Sumatra Coffee — Going beyond the factoids
“Among the numerous luxuries of the table … coffee may be considered as one of the most valuable. It excites cheerfulness without intoxication; and the pleasing flow of spirits which it occasions…is never followed by sadness, languor or debility.” Benjamin Franklin
Ben was singing the coffee song of our people way before it was cool.
This month Sumatra is our topic and since studying how coffee beans are processed after they are picked, we have a greater appreciation for every single drop of coffee and bean.
Forgetting about the flavor profile for a minute, the way the Sumatra farmers painstakingly hull each coffee cherry by hand, sometimes with a big wooden pole as a mortar and pestle to depulp the beans. These are then put into bags and fermented before they are sold, dried, and prepared for export. This small-batch care comes through in every cup.
Flavors in Sumatran coffee originate with the climate and altitude but are later heavily influenced by the drying and roasting. The earthy and less acidic characteristics set these beans apart from other beans in different parts of the world.
Java Momma’s Mandheling varieties start from the same beans, then transform into different intensities and notes with the progressive roast levels. The darker the roast, the richer the flavor, but with a lower caffeine punch.
All that is cool and all, but how should you prepare it and when is the best time to drink it?
Short answer: any way you want and always.
But, seriously…This exceptional Indonesian coffee is versatile and can be brewed hot or cold. Our darker roasts stand out as a cold brew. When used for espresso, you’ll understand exactly how espresso should taste.
Do you have a recipe that calls for coffee? Dial it up with our Sumatra Mandheling Extra Dark. The richness will notch up the flavor factor to 11. Haven’t tried coffee in a dessert or your chili? I feel a challenge coming on… Stay tuned.
Sumatran coffees have a low acidity and complex flavor profiles which have made coffee from this region special and highly sought after in the coffee world.
Sumatra Coffee Growing
Coffee in Sumatra is typically grown in small-holder farms. These farms are usually small areas of land with a handful of trees farmed by families who can own as little as 100 coffee trees to a few acres of land. Farms in this region typically work together in structured cooperative partnerships, which allows them to sell their products together and split the profits evenly between them.
Typically, a cooperative in Indonesia contains anywhere between 20 – 1200 members, where they’re required to follow strict processing guidelines and workplace requirements. Some cooperatives will even share knowledge and help strengthen their group’s position by helping smaller farms improve their technology and processes.
Overall, cooperatives allow smaller farms to meet market demands and make sure they continue producing coffee next year.
80% of Northern Sumatra coffee growers are female – they plant, grow and harvest the Sumatra green coffee beans. They are also the ones to transport the Sumatra coffee beans
The majority of Sumatran coffee is produced without chemicals – Some people consider that certain chemicals could help the producing while others believe it’s better to remain organic and completely natural.