Region and Process
Besides being one of the biggest islands in the region, the tropical isle of a Sumatra is one of the most significant contributors to Indonesia’s coffee industry, Ir has boomed since Dutch colonizers introduced the bean to the region around the 19th century.
Most noteworthy about beans are grown in Sumatra is that they are frequently dried via a process (mainly unique to the region) known as wet-hulling, or Giling Bashan.
After the coffee cherries have been picked, they are skinned, and then left in woven bags overnight, where they ferment. The next morning, the beans are washed off by hand and dried partially outdoors. From here, they are shipped to a warehouse, where they are allowed to dry further, and then sent away to the port from which they will be exported, where they are allowed to dry a third time.
This particular process is used mainly because Sumatra’s damp, tropical climate does not allow for an efficient drying process, thus necessitating that it be done mostly in other regions. However, besides its practical elements, this process is also primarily responsible for lending Sumatra beans their very unique taste.
Flavor of Sumatra Coffee Beans
Due to the sizable nature of the island, coffee beans from Sumatra do come in a variety of local types; however, for the most part, they are all defined, first and foremost, by their body rather than their flavor. For the most part, Sumatra coffee has a substantial body, as well as a shallow level of acidity – indeed, beans from Sumatra are frequently sought out by coffee enthusiasts with a sensitivity to high bitterness.
However, the flavors that do seep through into the average cup of Sumatra are varied and often unique. They are frequently described as very rich and “earthy,” with hints of rich soil, moss, and mushrooms. In general, a cup of Sumatra is very likely to bring to mind the damp, lush tropical environment in which they were grown.
Despite – or rather, because of – its unique taste, Sumatra coffee is a versatile bean that can be incorporated into a great variety of coffee brews. Its low acidity makes it a favorite to use in espressos, especially for those who wish to enjoy the kick that the stuff provides without the sharp bite that defines more acidic coffee.
However, at the same time, Sumatra can also be used in more milky varieties of brew, such as lattes and cappuccinos – while the lower acidity of the brew makes for a delicate balance that does not clash too sharply with the milk. The full body of the coffee is substantial enough to make itself known through the milk, rather than being dulled by it.
Either way, even if you’ve tried beans from every other corner of the globe, it’s likely that you’ve never sampled anything quite like the stuff from Sumatra. This unique coffee, with its unique treatment process, offers a taste experience only available from a cup brewed from beans straight from the soils of Sumatra.