Farm: Wahana Estate
Varietal: 100% Toraja
Processing: Fully washed & sun dried
Altitude: 850 to 1,500 metres
Owner: Numerous small growers in Aceh Province
Town / City: Takengon
Region: Aceh Province, Sumatra, Indonesia
Overall: Vanilla, caramel, blood orange, viscous mouthfeel.
Wahana Toraja - Indonesia
About the Toraja Varietal:
The Toraja variety originally hails from the Toraja region of Sulawesi. The variety was first brought to the region by Dutch settlers. It is believed to be a hybrid of Typica and Liberica, making it similar to the S795 (Jember) - a hybrid that was introduced to Indonesia by the Jember Coffee Research Centre (East Java) in the 1950s.
The Toraja seeds that Wahana Estate have planted have already been adapted through natural selection to the Indonesian climate, resulting in good yields and an exceptional cup profile, making it on par or better than the best Sulawesi coffees.
About Wahana Estate:
Wahana Estate, which was established by our milling partner in 2005, is the only large, private coffee estate of its kind on the island. It is situated between 1,300 to 1,500 metres in the village of Lae Mungkur, in the Sidikalang district of North Sumatra – an area famous for its coffee due to its ideal climatic conditions, including the highest levels of rainfall in the Lake Toba region.
Wahana Graha Makmur means “Vessels for Great Success”. Accordingly, the Estate’s mission is more than just to produce high quality coffee themselves. They are also committed to improving coffee quality for farmers throughout the region. As an experimental farm, one of their aims is to find varietals that are well-suited to the region’s climate. The estate has established a farmers’ support center which distributes coffee seeds - free of charge - and offers information and advice on farm management, distribution of shade trees, and use of organic fertilizer. Wahana also processes hand-picked, ripe cherries for small growers in the surrounding region.
The estate has planted around 250 hectares with 13 different local and international varietals. These are carefully separated into different lots in order to produce distinct single varietal coffees, including some interesting local Indonesian hybrids - Rasuna, Long Berry, Andong Sari, Toraja, S795 (Jember), Jantung – and more widely known international varietals - Caturra, Catuai, Villa Sachi and Colombia Típica varieties. Each hectare under coffee can support around 2,000 trees - these are evenly spaced at 2m x 2.5m and are shade grown under local Lamtoro trees.
Wahana is still a relatively new operation and continues to develop year by year. The estate covers nearly 500 hectares in total and its owners plan to extend considerably the area under coffee over the next few years. A large part of Wahana Estate is protected and this conservation area includes many native plant and tree varieties along its rivers and valleys. A further 30 hectares of the estate is used as a coffee nursery to raise the wide range of single varietals grown by the estate. New seedlings are cultivated in sandy seed beds for 3 months and then moved into polybags for 7 to 8 months. After this, the young coffee plants are planted out in a prepared plot and carefully labeled to identify the varietal.
Unusually for Indonesia, much of Wahana’s coffee is fully-washed – using the estate’s new wet milling facility. This was installed in 2009 and can process an impressive 25 metric tonnes of red cherries per hour. The cherries are picked only when fully ripe and are then sorted and graded by hand when they reach the dry mill, before being pulped. The coffee is then fully fermented until the mucilage becomes removable, is fully washed and is then dried on the mill’s extensive patios to 11% humidity.
The estate is an important local employer - with between 800 and 1,000 workers, whose families have the use of an on-site health clinic. Workers are provided with free housing, electricity, drinking water, healthcare (including free medicine), and kindergarten and nursery for young children. The estate has also built a church and small mosque inside the farm’s grounds. In support of the estate’s social efforts, Mercanta has recently sponsored the purchase of computers for schools in the surrounding area, which are attended by many of the workers’ children.