Farm: Various smallholder farms
Varietal: Catimor (Ateng)
Processing: Fully washed & dried on African beds
Altitude: 1,500 metres above sea level
Owner: 10 small farmers
Town / City: Bandar, Bener Meriah
Region: Aceh Province, Sumatra
Overall: Plum, dates, figs, cloves, black pepper, chocolate
Sumatra Kerinci FW - Indonesia
This Fully washed lot was produced by Mr. Lukman, who hails from the small town of Semendo, in Sumatra’s Kerinci Regency, located in Sumatra’s South. Mr. Lukman, who like many Indonesians goes by only one name, farms his small farm with the help of family members using traditional methods of cultivation. He then delivers cherry to Mercanta’s exporting partner in Indonesia, Indo CafCo, who have a buying centre and dry mill in Bandar Lampung (among others).
Arabica coffee was first planted in the Aceh region of Indonesia in 1924, but Kerinci plantings came much later, as the region was originally known for Robusta. The area is encircled by the UNESCO World Heritage site, Kerinci Seblat National Park, and is blessed with a wealth of natural and biological resources. Kerinci is often overlooked by those looking for more traditional coffee regions; however, the high altitude and fertile, volcanic soil perfectly lend themselves to Arabica coffee production.
The quality of coffee produced in Kerinci is unparalleled and is slowly giving the region a name in the Indonesian specialty coffee sector. ‘Kerinci Arabica’ coffee successfully obtained its protected Geographical Indication in 2017, and the coffee is currently much sought after. The sector still has its challenges. Roads are still dirt and are accessible only by motorbikes, making carriage difficult. Production volumes are still low and fail to meet the relatively high market demand for coffee from the region.
Kerinci has a great deal in common with more well-known regions in Sumatra. There are very few coffee estates or even co-ops in the country. 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 (or very special ‘wine’ processed lots, such as this one), 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.
Mr. Lukman, has been a coffee farmer for 19 years. He is the first generation to farm coffee in his family. He puts a great deal of attention and care into farming and harvest activities. Besides planting coffee, Mr. Lukman grows vegetables and rears animals (cows, goats and buffaloes) for additional income.
Most coffee farmers across Indonesia plant various local varieties (namely Timtim Aceh, Bourbon, P88, BP 542A and Ateng Super). Ateng is a local term for the Catimor variety. 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 across Sumatra – which accounts for the varied and often confusing proliferation of names/varieties. Catimor/Ateng is one of the most ubiquitous.
Mr. Lukman processes his own coffee to parchment stage. During the harvest season, he takes great care to selectively hand pick only the ripest cherries. These are then floated to remove any underweight or damaged cherries before being pulped in his small mechanical pulper. After pulping, the coffee is delivered to a tank to be fermented for around 24 hours. After fermentation is complete, the coffee is fully washed and delivered to raised beds to dry until a moisture level of around 12% is reached. The parchment coffee is then delivered to Indo CafCo, where it is milled and prepared for export.