Our natural processed coffees are the best in flavor and finish. The varietals grown in Simalungun are typically sweet with citrus notes when they are processed the traditional semi wash and wet hull method. What we found with the natural process is a more complex flavor profile that has a brighter acidity that is usually more tangy than winey and includes notes of apricot, tangerine, vanilla and a bit of spice and herbal notes. The finish is long and syrupy with the naturals and the body is lighter.
Fully washed coffee profiles from Simalungun varietals are also very different from the Semi washed / wet hulled profiles. Fully washed doesn’t happen often here because there isn’t a facility set-up in the region. What people are doing on a small scale is fully washing the parchment in several tubs and drying it to 13% to 15% for dry hulling. The coffee becomes a delicate low acidity, low body clean cup. The citrus notes are replaced by herbal notes and some floral sweetness. So far we have not found a way to maintain the long finish with the fully washed method.
Posted in Organic Farming, Simalungun, Sumatran Arabica, Women in Coffee
Tagged arabica, coffee, cupping profile, fully washed, natural process, organic coffee, Sumatra, women
Our AS1 crop is producing sample teasers of 10k of cherry every week. Full Harvest is due fall 2013. This sample was processed with semi washed dry hull method, which means the beans were dried in the parchment until the moisture content was down to about 14%, rested for a day then hulled. The blind cupping we did for this sample didn’t score well, just 81.75. We have some work to do, but have learned a lot from processing this sample with this method. So far our favorite is the Natural Process Method.
Posted in Organic Farming, Simalungun, Sumatran Arabica, Sustainability, Women in Coffee
Tagged arabica, coffee, cupping, green bean, parchment, roast, SCAA score, simalungun, Sumatra
Jeff and Emily Brooks started GIV COFFEE about 3 years ago. Their business philosophy and ethics are what motivated them to visit the region of Simalungun where Leo and I farm. They already donate part of the sale of each bag of roasted coffee to charity, an amazing and generous practice. Now they want to know that the green beans they purchase are also sourced from suppliers who are committed to the farmers and communities that grow the coffee. They found us at our presentation in Boston SCAA on smallholder farmers and decided to visit us and the mill in Simalungun owned by Volkopi, Volcafe Group.
(pictured l-r) Desmond, the Sustainability Manager for Simalungun(volkopi) , Jeff and Emily of GIV COFFEE, Kristindo, Production Manager, independent partner with Volkopi for sourcing arabica in Simalungun, Leo, Project Manager(volkopi) for Simalungun region.
Kristendo shares with Jeff what the moisture content should be for the famous Sumatran “wet Hull”
The living quarters upstairs, downstairs office and training facility.
The warehouse and drying patios with the greenhouses in background.
Thanks Jeff and Emily for your commitment to making a difference where you can.
In North Sumatran coffee markets, the growers sell their coffee in wet parchment form. The coffee is sold by weight, but measured with a 2 liter volume canister called “tumba”. It equals 1.2 kg roughly.
The coffee parchment must be sold wet, meaning the moisture content is still high sometimes even 50% and the buyer, usually a middleman, will pay the weekly market price to the grower for this wet parchment coffee.
The Long rainy season here dictates many of the processing methods, and trading practices. It may seem odd to an outsider, but the system works. As long as no one abuses it. That’s another story.
March is a very busy month in the Sumatran Highlands. Coffee is being harvested Daily by the metric ton. A trip around the growing region and the market made me even more excited about our first harvest. Now, how did she get that big bag to the market?
The Art Harvesting with a Smile
I have recently been inspired by a blogger from Australia to get back into the groove and write about my passion. Coffee. If you have ever started a blog and then stopped for whatever reason(s) you know how difficult it can be to get back into the groove. It was tempting to just ditch the old blog and start fresh, you know like the other one never happened. I couldn’t do it. Okay, so then what next? Try to pick up where I left off? Not possible, too much has happened in the last year to ever go back. So I will start again by stating our mission and goals both personal and professionl and how we have adapted them to the reality of the coffee industry. We set out with a mission to grow and source great arabicas here in Simalungun, North Sumatra and also to improve the processing practices in our region. Two very big goals, two very determined people. These goals are still a work in progress, growing coffee can involve sacrifice on multiple levels. It takes time, patience and diligence. I believe there is coffee here in North Sumatra worthy of the highest honor a grower can receive for putting in the time and doing the diligence, it’s called the Cup of Excellence.I want it, why not aim high? Check out this link to learn more about this organization and how they have worked to develop recognition and reward for coffee growers all over the world that strive for excellence.
We are into our second full year with Lisa & Leo’s Organic Coffee farm and the fruit is starting to develop on our trees. This is reason enough to be all giddy with excitement, however, there’s more to report……
Our Signature Varietal Andong Sari (AS1)
Our Farm Nov. 2012 | Back Bay
Our limited budget wouldn’t allow us to develop a local Coffee Mill large enough to serve the growers in our region who were looking for someone to partner with in order to improve their processing methods. A common goal was to keep the coffee grown in the region separated from other regions prior to export and develop traceable coffee that could be marketed as direct trade. The growers and region would finally receive the recognition for all their hard work in the field. This type of goal requires a huge commitiment of manpower and funding. Which is where PT Volkopi comes in. This forward thinking company has been working in Sumatra for more than a decade, developing partnerships with growers and suppliers in the Lintong Region. They have made a commitment to Simalungun by funding and constructing a Processing Mill in Saribu Dolok, our home village. This Mill opened in September 2012 and is being managed by a transparent group with an established network of growers and leaders, all part of the local church known here as GKPS and CUM Talenta, their Credit Union. Leo is proud to be named the project manger for the Saribu Dolok Mill by Mike Lutz, GM of PT Volkopi. They are working to make the common goal of consistent quality control and traceable coffee processing a reality in Simalungun. This mill will be key in the success of the region, making the Cup of Excellence an achievable goal.
Leo(second from right) and part of the team at the Mill in Saribu Dolok
We have much to be thankful for. All the sacrifices and hard work are bearing fruit, just like our trees. I offer my personal thanks now to that blogger from Australia, Richard Austin with Five Senses Coffee- all the best to you and your family! Many thanks to Mike Lutz with Volkopi for bringing his vision and commitment to Simalungun.
Lisa Matthews Wiriadjaja