FOR WHEN YOU COME OVER ALL BITTERSWEET.
Gayo Highlands, Sumatra
A real crowd-pleaser – this is one that will really set off a good meal. Or erase the memory of a bad one. Actually, it’s awesome whatever you’ve eaten.
Produced by our partner growers from Takengon and Lake Lut Tawar in the Aceh province and bought at the price those farmers deserve, the clean, cocoa and dark chocolate flavours mean you can forget whatever foil-wrapped treat you had in mind.
Baker’s chocolate and caramel with a touch of spiciness. An obvious and pleasant juicy acidity at lower roast levels is uncharacteristic of typical Sumatra coffees, but taken a little further into the roast, a thick and heavy mouth-feel leads to a very well rounded cup.
A staple of traditional blends, Indonesian coffee, particularly those from Sumatra are typically noted for their heavy body/mouth-feel, earthy tones and lower acidity. When the quality is good and consistent this can lead to an accessible and uncomplicated coffee. In some cases, especially noted in this coffee, a pleasant level of acidity can be gained at lighter roast levels, and is a refreshing antidote to the poorer quality coffees that some associate with the Country with dirty and tainted cup profiles.
The ‘wet hulling’ process is a hybrid coffee method common in Sumatra, roughly similar to pulped natural or honey processing but with significant difference around the moisture content t key stages. It results in a darker green coffee with little silver-skin clinging to it, and a particular lower-acidity, earthy, heavy body flavor profile.
For the wet-hulled method, the farmer picks ripe coffee cherry, pulps off the skin and either dries it immediately, but only down to around 40-50% moisture content. The coffee is then sold to the mill who then dry it to 25-35%, and run it though the wet-hull machine. Friction strips off the parchment, and the bean emerges swollen and whitish-green. Then it is dried on the patio down to 11-14% moisture, ready for sorting, grading, bagging and export. In many parts of Indonesia this method is commonly called Giling Basah.
Some of the villages in Central Aceh were established during the 1980’s as a result of the Indonesian transmigration program. Javanese people were offered land and support by the government to relocate to the highlands in an attempt to reduce the population on the overcrowded island of Java.
The new settlers were mainly corn farmers who learned about planting coffee from the local Gayonese people.
Coffee in the Aceh region is often planted with other crops, pulses, chillies, and vegetables at altitudes from 1350 to 1700 meters above seas level. Cherry is collected on the farms then is washed and fermented for 24 hours. The pulp left over after processing is used to make organic fertilizer for the trees. Parchment is subsequently dried in green houses (solar dryers), where it remains for about 15 days to achieve optimum moisture content.