Oooh, coffee! The beautiful aroma that pulls you out of bed in the morning. It wakes up your senses and gets you ready for a day full of opportunities. Coffee is an incredible drink that has become a staple in my life (and many others).
Today I want to talk to you about one of my favourite coffee growing regions: Sumatra! Coffee beans from Sumatra have a wonderful taste profile mostly because this amazing Indonesian island has the perfect climate conditions for coffee trees to thrive!
So what makes Sumatra coffee so special? We'll dive into that below!
Sumatra Coffee: All You Need To Know
In a world where coffee is consumed by billions of people, you might be wondering why Sumatra deserves its own blog post. Well let me tell you all about it! I don't want to keep this secret from you any longer. In fact, I've been dying to share my love for Sumatra with the world and what better way than through a blog post?
So here goes... It's not just your average cup of Joe. There's so much more behind this special blend that makes it one-of-a-kind and worth every penny. The rich flavor profile will have your taste buds dancing in no time!
Where is Sumatra?
Sumatra is an island in the Indian Ocean. The island has a total land area of about 100,000 square kilometers (38,610 square miles). Indonesia is to the south and Malaysia to the north.
The island is divided into provinces, of which Lampung is the southernmost. The capital and largest city is Palembang.
Sumatra is best known for its coffee production. Arabica coffee is a species of coffee that is believed to have originated in the highlands of Ethiopia. It was first planted in Sumatra in the seventeenth century.
Robusta coffee, on the other hand, originated in Africa and was first planted in Sumatra in the early twentieth century. Today, Indonesia is the world's third-largest producer of coffee, after Brazil and Vietnam. Most of Indonesia's coffee production takes place on Sumatra. The island has a diverse range of habitats, including rainforest, dry forest, montane forest, and coastal mangrove.
Sumatra’s Ideal Climate
Sumatra has a rich soil type that is extremely well suited to producing fine coffee. This single island harbors almost all the possible varieties of coffee beans in the world, and when conditions are right, these beans make for one incredible cup of joe.
The difference can be traced back to two basic factors: climate and soil. While Indonesia’s ideal climate makes it one of the best places in the world to grow coffee, there are certain types of soil found in Sumatra that add a unique flavor profile to its finest coffee.
The Island's Coffee Growing Regions
Sumatra coffee is a type of Arabica that originates from the island of Sumatra, Indonesia. It’s often used as a base for speciality blends and darker roasts because it has lower acidity than other coffees. The most popular varieties are Mandheling, Gayo Mountain, Lintong Dark, Aceh Supiori and Java Black Gold which have all been grown in different regions with unique soil types.
The topography and geography of sumatra also play a role in determining what coffees come from where on this island. The way in which each regional environment shapes the flavor of its crops is something that directly impacts the way coffee tastes. For this reason, it pays to take a closer look at each region’s soil and topography.
The Aceh Region - ( The northern part of Sumatra )
Coffee in Aceh Province can be divided into two parts: west and east. Beans grown in the west are known for their acidity whereas beans from the eastern regions are well-balanced with low acidity levels . As one might expect, roots deeper in the earth's crust absorb more nutrients than those that only dig down a few feet.
Farmers who grow high altitude Arabica coffees' will often remove any remaining traces of cherry pulp after processing because it causes sourness, in order to lengthen the drying process.
The Pulau Weh Island - (Off the northwest coast of Aceh)
Pulau Weh is an island located off the northwest coast of Aceh Province, Sumatra. Arabica coffee is the dominant crop on the island. The volcanic soil and mountainous terrain are two of the main factors that contribute to the unique flavor profile of coffee from this region.
Seldom will you find a washed coffee from this area as farmers concentrate on growing red bourbon and Typica varieties, which are known for their balance and sweetness.
The Gayo Region - (Central highlands of Sumatra)
The Gayo region is located in the central highlands of Sumatra and is known for its organic coffee production. The volcanic soil, high altitude, and ample rainfall all contribute to the unique flavor profile of coffee from this region . The Gayo people have been cultivating coffee for centuries and have a deep understanding of how to grow and process the beans.
The Lintong Region - (West Sumatra)
Lintong, located in west Sumatra, is home to Mandheling coffee. The volcanic soil and high quality Arabica beans all play a role in creating this region's unique flavor profile . Local coffees are often processed with the traditional Giling Basah (wet hulling) method, as it contributes to better cup quality. Clean water from nearby Mount Marapi is used for processing.
During production, cherry pulp removal and drying times are both kept shorter than average to maintain sweetness and low acidity levels . It's important to note that many Lintongs undergo a natural process called "penebangan," where the fruit remains on the bean through fermentation and drying , giving way to flavors like chocolate, sweet berries and spice.
The Flavour Profile of Sumatra Coffee
Sumatra is an interesting place for coffee production for many reasons. The soil is very fertile, there's plenty of rainfall, and the temperatures are moderate. This combination of factors results in a unique flavor profile that is often described as bold, earthy, and complex. Some people also describe Sumatran coffees as having a cocoa-like flavor.
In addition to the unique flavor profile, Sumatra coffee is also prized for its smoothness. This makes it a popular choice for those who prefer a strong cup of coffee without any bitterness or harsh aftertastes.
So, if you're looking for a coffee that is both bold and smooth, Sumatran coffee is a great option. And, with the increasing popularity of single origin coffees, it's easier than ever to find Sumatra coffee beans for sale. So, why not give it a try?
The best way to make a good cup of coffee is by understanding the beans you are using. So, now that we’ve told you about Sumatra Coffee and what it tastes like - go ahead and brew your next amazing pot! And don’t forget to let me know how you liked it!