As well as growing coffee the farmers also grow vegetables and fruits to eat or sell at local markets. Usually there are two harvests a year with coffee being picked in the main harvest from October - December, and then again from March - May as part of the fly crop.
Unusually for Sumatra, this coffee is not processed by lots of small producers and then collected. It is collected first and then processed as one, which is probably why this coffee has such good uniformity and clarity compared to other coffees from this region.
After this the coffee is laid out on patios in the sun for a day, until it reaches about 40% moisture content (known locally as gabah). From here it undergoes the wet hulling process and removal of the parchment.
The coffee is dried again until 13% moisture for a further 4-5 days.
After this the coffees are rested before being put through gravity tables and hand picked twice, then packed ready for export from the town of Takengon in Aceh.
Lychee, tamarind and dark sugar sweetness, a well balanced citrus acidity with a lovely buttery body and smooth mouthfeel.
With Europe’s ever increasing thirst for coffee at that time, this commodity played an important role in Indonesias' trade, as indeed it does today. Following early success in Java, coffee was then introduced to Sumatra, initially to the northern region of Aceh around Lake Tawar.
Aceh has seen much civil unrest throughout its history, but most recently due to guerrilla activity organised under the Free Aceh Movement. As a result many farms were abandoned, as farmers migrated to escape the unrest. Incredibly, the devastation of the 2004 Boxing Day earthquake and tsunami did provide a silver lining, as it focused international attention on Banda Aceh. Subsequent aid spotlighted the region and served to bring relative peace to Aceh; now farms are being revitalized via new planting and pruning and hope is returning.
Sumatran coffees are mainly produced by a unique semi-washed process which is sometimes described as “wet-hulled” (known locally as Giling Basah). In this process the coffee is picked, machine pulped (usually on the individual small holding), then partly sun dried. The parchment is removed revealing a whitish coloured, swollen green bean. The drying is then completed on the patio where the seed quickly turns to a dark green colour unique to Sumatra. This method brings about more body and often more of the character that makes Indonesians coffees so unique and recognisable, with flavours ranging from deep chocolate to citrus & spice.