Nestled in the Indian Ocean between Southeast Asia and Australia is one of the world’s most prolific coffee producers: Indonesia. At the western end of the archipelago sits the largest of the 17,000 islands that make it up. Sumatra is studded with over 30 active volcanoes and the Bukit Barisan Mountain Range runs right through the island. Its slopes are covered with tropical rainforest that experience little to no weather variation during its wet and dry seasons.
Once teeming with a diverse array of plant and animal wildlife, Sumatra’s communities of fauna and flora are now facing a crisis: much of the rainforest has been lost to deforestation, species across the island are threatened with extinction, and air pollution creates hazardous conditions for both the human and animal populations of the island.
Many groups are trying to combat these dangerous conditions, and the Arisarina Cooperative that produced this Sumatran coffee offering, plays an important role. Their mission is to continually improve the quality of coffee coming from the Gayo Highlands in the Aceh Region, while also continually pursuing improved standards of conservation. Their strongest enforced principle is the cultivation of shade trees at each coffee plantation—helping to assuage the constant increase in deforestation. The beautiful coffees from this region depend on these efforts; they preserve the region’s ability to cultivate the coffee plant.
This fair-trade, organic coffee was sourced from the town of Takengon, in the Aceh region. Grown between 1400 and 1700 meters above sea level, and consisting of plant varieties known as Catimor, Typica, and Tim Tim, this coffee has notes of chocolate, caramel, and mulling spices. It was processed using an Indonesian processing method where the parchment-incased coffee is hulled or milled before it dries. Appropriately dubbed “wet-hulled”, this method of removing the coffee cherry starts at the time of harvest, when the farmer will remove the fruit pulp and send their high moisture beans to a collection point. The coffee is then hulled, where they remove this outer shell and any remnants of fruit, and finally allow it to dry until it reaches a moisture content acceptable for export.
FTO Sumatra Takengon has all the components of a classic Indonesian coffee, with an added layer of complexity drawn out by a careful and intentional process. Check out our coffee brewing methods guide to learn our favorite ways to brew it.
Japanese interest in Sumatran coffees led to the introduction of the Wet-Hulled process, a unique style of handling and drying that is largely responsible for Sumatran coffees’ unmistakable flavor characteristics.