This coffee from the Ketiara Cooperative is one half of our analysis on Sumatran arrivals this week. Located just outside the city of Takengon in the surrounding highlands, the organization represents around 2000 members, the majority women, many of whom are survivors of regional conflict and/or earthquakes. Aside from coffee milling and processing, the cooperative offers farmers financial assistance through a credit union and uses fair trade premiums to reinvest in schools, hospitals, and farming equipment for their members.
The greater region, sometimes referred to as Gayo or Gayoland (after the local ethnic majority, the Gayonese) is well known for its coffee production. ‘Adsenia’ is a fairly new naming convention for Ketiara, and denotes that the coffee comes from a group of about 500 women farmers. All lots marked Adsenia are compiled lots of organic certified coffees that also distinguished themselves by being scored highly by Ketiara’s in-house cupping team. Generally speaking, these lots are scored highly by the Royal team as well, and this is a particularly nice lot. Ketiara Coop has been improving quality for years, and its name has become associated with reliable specialty coffee.
This coffee is triple-picked, the highest sorting grade, which means that the cherries have gone through defect removals three times before processing. Classically Sumatran, the coffee is wet hulled (known locally as “Giling Basah”). Usually some form of depulping first takes place, followed by a brief drying period to reduce moisture to anywhere between 20-45%. The coffee is then delivered to the mill, where the parchment is removed while still damp, and the coffee completes its drying as the raw green seed.
This lot in particular amazed our panel with its cleanliness and fresh fruit flavors. A ripe cornucopia of stone fruits and subtle dark berries layered on top of rich pipe tobacco and creamy chocolate notes persuaded even the most timid of tasters. This is a crowd-pleaser, a show-stopper, a Sumatra to ratify the wet-hulled process in the specialty cannon, and an Arabica-Robusta hybrid offered as proof of the cultivar’s immense quality potential. We’re thrilled to share it with the world.
The fact that Sumatran coffees often are comprised, at least in part, of Arabica-Robusta hybrid varieties is no secret. However, naming conventions for the varieties in use often seem to creatively disguise the fact. Take this Crown Jewel, for example, where the listed variety is “Timtim” and the marketed name is Adsenia. Adsenia is a corruption of Abyssinia, the name of the kingdom that occupied much of modern-day Ethiopia, where Arabica coffee originated… yet this is no Gesha story. Timtim is rather the local colloquial for the Timor Hybrid (aka Hibrido de Timor, HDT, Bor Bor, et al.), which was originally discovered on its namesake island in the 1920s. It’s a spontaneously occurring hybrid, but it has functioned as a baseline for many many cultivated varieties including Catimor and Sarchimor, just to name a few. While these cultivars tend to get a bad rap from cuppers, there are a couple of notable benefits: high yield, large screen size, and formidable disease resistance.
Here, the Timtim variety is presented as a moderately dense, 16+ screen size (with almost a third above screen 19) coffee. Its moisture numbers, while slightly elevated, are pretty reasonable considering the wet hulled processing, and should inspire confidence in the stability and longevity of the coffee’s flavors.
To illustrate the differences in these roasting styles I would like to compare them based on the three stages that we measure when we roast coffee; stage 1 is the drying stage, stage 2 is the Maillard reactions just after visible yellowing, and stage 3 is post crack development which is the total time after first crack. Roast one has an increased amount of drying time with a shorter Maillard stage and a longer post crack development time. Roast two was roasted with more energy at the beginning of the roast and a majority of the time spent at stage two during Maillard.
With the extended drying time roast one was very sweet and clean with caramel, lemon, peaches blackberry, and cocoa. A very clean and sweet coffee with descriptors similar to a nice washed mild. Roast two was heavier on the Maillard in comparison which resulted in a very complex combination of pineapple, peach, papaya, and amaro. The fruit acids really popped as well as the more herbal Sumatran character of this coffee which could be in part related to the shorter post crack development time.
We engaged with the trusty Bonavita brewer for the brew analysis of this equally trusty coffee. The Ketiara Coop (Koperasi Ketiara) has been providing solid Sumatran coffee that many roasters and cafes have become comfortable with over the past few years. Eschewing the usual deeply earthy characteristics found in Sumatran coffee, the Adsenia performs well as filter drip and displays a lime acidity and brown sugar sweetness that sets it apart from its peers.
Jen preferred PR-611 for its peachy thickness, and heftier mouthfeel. This roast clearly had a more substantial texture, and a milky smoothness. Sergio from Quality Control was the tiebreaker, as he enjoyed the deep orangey notes in this roast. I was feeling a bit contrarian and enjoyed the dry aromatics of PR-610, which had a clear cedar note and acidity that reminded me of lime zest. Maybe I’m a sore loser; to each their own! There’s plenty of dimension to this coffee, so enjoy the exploration. You’ll be sweetly rewarded.