Sumatran OrangUtan coffee comes from villages west of Lake Tawar, in Sumatra’s Gayo Mountains. The Gayo, which means nice, are an ethnic group indigenous to highlands of Aceh province in Indonesia, Sumatra. Sumatra, the world’s first commercial coffee exporter, has a long, rich tradition of cultivating coffee plants. The Gayo are very proud of their coffee culture and approach each aspect of the harvest with care and adherence to centuries-old farming and harvesting methods. Among the Gayo, coffee is more than a means of subsistence, it is an opportunity to connect with, preserve, and pass on their rich coffee heritage.
Grown at altitudes of 4,000-4,300 feet above sea level, the overwhelming majority of coffee from this stunning region is organically grown — with few farmers even cognizant of chemical fertilizers. Most farms rely solely on the materials at their disposal, generally a mix of natural compost and animal fertilizers. The Gayo Village we purchase from produces at most 8 coffee lots per year and while these remote farms are rarely Certified Organic, we are confident that the lot we roast (Gajah lot 36) is naturally grown and eco-friendly.
Beans from the Gayo region are harvested by hand and semi-washed, known as “giling basah” in the local dialect, before being semi-dried. Semi-wash processing, a rarely used method, is excellent for beans, such as the Sumatrans, that must be preserved for long periods of time post-harvest. Unlike more developed farms in Central and South America, which often start processing beans on the day of harvest, the OrnangUtan beans may be harvested and carried for days before they reach a processing or export facility. Semi-wash processing preserves the beans’ integrity and character. During wet-processing the parchment is marginally dried, then stripped of the outer layer, revealing a white-colored and swollen green bean. Once cleaned, the beans are dried to a 30-35% water content on a patio for several days where they develop into a deep, dark green. The beans are then transported to a processing facility where they are fully washed and dried. This final step could take place days or weeks after the harvest.
The Sumatra OrangUtan, grown alongside cocoa, chili, and citrus fruits, is roasted to a Vienna shade and produces a bold, earthy taste infused with strong tones of syrupy dark chocolate, mango, and a hint of chili pepper. This coffee has a stunningly bold, permeating aroma and nice, heavy mouth-feel. For those who love strong coffee, this is a true gem!
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