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Intro by Evan Gilman
The area surrounding Mount Kerinci, and the small town of Kersik Tuo in particular, is known as a local jumping off point for ecotours for both domestic and international tourists in Indonesia. It wasn’t until relatively recently that this area has become well known for coffee production. Home to one of Southeast Asia’s largest populations of wild tigers and general feline biodiversity, the adjoining Kerinci Sablat National Park is the area’s largest draw.
These cats know how to grow coffee, too. The 140 members of the ALKO and Barokah cooperatives come together from the villages of Pelompek, Jernih Jaya, and Gunung Tujuh to learn about coffee production on a regular basis. Their coffee shrubs are intercropped with vegetables generally sold at the local market, a practice which enables the farmers to maintain a steady income throughout the year. CV Yudi Putra provides marketing and logistics for these cooperatives, and has brought us three amazing lots from them this year – this fully washed, a honey process, and an immaculate natural coffee dried on raised beds.
Fully washed coffee isn’t the most common in Sumatra, and is usually simply called ‘dry hulled’ in contrast to the usual process used here, wet hulling. This requires a different set of machinery, and the relative expense may be part of why washed process isn’t as common here, alongside the usual reasons – namely that the supply chain is built around transferring the raw goods (and the associated risk) along to the next link as swiftly as possible. The results are atypical for the origin, and delicious.
We’ve had many requests for a fully washed, clean, and tasty Sumatran coffee. As perhaps our most vocal proponent of Indonesian coffee, I’m here to say your wait is over! Take a look below for a deeper exploration of how we handled this coffee.
Green Analysis by Elise Becker
This tasty Sumatran coffee covers a fairly wide spread in screen size, with screen 16, 17, 18, and 19 each taking about 20% of the total. Although the screen size is disparate, this coffee has otherwise very solid numbers. It has an average density, a slightly below to average moisture content, and a below average water activity. Consider slowing the roast during color change to account for the uneven screen size. Check out Evan and Candice’s notes on the best heat application.
The particular cultivars here are Andung Sari, a Catimor selection, and Sigararutang, a high-yielding dwarf variety first selected in 1980 from a lineage that included the Timor hybrid Tim Tim and a natural cross with Bourbon. The trees produce large volumes of ripe cherry even in their first year, and by 1988 had been planted by most farmers in the Gayo Highlands of Aceh Tengah/Central Aceh. The Ministry of Agriculture endorsed Sigararutang in 2005, and it has since been planted in Java, Bali, Kalimantan, Sulawesi, and Sumatra.
Ikawa Analysis by Chris Kornman
We’ve updated our V2 Ikawa Pro machines with the latest Firmware version (24) and run on “closed loop” setting. Our roasters underwent full service in October of 2018 which included replacement heating elements and an updated PT 1000 temperature sensor, and were recalibrated in September 2019.
This is a very good coffee, and likely of the three Kerinci Sumatras we’ve released this season, the easiest to roast. Like its companion lots, it did take a little longer than expected to hit first crack. However, generally speaking, the results of both sample roasts were largely positive and showed relatively little influence of roasting style, allowing the coffee’s character to shine through on the cupping table.
The standard profile offered up a lot aromatically, and presented a zesty cup, if a little imbalanced. Lemongrass, black tea, and persimmon notes in the cup indicate a lively acidity with a hint of herbal undertone and a slight dryness to the finish, while marshmallow and caramel sweetness accompany a moderate viscosity.
The extended Maillard roast managed nearly a full minute of development after first crack, and while the aromatics were less interesting, the cup was far more balanced. Salted caramel and a smooth chocolatey anchor set up lime, kiwi, and honeydew melon flavors to shine through. The finish was clean, the acidity balanced, and the cup quite enjoyable all around.
You can download the profile to your Ikawa Pro app here:
Quest M3s Analysis by Candice Madison
The second of our ‘three-in-a-row’ Sumatra releases. All Sumatra, all different. However, as with our raised-bed natural from Kersik Tuo Koperasi, it presented a couple of the same challenges in the Quest M3, which, as mentioned, I’m using at home – luxury!
Challenges for the roaster can come in myriad forms. This coffee has low moisture, low water activity, with decent density metrics. However, the spread of screen size, especially in a smaller roaster, can be challenging to roast evenly.
As the Quest M3 is still new to me, I followed Evan’s original profile, but then went a little off book! I charged the machine at around 390 degrees F at 5 amps and 0 on the fan dial. This is a washed, fairly dense coffee and on such a small machine, soaking the beans at a lower heat application than this until the turning point didn’t seem wise.
At the turn, I raised the amperage to 9 on the dial and turned the airflow to maximum (9). Wanting the roast to spend the most amount of time in the Maillard stage, I lowered the heat to 6.5 amps and the fan to 5 on the dial.
I recorded the Maillard stage at 291 degrees F, at which point, I turned the heating element down to 6.5 amps and the fan speed to 5 on the dial (50%). So far so good. And then (cue suspense movie music),at around 7 minutes, the roast began to stall. The softer, natural beans I had been practicing with were less endothermic throughout the roast and gave me a false sense of security. I immediately turned the fan to 0, and the roast began to recover without further ado.
The coffee cracked at around 390 degrees F, at which point I turned the amps to 2 and the fan speed to 9. The sparse, but loud, crack wanted to keep going, after the initial pops, for quite a while, in fact. However, I managed to eek out 12% development before dropping the roast at 400 degrees F. The cups were full of creamy milk chocolate, and vanilla offset by a soft lime note and a starfruit like acidity – a mellow chocolatey riff on a key lime pie and I was here for all of it! What a delicious and unexpected cup. I would take an Alex Taylor Flash Brew™ of this particular coffee, any time of the day.
Behmor Analysis by Evan Gilman
Unless otherwise noted, I follow a set standard of operations for all my Behmor roasts. Generally, I’ll use the 1lb setting, manual mode (P5), full power, and high drum speed until crack. Read my original post and stats here.
I for one am used to Sumatran coffees coming in with a very specific set of green metrics: high moisture content, high water activity, low density, and with a very large spread of screen sizes. While the screen sizes represented in this coffee are fairly disparate, I was pleased to find that moisture content and water activity were on the low end, and that density was a bit higher than the average Sumatran coffee.
Due to the cultivars grown in this area, there are quite a few ‘longberry’ type beans, which means that some will get stuck in the Behmor’s barrel perforations. Make sure to check between roasts for stuck beans! I even went so far as to clean the inside of the roaster with some denatured alcohol after my roasts of these Kerinci coffees, though I had done so not that long ago. Keep it clean!
For this coffee, I followed my usual path of starting with 100% power (P5) and manually roasting. I engaged 75% power (P4) sooner than I did with the natural lot at 9:00 and lost a little more momentum than anticipated. I engaged P5 again at 10:35, and first crack commenced shortly after at 11:10. Opening the door to abate smoke at 11:25 for 20s helped abate some smoke, and I stopped the roast by hitting ‘COOL’ at 12:20. My roast loss percentage hit 14.2% with this coffee.
I got a some pretty interesting sugars from this roast. Root beer candy, date, brown sugar, and maybe a bit of black grape came through. There’s a fruit I’ve only had in Mexico and the Philippines called mamey that I’d love to share with anyone who hasn’t tried. Brown sugar is the best comparison, but there’s just… more there! This coffee is quite delicious, but I’d definitely like to try it at a lighter roast level than I was able to accomplish with the Behmor.
As Chris states, the crack came late and soft. Be prepared to pull this coffee while it is still cracking if you’d like to get some of those light and bright notes!
Brew Analysis by Evan Gilman
This week, I decided to rely on the Chemex and Aeropress for my home brewing practice. One of my favorite moments of traveling to Sumatra was the daily Aeropress routine I developed while staying with Lisa and Leo’s Organic Coffee outside Seribudolok, so there’s a certain nostalgia here for me even though these coffees are from 800km south in Jambi Province. That’s a 20 hour drive, by the way.
For Chemex, I generally perform 3 pours of about 200g water in an outwardly-spiraling pattern. This results in a final brew time of about 4 minutes, and a flat bed of grounds, without much sticking to the sides of the filter. Anyhow, I decided to start strong at a 1:15 ratio. That turned out to be a very strong cup of coffee indeed! My roast loss percentage on these coffees hovered around 14%, so I surmise that the ratio of soluble material by weight might have been a bit higher. To that effect, I tried a 1:17 ratio on all of them as well. And I’m glad I did.
The Chemex at 1:17 was pretty showy. Lime, green apple, aromatic vanilla, and sticky tootsie roll sweetness caught my attention. There’s even a bit of pineapple tartness in this cup. I would definitely recommend this coffee on true filter drip at this ratio.
That Aeropress, though. A lot of folks pooh-pooh this method, but it came out super delicious – and nostalgic too. Using water at the minimum temperature acceptable for an SCA brew (195F), but still not low enough for the creator of the Aeropress (185F), I made an inverted-method brew at a 1:18 ratio. After my initial bloom, I stirred the slurry, added the remaining water, then inverted the brewer over my cup and performed a 1:15” press-through.
The result here was honestly not quite as delicious as my 1:17 ratio Chemex. But I did get some very different tasting notes from this method, most likely due to the finer grind and the suspended coffee particles. Molasses sweetness, ginger cookie, lemon, and black cardamom came through clear enough to remind me of my time eating day-old ginger cookies as a Blue Bottle barista. Now that’s nostalgia!
You’ll have a hard time finding another washed Sumatra, and an even harder time finding one as delicious as this.