Sweet With Complex Acidity: Sumatra Natural
We’re excited to share this beautiful coffee from Cafe Imports, the Sumatra Natural from the Aceh region. This coffee works well between a lighter-medium to dark roast with deep sweetness and complex acidity throughout. We utilize this coffee in our holiday blend, Hibernate, and appreciate it’s structured fruit-forward character and big velvety body.
The Aceh region is home to volcanic mountains covered by tropical and temperate forestry. Coffees from the Aceh region are known for their complex fruity profiles with woody and earthy notes. This is largely due to their traditional processing methods. Coffee from Sumatra was not always recognized or sold by their region until recently. Improved and distinct characteristics have allowed these offerings to come into the spotlight.
Coffee was introduced to Indonesia in the 17th century when it was still under Dutch occupation, and Arabica plants were brought over from the Netherlands. During that time, Indonesians were set on breaking the worldwide monopoly of the coffee trade under the Arabs.
Coffee trees were initially planted around Jakarta and some were planted further south in Sukabumi and Bogor. As time went on, more plantations established themselves in most areas of Java, Sulawesi, and Sumatra until the spread of coffee rust. In the 1900s, coffee trees across Indonesia contracted this fungus devasting plantations across the East and West.
Many of the changes today in Indonesia’s coffee market are due to their quest in finding independence and events unfolding after the war. Farmers are still healing from the natural disaster in 2004 that caused them to completely uproot and rebuild their homes and plantations.
Giling Bahasa, in the Bahasa language in Indonesia, is a traditional method for processing coffee in Sumatra and translates to wet-hulled. This creates a signature flavor profile with more body and lower acidity in the cup.
Many smallholder farmers take care of the first steps in the process. They pick the cherries and pulp them with a hand crank that strips the flesh from the fruit. Fermentation follows, happening in concrete tanks, tubs, or bags until the mucilage from the fruit is broken down. Once the cherries have undergone fermentation, mucilage is washed away and parchment coffee is left.
Coffee is sent away dried to about fifty percent to a collector who runs the parchment coffee through a mill. The mill might dry the coffee for another day or two, but it’s then sent through the wet-huller to detach the parchment from the bean.
Unlike other coffee origins, the beans are laid out to dry without their outer parchment shell usually on clean patios. Many mills today are working towards covered patios as an addition to their process to ultimately avoid the hassle of drying and unpredictable weather conditions.
How We’re Roasting It?
Bryant gives us some insight on roasting this green offering:
This natural Sumatra feels very similar to roasting a natural Colombia. They do really well with a long mid-phase and in turn, lets you keep a shorter development to maintain some of those lively and fruity-tasting notes we expect.
At the MCR roastery, this coffee is being used in our winter blend, Hibernate. It’s on the lighter end of a medium roast when we roast for customers, but it’s also offered as a green blend for roasters to take it into their own hands.
Stay tuned for more deep dives into our green offerings and how you can utilize them in your roastery.