The Ultimate Guide To Sumatra Coffee

Sumatra coffee beans are considered to be some of the finest beans in the world and have become a staple of coffee shops throughout the US.

 

Hailing from the Indonesian island of Sumatra, you can expect Sumatra coffees to have a rich, earthy flavor.

 

Geography:

Coffee was first brought to Indonesia by Dutch settlers in the 17th century.

Sumatra is a part of the Sunda Islands, located in Indonesia. Sumatra means “Island of Gold,” in Sanskrit. Maybe that is why Sumatran coffee farmers grow fantastic world-class coffee.

 

Sumatra Island

 

While other Indonesian islands often have large coffee plantations, Sumatra is composed mostly of smallholder farmers.

The coffee growing area of Sumatra is divided into two primary regions.

The majority of Sumatran coffee is grown inland from the southern coast. Typically this coffee is marked or labeled Mandheling or Lintong.

Sumatra coffee that is grown farther west is usually marked Gayo Mountain. Gayo is located near Lake Tawar and produces some superb high elevation, shade-grown coffee, cultivated at heights usually between 3300-4800 feet.

 

Sumatra Kerinci Coffee:

Our Sumatra coffee is from the Kerinci region.

This coffee is grown in the Jambi region on the slopes of Mt. Kerinci.  The Kerinci region is nestled in lush mountain highlands near Mount Kerinci, the tallest mountain (which in reality is actually a volcano) on Sumatra.  This area is located just south and on the western side of Sumatra.

Volcanic Mount Kerinci provides a lush home to grow our Sumatra Kerinci at 5000 ft above sea level.

Mt. Kerinci - Sumatra Coffee

(Mount Kerinci)

Sumatran Coffee Beans

Sumatran coffee beans are some of the heaviest, smoothest, and most complex coffees in the world.

Coffees from Sumatra are most commonly processed using a method called wet-hulling. Wet-hulling is also known as Giling Basah processing.

This type of processing creates a coffee that leaves the farm with a much higher moisture content than other methods.

Here’s that unique process broken down.

Wet Hulling Processing:

  1. Immediately after picking, farmers remove the skin of the coffee cherry.
  2. The skinned beans are placed in woven bags or buckets and left to ferment overnight (with or without water).
  3. The next day, farmers wash off the mucilage and let the coffee beans rest for a day with some the pulp still on them.
  4. The coffee is shipped to a processing warehouse.
  5. The processor receives coffee at 40-50% moisture content, then its dried to 25-35%.
  6. The beans are run through the wet-hull machine. This machine strips off the parchment, and the bean emerges swollen and whitish-green.
  7. The beans are shipped to a port city for exportation, and dried a third time (down to 11-14% moisture).
  8. Then the coffee it’s bagged and ready for export.

This moisture level is a much higher level than coffee from most other regions. In most coffee processing methods, coffee beans are dried until their moisture levels around 9 percent when they leave the processing facility.

This means that coffee has higher than average moisture content when it is bagged and exported to its destination, and this moisture has an effect on the flavor.

While there continues to be some experimentation among coffee processing methods in Sumatra, the cultural predominance and economic advantages of wet-hulling will keep this the dominant process for years to come.

 

Sumatra coffee characteristics

Those that enjoy the unique coffee of Sumatra often describe it as an earthy flavor. If you are familiar with wines, it’s described as terrior.

Sumatran coffee beans are very low in acidity and produce an aroma that ranges from maple syrup to chocolate to toasted almonds.

You can expect a cup of Sumatran coffee to be smooth and full-bodied with a robust, dry finish. You can also expect a distinct note of baker’s chocolate.

 

Perfect for Medium to Darker Roasts

Because of this wet hulling process, the flavor profile of Sumatran coffee is well suited to darker roast coffees.

A low acidic coffee is perfect for people who find stronger blends too harsh on their stomach. For example, our Sumatra Kerinci Medium Roast is actually our strongest coffee. But because the quality of the beans is so high it’s the cleanest Sumatra we have ever cupped.

The nutty sweetness of Sumatran coffee allows it to be enjoyed both at breakfast, and or after dinner.

Coffeeresearch.org describes Sumatra coffee as one of the heartiest and most complex blends in the world, making it a must for every coffee enthusiast.

 

Tap Dancer’s Sumatra Coffee

We currently have two Sumatra coffees available, a medium and a dark roast. But don’t be fooled by the type of roasting. Specialty coffee’s use the type of roast to bring out the flavor profile, not to determine how strong the coffee is. For our Sumatra coffee, our medium roast is much stronger than our dark.

Sumatra Kerinci Medium Roast

Taste Profile:  THIS IS OUR STRONGEST COFFEE. The cleanest Sumatra we have
ever cupped. notes of white pepper, ginger and mango

Purchase HERE

 

Sumatra Kerinci Dark Roast

Taste Profile:  Full body deep rich coffee with notes of  mocha, cinnamon and a delightful nutiness

Purchase HERE

 

So that’s a full run down on Sumatra Coffee. What else would you like to know? Have a question, just leave it in the comments section.