Sumatran coffees are famous for their peculiar Flavor Profile implies a graphical impression of a particular coffee, whether it be an artistic portrait or data graph of the perception of flavor compounds. In the case of our spider graph charts in each More, low Acidity is a positive flavor attribute in coffee, also referred to as brightness or liveliness. It adds a brilliance to the cup, whereas low acid coffees can seem flat. Acidity can sound unattractive. People may More, thick Associated with and sensed by mouthfeel, body is sense of weight and thickness of the brew, caused by the percentage of soluble solids in the cup, including all organic compounds that are extracted from brewing More, and A general characterization of pleasantly "natural" flavors, less sophisticated and less refined, but appealing. : What is Rustic? This is a general term we came up with... Dried Apricots from Sun Maid at the supermarket, More flavors that can often be described as Earthy is a flavor term with some ambivalence, used positively in some cases, negatively in others.: Sumatra coffees can have a positive earthy flavor, sometimes described as "wet earth" or "humus" or "forest" flavors. But More. Much of the flavor comes from the way Sumatras are processed, the wet-hull method, not to be confused with wet-processed coffee. The flavor of typical wet-hull Indonesians are available as a unique wet-hulled or dry-hulled (washed) coffees. Giling Basah is the name for the wet-hulling process in Bahasa language, and will have more body and often more of the "character" that More is polarizing among buyers. Some love it, but they must bracket this type of flavor profile because it would be considered unacceptable from any other In coffee talk, it refers to a coffee-producing region or country; such as, "I was just at origin." Of course "Origin" for most product we use is not a beautiful farm in a temperate climate, More besides USDA is (obviously) the United States Department of Agriculture. USDA also had coffee plant breeding programs in the past and one variety they distributed to Indonesia and was widely planted is called USDA (sounds like More. Each coffee drinker has to discover if this type of flavor is right for them, or not; whether it’s a go-to daily drinker, an occasional diversion, or flat-out unacceptable.
It Comes Down to Taste
On a Cupping is a method of tasting coffee by steeping grounds in separate cups for discrete amounts of ground coffee, to reveal good flavors and defects to their fullest. It has formal elements and methodology in More table of well-processed Central American coffees, a Sumatran coffee would immediately be thrown out. The earthy and A flavor found in rustic Indonesia coffees, wet-hulled types from Sulawesi and Sumatra in particular, reminiscent of a walk in the woods.: A flavor found in rustic Indonesia coffees, wet-hulled types from Sulawesi and Sumatra More flavors – A flavor descriptor in coffee reminiscent of herbs, usually meaning aromatic, savory, leafy dried herbs. Usually, more specific descriptions are given, whether is is a floral herb, or sage-like, etc. In reality, there are very More, sometimes mossy, or even mushroomy – would be attributed to The removal of the cherry and parchment from the coffee seed.: Coffee is either wet-processed (also called washed or wet-milled) or dry-processed (also called wild, natural or natural dry, and we abbreviate it DP sometimes). More errors, and the coffee labeled defective. So why this schism in the way the coffee trade treats wet-hull Indonesia coffees, and Sumatra in particular?
If a Sumatra supplier can consistently provide the same coffee, processed the same way, be it In some coffee taster’s lexicon, “fruity” means the coffee is tainted with fruit, and “fruited” means a coffee is graced by positive fruit notes. We don't exactly see the difference in terms of these two More or earthy, there are buyers who see this as a uniquely different flavor profile, and a welcome break from Central America, Colombian coffee is highly marketed and widely available in the US. They have been largely successful at equating the name Colombian Coffee with "Good" Coffee. This is half-true. Colombian can be very balanced, with good More or Kenya is the East African powerhouse of the coffee world. Both in the cup, and the way they run their trade, everything is topnotch.: Kenya is the East African powerhouse of the coffee world. Both More coffees. And of course, the bottom line is that their customers like it. Those who like minimally-processed wines, or those wines with The co-presence of many aroma and flavor attributes, with multiple layers. A general impression of a coffee, similar to judgments such as "balanced" or "structured" More flavors of leather, peat moss, fir, cedar, humus, tannins, will see something in the Sumatra flavor profile.
Indonesian coffees like Sumatra are nearly always processed by the wet-hull method. Wet-hulled coffee is called Giling Basah in Bahasa language. Most coffee in Indonesia is grown on small-holder farms, a family with anywhere between 100 trees to a few We use this metric term often to discuss the size of coffee farms. 1 Hectare = 10000 Square Meters = 2.471 acres: We use this metric term often to discuss the size of coffee farms. More of land. They pick the coffee and pulp it, which means that they run it through a hand-crank drum with a surface like a cheese grater that peels off the skin of the fruit. Then they will As an aroma or flavor in coffee, ferment is a defect taste, resulting from bad processing or other factors. Ferment is the sour, often vinegar-like, that results from several possible problems. It might be the More the coffee in any number of ways – either in a polypropylene bag, a plastic tub, or a concrete tank – to get the fruit layer (Mucilage indicates the fruity layer of the coffee cherry, between the outer skin and the parchment layer that surrounds the seed. It readily clings to the inner parchment holding the green bean. Think of the More) to break down. After overnight A key part of the wet process of coffee fruit is overnight fermentation, to break down the fruit (mucilage) layer that tenaciously clings to the coffee seed, so it can be washed off. Fermentation must More, the mucilage can be washed off, and you have wet Green coffee still in its outer shell, before dry-milling, is called Parchment coffee (pergamino). In the wet process, coffee is peeled, fermented, washed and then ready for drying on the patio, bed, or a mechanical More coffee – the green bean inside the parchment layer that encompasses it, still swollen with water.
Sometimes origins like Sumatra are available as a true wet-processed coffee (although this term would probably not apply well, a better description would be dry-hulled). In wet-processing, a farm would slowly dry this coffee for days or weeks, usually on a patio or raised bed, or sometimes in a Mechanical dryers are used as an alternative to sun-drying coffee on a patio, either due to poor weather, or when the patio does not have enough capacity. It is not considered as good as sun-drying More, down to 10-11.5 % moisture. In this process, the green bean would become the small dried seed we know, and the thin parchment shell is removed, preparing the coffee for export.
But in Sumatra and other parts of Indonesia, the farmer doesn’t want to wait for all this to happen – they want to get paid! They want to do as little work to process the coffee and get cash. And who can blame them? So they take their clean wet parchment coffee, dry it a few hours until it has 50% moisture content, and sell it to a collector middleman, or deliver it to a mill. They get paid faster and do less work this way.
The mill might dry the coffee a little bit more, a day or two, but in general, they send it to a special machine (the wet-huller) when the coffee still has 25-35% moisture content. This machine uses a lot of friction to take the tightly-attached parchment layer and tear it from the water-swollen green bean, which at this stage is often white and looks nothing like the green bean we finally see. Then the coffee is laid out to dry, totally unprotected by any outer layer, on a patio, on a tarp, on the road, or sometimes on the dirt! Drying without the shell is rapid, so the mill is able to sell the coffee and get paid with rapidity.
What does this do to the coffee? It creates a lower-acid cup, less A euphemistic term we use often to describe acidity in coffee. A bright coffee has more high, acidic notes. : A euphemistic term to describe acidity in coffee. A bright coffee has more high, acidic More, and seems to enhance body. But the risk is great: the wet and unprotected green bean can easily be damaged in the Hulling is the step at the dry mill where the green coffee bean is removed from the parchment shell. (See Wet Hulled for the Indonesia method). More, or on the drying patio. No farmer in Central America would think of exposing their green bean direct to the patio or bed without the parchment layer. This layer protects the coffee from taints, keeps it clean, and allows a slower, gentler, more uniform drying. And coffees that are dried well will last longer when they arrive at the buyer’s; good tastes won’t fade quickly into papery or burlap bag flavors.
Click here to learn more about wet-hulling in Indonesia.
This might make is sound like all wet-hulled coffee is bad since this method isn’t rooted in creating good-tasting coffee, but rather speeding up the process. But there is good vs. bad wet-hulled coffee. There are mills After coffee is picked, it must be dried. In both dry-process and wet-process (and the other hybrid processes like pulp natural and forced demucilage) the coffee must always be dried before processing. In dry process More on patios so clean you could eat off them, covered in a green-house like structure to protect from the unpredictable Sumatra rains, treating the coffee with great respect, and consistently producing great lots. It takes a lot of cupping and identifying a different set of reference points to determine what a really good wet-hull Sumatra should be.
Selecting Sumatran Coffee
We look for Sweetness is an important positive quality in fine coffees, and is one of five basic tastes: Sour, Sweet, Salty, Bitter, Savory (Umami). In coffee, sweetness is a highly desirable quality, and the green bean has More in the cup, an expanded definition of sweetness than one might use when cupping other origins. This could be raw sugar, like A type of unrefined brown sugar with a strong molasses flavor, although it is not made by combining molasses with white sugar.: Also known as "Barbados sugar" or "moist sugar," it is very dark brown More, or molasses. It could be unique syrups like brown rice syrup, or sorghum syrup. In any case, a coffee with no sweetness is rarely, if ever a good coffee. We look at the rustic elements to distinguish gross flavors like dirt from positive clean-earth, humus or other positive and relatively clean natural scents and tastes. While slight green herb and mossy is good, vegetal notes that are too bittering hint at poor processing or under-ripe fruits. In our lab, we also check the In coffee, a defect refers to specific preparation problems with the green coffee, or a flavor problem found in the cupping process. Bad seeds in the green coffee sample are termed defects, and scored against More count, ultra-violet appearance of the coffee, water activity, humidity, and The density of a coffee bean is often taken as a sign of quality, as a more dense bean will roast more with a better dynamic. The density of a coffee bean is often taken More of the bean. These tell the story of the coffee, but ultimately we find that cupping reveals the truth just as well.
Sumatra was planted in coffee after the crop was introduced to Java in Indonesia. Arabica refers to Coffea Arabica, the taxonomic species name of the genus responsible for around 75% of the worlds commercial coffee crop.: Arabica refers to Coffea Arabica, the taxonomic species name of the genus responsible More production in Sumatra began in the 18th century under Dutch colonial domination, introduced first to the northern region of The northernmost district in SumatraL Aceh District is north of North Sumatra and produces some very classic Sumatra coffees. The center of coffee in Aceh is Lake Tawar and Takengon, the city by the lake. More around Lake Tawar. Coffee is still widely produced in these northern regions of Aceh (Takengon, Bener Mariah) as well as in the Lake Toba region (Lintong Nihuta, Dairi-Sidikalang, Siborongborong, Dolok Sanggul, and Seribu Dolok) to the southwest of Medan.
In the past, Sumatra coffees have not been sold by region, because presumably, the regional differences are not that distinct. Rather, the quality of the picking, Preparation refers to the dry-milling steps of preparing coffee for export: hulling, grading, classifying, sorting.: Preparation refers to the dry-milling steps of preparing coffee for export: hulling, grading, classifying, sorting. Sorting means using density sorters More and processing of the coffee determines much of the cup character in this coffee. In fact, Sumatras are sold as A trade name used for wet-hulled Sumatra coffees. It is an area and a culture group as well (spelled Mandailing often) but there is not as much coffee production in this area anymore, south of More (Mandailing) which is simply the Indonesian ethnic group that was once involved in coffee production. The coffee is scored by defects in the cup, not physical defects of the Green coffee refers to the processed seed of the coffee tree fruit. Coffee is a flowering shrub that produces fruit. The seeds of the fruit are processed, roasted, ground and prepared as an infusion.: Coffee More. So a fairly ugly-looking green coffee can technically be called Grade 1 Mandheling. A grade 1 coffee can be a good cup or a very dirty and ugly-tasting coffee. The grading sometimes seems arbitrary by any standard. The way coffee is shipped via the humid port of Medan also damages quality as it can gain moisture before shipping, then flash dried in the hot, hot sun to get it back down to an acceptable level. This ruins cup quality.
The main story behind the coffee here is processing, but the varieties of coffee grown do factor into the cup, and certainly into the farming practice. Sumatra has a range of cultivars. The original A coffee cultivar; a cross between Typica and Bourbon, originally grown in Brazil: Mundo Novo is a commercial coffee cultivar; a natural hybrid between "Sumatra" and Red Bourbon, originally grown in Brazil. It was developed More type was brought from Yemen has a coffee culture like no other place, and perhaps some of what we enjoy in this cup is due to their old style of trade...: Technically, Yemen is on the Asian continent (on More or Ethiopia is the birthplace of coffee: it is in the forests of the Kaffa region that coffee arabica grew wild. Coffee is "Bun" or "Buna" in Ethiopia, so Coffee Bean is quite possibly a poor More via India. This is sometimes called S-795 is a variety based on the " S-Line" coffees of India, and stands for Selection 795, It has a very fine cup, one of the best in Indonesia, but is not a high volume More Typica. There are 2 main Typica types: Bergandal and Another local Indonesia Typica type in Aceh and North Sumatra. See the comments under Typica (Bergendal), but basically it was originally called Pusumah by PJS Cramer, and was further selected when planted at Belawan, a More. Catimor is a broad group of cultivars derived from a Hibrido de Timor (HdT) and Caturra cross, highly productive, sometimes with inferior cup flavor. The main issue is the Robusta content in HdT, although this More, a cross between arabica and Robusta usually refers to Coffea Robusta, responsible for roughly 25% of the world's commercial coffee. Taxonomy of Robusta is debated: some sources use “Robusta” to refer to any variety of Coffea Canephora, and some use More, is sometimes found with the name “TimTim” … we offered TimTim Blangili a while back. The majority of coffees are arabica types that have Ateng is a common name for Catimor coffees widely planted in Sumatra and other Indonesia isles.: Ateng, with several subtypes, is a common name for Catimor coffees widely planted in Sumatra and other Indonesia isles. More inputs, like the Catimor coffees found in Central America. Ethiopia strains were reintroduced with the names There are several types of Abyssinia, but they are not from Ethiopia but rather Indonesia. Abyssinia 3 = AB3. PJS Cramer, a Dutch plant researcher, introduced this variety in 1928, supposedly from Ethiopia seed stock. It was More and Ethiopia, formerly known as Abyssinia, or a coffee cultivar: Ethiopia, or more specifically the Empire under Haile Selassie, was known as Abyssinia. The name is Latin, derived from Arabic "Ha bash", but is a term More, which were brought to Java in 1928, and later to Aceh, Sumatra. Another group of Ethiopia and the Boma Plateau of Sudan are the origin of Coffea Arabica. There are many local named varieties that we refer to as Ethiopian Heirloom Cultivars. This is simply the result of the action More found in Sumatra are called “USDA”. Knowing the specific cultivar is nearly impossible, and they are often a mix of many. In Sulawesi coffees are low-acid with great body and that deep, brooding cup profile akin to Sumatra. The coffee is sometimes known as Celebes, which was the Dutch colonial name for the island. Indonesians are available More for example, Djember means S-795 from India, not a pure Typica. Many Aceh coffees are An improved Ateng selection of Timor variety with Bourbon reportedly. The specifics are a little doubtful (Timor x Bourbon) as it is not the result of a plant breeding program, but a selection from North More types of catimor, although there is still old varieties of coffee tucked away in this zone. Our Lintongs are a mix of A locality in North Sumatra within the greater "Lintong" growing area, as well as a local cultivar.: Onan Ganjang is a locality in North Sumatra within the greater "Lintong" or Tapanuli growing area. It is More, Djembers, and Ateng types. All of this is really second fiddle to the process flavors, the Indonesia wet-hull method called Giling Basah. Process flavors trump all in the Sumatra cup.
Sumatra faces many problems in coffee cultivation. There are types of fungus such as leaf rust. But the most damage to the crop and the livelihood of the small farmer is Coffee Berry Borer is a pest that burrows into the coffee seed, and a major problem in many coffee origins. In Latin America it is known as Broca and refers to the insect Hypothenemus hampei. More – the Coffee Berry Borer – or Broca, as it is called in Latin America. Broca runs rampant in most areas of Sumatra. The small beetle drills into the fruit and seed while it is on the tree, and these beans must be sorted out from top-grade coffees before they are exported. It is forced from the bean in processing, so the insect itself is not a risk but the damage it does to the bean and the plant’s reaction to the attack will result in a whole host of defect flavors in the cup.
On my last trip to Sumatra I was shocked at the amount of Broca I saw on the plant, and also on the wet parchment coffee. They were all over the bags in the local markets where coffee is traded. It was very sad both for the damage to the cup quality, as well as the value and volume of the crop. There are natural control methods, like alcohol traps made from used 2 liter soda bottles. But one of the best prevention methods is to pick coffee promptly when it is mature, and not let coffee fall to the ground. The borer only wants to live in the ripe fruit. But Sumatra has a poorly defined crop cycle and weather patterns, meaning the coffee shrub often has ripe fruit on it. It’s like a Broca motel – the borer always find a room available.
There is a tendency to over-roast Indonesians. The reason is that they don’t show as much roast color, and have a mottled appearance up until 2nd An audible popping sound heard during roasting. In coffee, one refers to "first crack" and "second crack," which come from two different classes of chemical reactions.: An audible popping sound heard during roasting. In coffee, More and even a bit into it. Don’t let this make you think you have to roast them dark (although they can be nice this way too). Great Indonesians will be wonderful roasted just to the verge of 2nd crack but NOT into it at all. So ignore the weird beans you see green, and ignore the mottled appearance of lighter roasts, and only focus on the what you get in the cup.
With prices high, you expect quality would be up too. But in general, this is not the case. What’s the incentive to pick and prepare coffee better when the market guarantees a premium anyway? It’s why we buy very selectively from Sumatra and cup our lots hard. What I have seen is blends of old crop and Refers to fresh shipments of green coffee within the first month or two of the earliest arrivals ... not quite the same as Current Crop, which means the most recent harvest. As a stable dried More early in the Grade 1 window (Nov-Jan in particular), which is a deceptive practice. Nonetheless, roasters need Sumatra and I am sure someone buys it … someone who doesn’t cup their lots that is! Problems aside, we have been able to find great Sumatras in both the traditional rustic flavor category and cleaner, well-processed types, because we have established good relations directly with the sources.