Intro by Charlie Habegger
Mount Kerinci is Indonesia’s tallest volcano, found just one degree south of the equator on Sumatra’s western edge. The volcano sits on the border between Jambi and West Sumatra Provinces and is the namesake of the surrounding Kerinci Sablat National Park, a UNESCO and ASEAN heritage site and home to Asia’s largest wild tiger population. It is also the center of an extremely productive agricultural region for tea, coffee, horticulture, as well as ecotourism…You know, all the things you do when you live on an active volcano surrounded by tigers. Gosh we just love Sumatra so much.
The coffee zones immediately around Mount Kerinci have for the past few years been gaining a reputation for being the island’s most innovative. The coffee industry here is small compared to North Sumatra or Aceh, and certainly much more recent. A handful of focused processors and cooperatives here have been looking beyond the giling basah, or wet hulling traditional to the northern highlands, and instead producing fully washed, honey, and even, as in this case, natural process coffees with huge fruit character, gentle florals, spiced cider complexity, and rose water.
UKM Camintoran is a 288-member producer group of very small family farms. Unlike previous Crown Jewel releases from Mount Kerinci’s southern communities, this group hails from the mountain’s northern, less populated highlands, from the regency of South Solok, part of Western Sumatra. Farms average only slightly larger than a hectare each and mainly grow Jember, also known as S795, a very interesting cross between an Indian typica mutation (Kent) and a liberica-arabica hybrid (S228) first created by the Indonesian Coffee and Cacao Research Institute, as well as Andungsari, a Catimor commonly grown across central Java.
Natural processing is perhaps the last thing one would think possible in Sumatra’s consistently rainy climates. But by investing in raised beds and shade coverings, Pak Irwan, the general manager of UKM Camintoran, has managed to make it happen, putting UKM Comintoran among few peers in Sumatra processing. Harvest across South Solok is spread across seven full months due to the climate, but thanks to the new generation of growers working together here, sharing knowledge and eager to experiment, coffees like this one are not only possible, but wildly successful.
Sumatra loves drinking coffee and has a booming specialty roasting scene of its own. If you have spent time in certain parts of Sumatra you have likely experienced the unique vexation of drinking wonderfully electric, gorgeous coffees—dry-hulled, perfectly hand-cleaned, even tiny experimental batches–that will never make it onto a ship. In a way Sumatra is the coffee world gone right; the best stuff is in the farmer’s kitchen, or the café their kids own in town, rarely at scale for export. Which makes us all the more proud of our Sumatra Crown Jewels and the producers behind them. They are the excellent coffees that do make it abroad, helping us all see Sumatra’s potential for what it is.
Green Analysis by Nate Lumpkin
This natural-processed coffee from Sumatra comes to us with somewhat below average density, and well below average moisture content and water activity. Its screen size is spread between sized 15 and 19, with the majority of the coffee falling into sized 16 through 18. You may find that screen size of such a large spread may roast unevenly, especially in fast roasts, so consider slowing the roast down during color change. Also, this coffee’s low density may cause it to be scorched by high heats, so a gentler approach overall may be a good idea. Its very low water activity should help the green coffee maintain its quality for a long time under good storage conditions.
Jember, also known as S795, is widely grown in Indonesia. Though it was originally developed in India, the cultivar was distributed through a research station in Jember, East Java, for which it got its name. It is bred from Kent and S228, and is known to be disease resistant. Andung Sari is a variety developed by the Indonesian Coffee and Cacao Research Institute, originally developed from a Catimor. It has a reputation for excellent disease resistance as well.
ikawa pro v3
Ikawa Analysis by Nate Lumpkin
As of September 2020 we are running all Crown Jewel Analysis roasts on an Ikawa Pro V3, using the most recent app and firmware version on “closed loop” setting.
This is the first Indonesian coffee I’ve had to chance to explore this winter, so I was excited to pop this in the Ikawa and see how it turned out. This coffee has some unusual green metrics, including a low density and low moisture content, as well as a fairly wide screen size, so I was curious to see how that would show up in the roast. As it turns out, the coffee did behave a little strangely in the Ikawa! First off, each of my test roasts had a very quiet crack, nothing like the rolling crack I’m used to. The cracks I’ve marked on my roast data are in fact all estimations—I estimate that it usually occurred a little later than I’m used to. Secondly, there was some evidence of inconsistency in the roast: some beans were quite dark, while others were roasted somewhat lighter, and there were a handful of light colored quakers or floaters as well. However, this coffee tasted really delicious when I cupped it: clean and lively, with a bright lemon-lime flavor and acidity no matter how I roasted it.
The first standard “hot and fast” profile I used produced a popping, tropical cup. It had a bright artificial cherry aroma, and a dancing acidity, with notes of passionfruit, starfruit, watermelon, lemon-lime, sour candy, and grape, with a slightly bitter cedar and dark chocolate finish. Incredibly, the fruitiness became heightened as it cooled.
The second elongated Maillard profile produced a cup with a subdued aroma and a smoother, more muted flavor profile. I tasted that same signature lemon-lime, cedar, and fudge bark but this time with a heightened astringency. To be honest, I didn’t love this roast! I imagine the longer development in Maillard cooked out some of the more exciting acids which showed up in the first roast.
Our final, longer, slower, low airflow profile had a sweet passionfruit aroma, and then an herbal, tea-like flavor profile: I tasted ginger, chamomile, and lemon tea, with a sharp grape and lemon-lime acidity, kind of like grape soda. It had a very light body as well. I would recommend this roast profile for a very delicate, tea-like cup, but out of all of these, I preferred the first profile. Its dancing, wild acidity is unique among the coffees I’ve tasted this year, and I can’t wait to taste Candice’s production roast for brew analysis.
You can download the profile to your Ikawa Pro app here:
Roast 1: Crown Standard SR 1.0
Roast 2: Crown Maillard +30 SR 1.0
Roast 3: Crown 7m SR LowAF 2
Quest M3s Analysis by Evan Gilman
Unless otherwise noted, I follow a set standard of operations for all my Quest roasts. Generally, I’ll allow the machine to warm up for 15 minutes until my environmental temperature reading is at least 250F, weigh out 150g batch size, and begin roasting when I’ve reached my desired charge temperature. Read my initial post here and my updated post here.
I love roasting Sumatran coffees specifically because each one is a little different – and this one is further from mean than most. We have received a few fruit-dried Sumatran coffees over the years, but they are few and far between. There’s always an exception to the rule in Indonesia, however!
Even the green specs here are notable. Very low water activity and moisture content means caramelization may be harder to achieve, but also that this coffee will be quite shelf-stable. A wide distribution in screen size means more heat will be needed to push the coffee through the roast cycle, but lower than average density means that this coffee will prefer even and steady heat application. Magically, this coffee is not a tight rope walk, and I had an easy time finding that happy medium; all the better, because I’m not psychic.
My goal here was to spend a good amount more time in Maillard since there wasn’t much moisture to work with. I started with a fairly common starting temperature of 389F, with the heat application set to 10A and airflow set to maximum. My 150g of coffee only dipped down to 224F, quite high for average turning point. At turning point, I reduced heat application to 7.5A and let the coffee absorb the heat in the roaster without too much extra push. The result was a good steady rate of rise, and at 2:42 / 270F I upped airflow to 3 on the dial to slow this coffee through Maillard. I kept this up until 5:30 / 350F, when I turned airflow up to full. This really slowed down the rate of rise, but the coffee did not stall; at 7:00 / 375F I turned heat application down to 5A, but the coffee started to take off again right at first crack. I cut heat application entirely at that point (FC was at 7:48 / 385.7F) and allowed the coffee to develop for 1:06 after first crack. Avoiding roasty notes at all costs, I dropped this coffee at 8:54 / 399F.
Be aware that this coffee generates a LOT of chaff! This is especially important for home roasters with small machines; you’ll need to clean your chaff basket/tray/cyclone after roasting this coffee for sure.
I know better than to expect things when trying a coffee like this. Of course it had been vetted by our trading team and Chris, so I knew it would be good – but I wasn’t expecting a certain flavor profile. Still, I was surprised by candy sweetness. Immediately, licorice pastilles (good and plenty comes to mind) and bright tart raspberry fruitiness came through. Not fake raspberry, either – more like popping a freshly ripe raspberry right from the bush. This coffee is candy-ish for sure.
As for brewing preference, I really enjoyed this as a filter drip with a significant amount of bypass. Check out this article by Sandra if you’re not familiar. It can really bring out the delicate fruit notes in a natural coffee without too much of the funkiness / acetic acid characteristics. This isn’t a boozy natural, but bypass still made this coffee a zippy and confectionary experience. Kerinci and Jambi provinces are doing some amazing things – no wonder they are famous in the Indonesian specialty coffee scene!
Probatino Analysis by Candice Madison
I love Sumatran coffees, even though roasting them can be a little bit like interacting with a slip n’ slide – fun, but a wild ride, depending on processing. But this natural coffee from South Solok in the northern highlands of Mount Kerenci roasted like a hot knife through butter. I suspect that has something to do with the meticulous sorting and processing.
Although this coffee’s moisture reading is on the low side and there is a little bit of spread in the screen size, the density is also a little below average, evening out any potential pitfalls and portends a fairly even roast. The beans are mostly aggregated around 16-18 screen sizes, so the spread shouldn’t affect the roast significantly. The screen spread may mean that the coffee requires more energy than usual to avoid any stalling issues, but the lower density means that finding the sweet spot for a steady roast should be easy to achieve.
Because of the lower density, I chose to assume that the coffee would need extra time in the Maillard phase, Stage 2, to ensure that the protein and sugar browning reactions had enough time at the right temperatures to express all they could. I dropped the 400gm batch into the drum at 360 degrees F, even with the low moisture reading, it dropped around 160 degrees F, which isn’t too far off of the average for Crown Jewel roasts on this machine. At the equilibrium, I turned the gas up from 2 to 3 – not quite the maximum, but enough of a push to encourage the roast to float on that gas setting, thorough to stage 2 before I turned it down.
It’s funny how coffee can still school you after years of roasting – the rate of change intimated that turning down wasn’t needed, and in fact, I kept the same heat application for almost 2 minutes after marking Stage 2, only turning down to 2.5 at 363 degrees F. With this heat application, I managed to rack up a whopping 55% of my roast time in Stage 2 – something I have personally never seen with a low density, low moisture coffee. I was happy but knew that I would have to manage post-crack development to mitigate any baked flavors that may have occurred. Anticipating first crack, I turned the gas down to 2 at 397 degrees F. The crack, at 401, was sparse and loud at first, which wasn’t surprising. What was quite surprising was the fact that, low density and low moisture readings aside, this coffee actually needs a push through first crack. I was only aiming for, at most 15% post-crack development, so reduced the gas significantly. I would have to challenge that with a roast or two on a larger machine. I dropped the coffee at 409, but I might find a way to manipulate the end temperature a little lower than that, also.
In the cups I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, the roast had gone to plan, but worryingly so! I was suspicious of how easy of a roast it was and had 400g of green coffee left over – just in case. Didn’t need it in the end (but I have squirreled some away for home roasting)! I just never know what to expect, but I was blown away by how delicious this coffee was. Seriously! It felt a little like cheating to get such rewards for such little toil.
The roast of this coffee was incredibly fruity and floral, more so than any Sumatran I’ve encountered this season, at least. Delicate elderflower and chamomile on the nose, tropical fruits, such as pineapple with hints of papaya and kiwi, and an almost opium-perfume like retronasal experience. There was a cloud of powdered sugar sweetness overlaying the caramel note throughout. The cups were complex, but approachable, engaging but easy to sip. A note of creamy vanilla and a gorgeous, mellow starfruit acidity complemented the light spice note at the end of the slurp. The coffee (and I!) was further blessed by a round, coating body and soft, pillowy mouth feel. Every time I finished an attribute assessment, I felt like the coffee was staring back and me and dropping a mic. It hit every spot, and then some!
Having read through Nate’s brew analysis of this roast – I’m off to dust off my Origami dripper and give his pour over recipe a try! Sounds delish!!
Brew Analysis by Nate Lumpkin
After cupping my Ikawa roasts of this coffee, I was very curious to see how it would turn out brewed on pour-over. I decided to reach for a handful of brew devices this time: the Origami dripper, the Kalita Wave, and the Fellow Stagg. For all my brews, I used a standard dose of 18g of coffee and 300g of water, set to 205 degrees Fahrenheit. The coffee was ground on an EK43S on grind setting 8. This is very similar to the brew recipe we use for our pour-overs for service here at the Crown—sometimes the grind might be a little bit coarser, but I favor a finer grind for brew analysis, to encourage a more vivid flavor profile.
The Origami is a beautiful and versatile pour-over device, and I figured it would be a good place to start. It brewed through fairly quickly, at 2:08, but showed a favorable extraction of 19.8%. The cup had an aroma of sliced citrus, and flavors of lime, pear, red fruit like cranberry/apple juice, cocoa powder, dark chocolate fudge, cedar, a coating body, and a lightly astringent quality. There was also a hint of a cooling herb on the finish, like spearmint. I thought this coffee was really delicious, but not exactly what I expected from the tropical cup I tasted on my Ikawa analysis.
My brew on the Kalita Wave produced a cup that finished a little bit later, at 2:13, and showed an extraction of 20.09%, very similar to the Origami. Its aroma was very sweet and citrus-like, with a distinct lemon-lime acidity in the cup, and flavor notes of pear, apple, raspberry, caramel, dark chocolate, butternut squash, and oolong tea. I tasted a hint of pine, and our Tasting Room Manager Elise Becker, compared it to “fresh forest floor.” This cup was easy drinking and approachable.
My brew with the Fellow Stagg finished at exactly the same time as my brew on the Origami—2:08—but as I expected with this device, pushed extraction a little higher, to 20.99%. This cup tasted quite different from my previous brews. It had an aroma of juniper berry, and a first impression of elderflower in the cup, with further notes of lime, jasmine, orange marmalade, peach candy, and grape soda, with a dancing, almost carbonated acidity, and a buttery mouthfeel. This cup was really delicious. I don’t recall tasting a natural coffee quite like this before! I recommend trying a brew style like this one that pushes extraction a little bit higher to taste everything this fascinating coffee has to offer.