Origin Information

Grower
Smallholder farmers organized around PT Indokom Citra Persada
Variety
Tim-tim, catimor
Region
Bener Meriah Regency, Aceh Province, Sumatra, Indonesia
Harvest
October – January | April - June
Altitude
1100 – 1600 masl
Soil
Volcanic loam
Process
Wet hulled and dried in the sun
Certifications

Background Details

Aceh (pronounced AH-CHEY) is the northernmost province of Sumatra. Its highland territory, surrounding Lake Tawar and the central city of Takengon, is considered to be the epicenter of one of the world’s most unique coffee terroirs. Coffee farms in this area are managed with the experience of many generations of cultivation, while also harmoniously woven into their surrounding tropical forests. The canopies are loud and fields are almost impenetrably thick with coffee plants, fruit trees, and vegetables, all of which are constantly flushing with new growth. Year-round mists and rain showers never cease, farm floors are spongy and deep with layered biomass, and almost every square meter of the region seems to exude life. Nothing is ever still. Including coffee ripening, which occurs ten months out of the year. This coffee is a regional blend of smallholder farmers from the regency of Bener Meriah, which surrounds Lake Tawar’s northern shore and is one of Aceh’s most prolific producing region. The composition of the coffee, quality, and milling and exporting all are managed by PT Indokom Citra Persada, an export group that works throughout Indonesia’s coffee origins but who has a dedicated mill and operations team in Aceh. Bener Meriah regency contains Burni Telong, an active volcano with an altitude of 2624 meters which is not only a focal point of the region for its looming presence, but also a major influence on the gifted terroir of this part of Sumatra. Since the coffee is sourced from around the base of the volcano and its area of influence, the exporters decided to name it in the volcano’s honor. Sumatra’s smallholder coffee is a complicated process. Notably, processing is typically not overseen by a single individual or team; instead, coffee moves task by task through different parties before reaching its final, fully-dried, state. Coffee farms in Aceh average 0.5-2 hectares each. Every village typically has a collector (or more) who receives fresh-picked cherry for washed processing each day. Once a batch of coffee has been depulped, fermented overnight, washed clean, and then sun-dried to the touch, each collector delivers the batch to the cooperative’s central mill. It is at the mill where the coffee is mechanically hulled of its parchment, leaving behind just the soft, high-moisture coffee bean (thus earning the term “wet-hulled”), all of which is spread out on large patios to continue drying. Each handoff is orchestrated by members of a common producer group, and the members’ coffee is traced throughout each step of the chain. Coffee producers in Aceh often self-identify as “Gayo”, after the Gayonese ethnic group which has long made Aceh their home, and which comprises a vast majority of farmers here. Regional coffee distinctions in the northern provinces of Sumatra are traditionally based on human ethnicity, rather than geography itself, which unfortunately has muddled the island’s traceability over time. “Mandheling” for example, is a broad label for a widespread cultural group in Sumatra and Malaysia and subsequently the broadest coffee trading term, which exporters may apply to almost any chosen blend of wet-hulled coffees from across the northern half of the island. These terms are malleable, and it is often difficult to pinpoint a coffee’s exact origin. So, it is helpful to work with exporters with a local supply chain, who themselves operate in the highlands and are personally invested in their community’s success.