Farm: 5 smallholder farmers
Varietal: 100% Bourbon
Processing: Fully washed & Dry hulled
Altitude: 1,490 to 1,550 metres above sea level
Owner: Mr. Ilan, Mr. Muklis, Mr. Armansyah, Mrs. Zohariah, & Mrs. Ramlah
Town / City: Batin Baru, Bandar
Gayo Bourbon - Indonesia
This 100% Bourbon Fully washed lot is a very special lot that has been produced by 5 coffee farmers who come from the small town of Batin Baru in Sumatra’s Aceh Province. Mr. Ilan, Mr. Muklis, Mr. Armansyah, Mrs. Zohariah, & Mrs. Ramlah mind their small farms with the help of family members using traditional methods of cultivation. They then deliver their cherry to Mercanta’s exporting partner in Indonesia, Indo CafCo, who have a buying centre and dry mill in Bener Meria (among others!).
There are very few coffee estates or even co-ops in Sumatra. Instead, a huge number of tiny growers – farms rarely exceed 2 hectares – usually sell small quantities of coffee at their local village market and bargain hard for the best price for their semi-washed coffee. Indo CafCo does things slightly differently, however. They work closely with various parties along the supply chain: farmers, farmer groups and collectors. Although these parties are not ‘members’ of Indo CafCo per se, each is considered a partner in the supply chain. For certain specific processes and coffees destined for the speciality market, such as Natural, Honey and Fully-washed (such as this lot), Indo CafCo purchases cherries directly from the farmers and processes the cherries at their mill, skipping all intermediaries and working directly with the farmers themselves. Not only do they buy and process cherry using stringent methods, always aiming for quality, they also help train farmers in cultivation and harvest methods. Farmers benefit greatly and tend to work with the company year to year, every year working to submit better quality cherry. These five farmers have also contributed coffee for other speciality lots of yellow honey and natural coffee.
Most of coffee farmers in the region of Aceh plant various local varieties (namely Timtim Aceh, Bourbon, P88, BP 542A and Ateng Super). These varieties have been planted in more recent times to replace S line and Catimor Jaluk varieties which were damaged by leaf rust and root disease. There are now more than 20 Arabica coffee varieties in production in Aceh – which accounts for the varied and often confusing proliferation of names/varieties. It is unusual to be able to have a 100% Bourbon lot such as this one and is a testament to the great relationship that Indo CafCo has established with these special farmers.
All lots destined for speciality processing at Indo CafCo are selectively handpicked. In general, the harvesting practice in Indonesia is that farmers pick not only red cherries but also green and yellow (unripe fruits) and deep red cherries (overripe fruits) in various proportions. This mode of picking is often seen as necessary due to distance to and from villages and farms, the risk of cherry loss due to theft and the time and energy required to selectively harvest. Indo CafCo works hard to change this practice through buying directly from the farmers, providing feedback and incentivising through services and premiums.
This coffee has been processed, as aforementioned, using the fully washed process. There are two methods of washed processes and two methods of hulling processes in Sumatran coffee. The most commonly seen is Semi-washed, wet-hulled. In the wet-hulled method, parchment coffee is hulled when their moisture content is at 40-45% and is then laid to dry in green form until it reaches 12% humidity . Wet-hulling allows faster drying and it often gives the Sumatran character too: enhanced body and lower acidity. The dry-hulled method is exactly as the one we are most accustomed to in speciality coffee, where parchment is fully dried to 12-13% and is then milled.