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Why Sumatran Coffee Is So Famous

Why Sumatran Coffee Is So Famous

Sumatra is one of the large islands from the country of Indonesia. It’s the 6th largest island in the world and home to more than 50 million people. Along with Borneo and Java, it is one of the three main islands comprising the country. We wrote a blog about Java a few months back (read more). Coffee production on the island of Sumatra is thought to have begun around 1884, near Lake Toba, which is the largest volcanic lake in the world. Read on to learn why Sumatran coffee is so special.


Low Acid Coffee?


Many people belive that coffee from Sumatra tends to be a lower acidic coffee, primarily due to the way the beans are processed during harvest. In Sumatra they use what's called "wet hulling." Once the coffee cherries are picked, they are immediately depulped, stored in large plastic bags and left overnight to ferment. The following day the remaining pulp is removed by hand, and placed on a patio to dry.
This process supposedly results in a lower acidic coffee, when compared to say a coffee from Kenya or Ethiopia. I wrote a blog about coffee acidity and found that there wasn't much of a difference (read more).

Coffee Flavor Profile

The "wet hulling" process does in fact produce a different flavor profile which tends to be more earthy. The earthiness can also be attributed to the volcanic soil that the beans are grown in.

Our Sumatra Dark is an excellent example of what I mean by "earthy." You don't get as much chocolate as you would find in other Central American coffees, but instead a subtle taste of mushroom or potatoes. I realize this doesn't sound like coffee. These tasting notes are very subtle which gives Sumatran coffees a very unique flavor profile.


Is Sumatra A Dark Roast?

Twenty years ago almost everything was a dark roast, think Starbucks and Peete's Coffee. Because Sumatran coffees are plentiful there was some marketing around this coffee bean. Generally speaking Sumatran coffee is roasted dark, but that is entirely up to the roaster or the customer. At our cafe we offer both options for you. You'll tend to find more earthier, vegetably flavors in the Sumatra Light than you would our Sumatra Dark. That's because the darker roast mutes these subtle flavors.


Where Is Henry's Sumatra From?

Our Sumatra coffee is from the Kerinci District and is sourced from family-owned farms organized around an export company called AgroTropic Nusantara (AGTN).
AGTN has established an association of 680 producers who produce coffee on 2 acre parcels around the Kerinci valley’s edge near Mount Kerinci, the highest volcano in Indonesia and home to the Sumatran tiger, which inhabits the Kerinci Seblat (the largest national park in Sumatra and a UNESCO World Heritage site).
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