start the cupping session. At this point in my journey, Bolanos and I had no idea what the roast would be named. The only BRCC representative who had cupped the coffee, now known as Ram-Bow, was certified Q-grader and BRCC director of coffee Edwin Parnell, who had received samples for his approval in Utah earlier in the year.

This high-scoring microlot would later debut on Black Rifle Coffee Company’s Exclusive Coffee Subscription lineup.

The cupping took place inside a well-lit sample area inside the farm. Because of COVID-19 protocols, the cupping session had to be spread out around the table to ensure we kept our distance from each other.


 Photo by Kelly Getzelman/BRCC Blog.


While this may not always be the ideal way to cup coffee, getting the chance to sample the Ram-Bow Roast directly from the farm where the beans were harvested is bucket-list worthy for any coffee aficionado.

Immediately after taking the first slurp with my spoon, I knew this was not your average store-bought bean. The natural process of drying the coffee cherries enhances the Pacamara flavors of chocolate, butterscotch, and honey.

When I made it back stateside and discovered that the June 2021 ECS offering was going to be called Ram-Bow Roast, it put a smile on my face. I was lucky enough to get my hands on one of the first bags before it completely sold out.

Having the opportunity to cup one of the final samples of this roast before it reached Coffee Club members was something I look forward to experiencing again.


Photo by Kelly Getzelman/BRCC Blog.  


When you join the BRCC ECS, you’ll get monthly shipments of high-scoring microlot coffees like this from around the world.

This article first appeared in the June 7, 2021, coffee vertical of Coffee or Die Magazine.