When someone sees Sumatra coffee their response is usually either very positive or very negative. There seems to be very few without a definite opinion on this growing region. Perhaps as we explore the facts about this coffee you will fall more in love with Sumatra or at least be more open to trying Silver Bridge Coffee’s Harimau Tiger Sumatra coffee.
Where does Sumatra coffee come from?
Sumatra is the 6th largest island in the world and one of three major islands that make up the country of Indonesia. The other two islands are Borneo and Java. Coffee production on the island of Sumatra is thought to have begun around 1884 when Dutch Colonist brought coffee from Ethiopian to the island to begin growing there. Most coffee is ground near Lake Toba which is the largest volcanic lake in the world.
Coffee thrived on the island and it quickly became one of the world’s largest coffee producers. Coffee on Sumatra was exported to Jakarta on the island of Java and exported with JAVA printed on the outside of each bag which explains why even to this day JAVA is often a synonym for coffee.
What is the history of Sumatra coffee?
The large coffee plantations were hit with disease in the late 1860’s and 1870’s and the coffee markets were decimated, and Dutch run coffee plantations were abandoned. Gradually coffee growing made a revival and today more than 90% of coffee is grown on smallholder coffee farms averaging around one hectare. Most of the coffee grown on the island is the Arabica coffee variety with has a harder bean and is less bitter. There is very little Robusta coffee produced in Sumatra.
How is It Processed?
Coffees in Sumatra are traditionally processed using a method called Giling Basah, or wet-hulling, which results in a coffee that leaves the farm with a much higher moisture content than other methods used more popularly worldwide. It’s a more crude and random way to process the cherries compared to the washing method popular in Latin America.
When the coffee cherries are picked, they are depulped right away. The depulping is often extremely crude and old-fashioned. The coffee beans, or seeds, are put in a sack to ferment overnight and then the depulping is finished in the morning and the coffee is laid out to dry in the sun. This method of processing coffee give the Sumatra coffee and earthy flavor and yields a less acidic coffee.
Choosing the right One
Silver Bridge Coffee works with our importers to get a delicious, full bodied, clean Sumatra. There are so many delicious choices today and we enjoy sampling them all but we use Sumatra in many of our blends we want a smooth mellow Sumatra coffee. We love the lingering flavor of a rich Sumatra. Many coffee drinkers expect a Sumatra coffee to be an extremely dark roast. We roast our Sumatra coffee just dark enough to bring out the rich flavor but still give you the unique flavor of this country of origin. We also use Sumatra in many of our blends to give that wonderful rich taste and smooth body.