Our Sumatran Coffee
Our Organic Sumatran coffee delivers a structured, earthy, clove, spice (black currant), aromatic, semi-sweet, long finish and a medium mouthfeel.
Rising abruptly from the coastal plains of Sumatra’s northern-most province, the mountains of Aceh Tengah (Central Aceh) are the historical home to the Gayonese people. The ideal growing conditions of this region have supported the long history and unique quality reputation of “Gayo Mountain” coffee.
Years of civil war plagued this region, causing many farmers to abandon their land and flee to the neighboring city of Medan. However, after a powerful tsunami hit the coastal region of northern Sumatra in 2014, the most devastating of its kind in modern times, peace accords were signed, ending a generation of violence and allowing many to return to their land.
Permata Gayo Cooperative was founded in 2006, when 50 farmers from 5 villages of the Bener Meriah district of the Aceh Province came together to discuss how to rebuild their abandoned coffee farms.
They were successful in increasing their membership and achieved organic certification in 2007 and fair trade certification from FLO-Cert in 2009.
The Cooperative has brought the full process of coffee production from farmer to final export under one roof, thus improving quality, and guaranteeing more traceability from Aceh to roaster. As a result of their growth and improvements, the coop has been able to share more of the final price of coffee with their farmers.
The Origins of Indonesian Sumatran Coffee
In the Begining...
The arrival of coffee to the Indonesian archipelago has made that sliver of islands one of the top five producers of coffee in the world.
The island of Java is where coffee first began to be grown in the South Pacific from beans brought there from Mocha (in Yemen) by Dutch merchants. The rich volcanic soil of the region was seen as a prime place for launching into the coffee trade.
In 1696 the first coffee trees were planted there and then quickly destroyed by earthquake and flood. In 1711 they tried again and put Indonesia on the map.
This can have its drawbacks. Indonesia is now the fourth largest coffee producer in the world, and even with all its smallholder farms, finding high quality coffee there has been a journey of discovery and a bit of a struggle as large share growers abound with low quality product.
It’s been suggested that 75 percent of the coffee grown in Indonesia is Robusta, a more durable but far inferior variety that winds up as instant coffee—which is actually very popular among coffee drinkers in Indonesia—or used as a 'filler' coffee and bagged with Arabica.
Altitude: 1100-1550 m
Designation: Certified Organic
Varietals: Catimor, Bourbon
Seek And You Shall Find
Yet specialty coffee roasters are still able to turn to places in Indonesia, including certain areas northern Sumatra. Working with a handful of cooperatives, smallholder farmers continue to produce distinguished coffee yields in those high-altitude rich volcanic soils.
Recently we’ve discovered the Tiga Raja Mill, a cooperative that gives voice to local growers competing in the many-coffeed island of Sumatra.
A coffee farmer collective, Tiga draws from the best crops available in and around the Simalungun area of North Sumatra, an area rich with the heritage of the Simalungun people of the Sumatra Highlands.