Sumatra Coffee Regions, Aceh, Lintong

My 5 Star Certified Photos! Yes, 5 Star Certified. That’s what you have to do when you take your fancy camera to Sumatra, and proceed to take 1250 photos.

Too many pictures for sure … and that’s after paring them down on a daily basis. You end up with a mere 202 verified 5 star images. I jest. But I hope this image set and the comments will give some indication of both hope and futility of trying to figure out the Sumatra coffee system, and exactly how anything can survive it and actually taste good.

Sumatra defies all logic. Whatever you learn in other coffee-producing places rarely applies here. And seemingly they break every rule in the process. But then Sumatra doesn’t taste like other coffees. Should it?

If Sumatra conformed to other “best practices” would we have a wanna-be, second-rate wet-process style coffee to call Sumatra? Or is it better that all these Catimor and Hibrido de Timor cultivars, with mixed arabica and robusta genes, should be processed in a way that obscures there varietal character?

These are the questions rolling around in my mind as I traveled on to Aceh on this IOM project with Hans Langenbahn from Germany and fellow Yankee George Howell (with Laurie Howell too).

A stimulating trip, filled with discussions about possibilities, doused by the realities of fermented and rotting wet parchment, and broca bugs flying up from the coffee into your nostrils. Ay! -Tom

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