Origins: Sumatra


Overview

Altitude Range: 800 -1500 m


Language Spoken: Bahasa Indonesia (official, modified form of Malay), English, Dutch, local dialects, the most widely spoken of which is Javanese


Harvest: January – March


Common Varieties:  75% Robusta, 25% Arabica: Typica, Caturra, Bourbon, S-line Hybrids, Catimor, Tim Tim.


Avg Farm Size: Small producers 

General Cup Profile

Sumatran coffee is traditionally one that exhibits cup characters of a heavy body, sweet cedar, bell pepper, distinct herbaceousness, earth, and balsamic vinegar. We have seen some very exciting variety separations from Sumatra that have shown what isolated varieties and processing with intention can do for the cup. In those cases, the "traditional" cup profile is completely turned on its head, and the coffee presents characteristics of intense sweetness, saturated savory fruits, fig, raisin, and panela. Catimor is a common variety found in Sumatra, and removing that from the mix may be a large contributing factor to that extremely different, and better, cup. 

Growing Regions

ACEH, Lintong, Southwest Region, Lampung

Processing

Giling Basah and Washed.

Production History

Coffee is produced in small size farms and is process by the system “Gilling Basah” (wet hulling). The coffee has a very characteristic bluish color, which is attributed to the processing method.

Any unique systems or practices specific to the country? Tell us about them. (i.e. Micromills in Costa, Auction in Kenya):

Sumatran coffees capture the wild jungle essence of this tropical Indonesian island. We cup Sumatran after Sumatran to find that earthy, deep, complex, full-bodied coffee that exhibits low-acidity smoothness and a touch of forest floor funk. A great Sumatran is creamy, sweet, with a touch of butterscotch, spice, and mustiness. (Yes, mustiness, not jungle rot. This is where cupping Sumatran after Sumatran pays off Big!)

Sumatran coffee is a beautiful deep blue-green color with the appearance of jade. There is a tendency to over roast Sumatrans (along with other dry processed wild coffees) as they do not show much roast color, and can roast unevenly under an inexperienced roaster.

Sumatran coffees are hand sorted, and come in single-picked, double- picked, and even triple-picked lots. Since Sumatran's are dry processed and often laid out to dry on the dirt in small villages, sorting the coffee is essential to take out the sticks and stones that the beans inevitably acquire, but triple picking does not necessarily improve the quality of cup if processing was not done correctly to begin with.

We have seen some serious improvement in Sumatran coffee over the past several years, and have some exciting projects where producers are actually separating out specific varieties, something extremely uncommon in Sumatra. These same producers are also willing to try some new processing experiments for us, including full washed coffees!