Sumatra (Indonesian: Sumatera) is an island in western Indonesia, westernmost of the Sunda Islands.
Cultivars and Varietals
Brief History of Coffee in Indonesia
Outside of Arabia and Ethiopia, Indonesia was the first place where coffee was widely cultivated. Dutch settlers, under the auspice of the VOC (Dutch East India Company), brought coffee plants to Indonesia in the latter part of the 17th century. The first seedlings failed due to flooding, but a second shipment of seedlings arrived soon after. These ones took hold and flourished. Within 10 years, exports rose to 60 tons annually, and the VOC monopolized coffee trade for most of the 18th century.
Over the next few centuries, Dutch colonialists established coffee plantations throughout the Indonesian islands. This expansion was stricken by disaster in 1876, when the coffee rust disease swept throughout Indonesia, wiping out most of the typica varietal. Robusta coffee (C. canephor var. robusta) was introduced to East Java in 1900 as a substitute, especially at lower altitudes, where the rust was particularly devastating.
Disease, natural disasters, global warfare, and the struggle for independence have all influenced the changes prevalent in the Indonesian coffee industry today. Following independence, many plantations fell under the control of the new government. Others were simply abandoned. Today, it is believed that almost 92% of coffee production rests in the hands of small farms or cooperatives. Our Fire Roasted Coffee beans come from the North Sumatra highlands, near Lake Laut Tawar, where local farmers have been proudly growing coffee since 1924.
Growing and Processing (Sumatra, Aceh region, Gayo Mountain specific)
Sumatran coffee bean processing varies depending on the region, a direct result of the landscape and a general lack of infrastructure. Limited accessibility to water has led to new local methods, borrowed from antiquity, such as mortar and pestle systems, possibly adapted from techniques used for hulling rice. The coffee is dried for a day and then wet hulled in a similar way, resulting in a large portion of split or flat beans. Gayo Mountain coffee farmers are proud of their heritage, and their adherence to tradition is the secret behind the heavy body and low acidity of Gayo Mountain coffee.
Kline, Adam. "Navigating Origins" Roast Magazine March/April 2007: 78-79.
Wikipedia contributors. "Coffee production in Indonesia" Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia June 2012. 28 June 2012
Central Intelligence Agency. "East & Southeast Asia: Indonesia" The World Fact Book June 2012. 28 June 2012