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 – a fully washed, a honey process, and this immaculate natural coffee dried on raised beds.
Dried under a canopy (since rainfall is frequent and unpredictable in this area of Sumatra), this coffee is a true rarity for Indonesia in general and Sumatra in particular. While coffee can certainly take longer to dry in these humid climes, this natural coffee exhibits the big clean fruit and intriguing floral notes of a coffee properly dried in the fruit.
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 cultivar we have here is Andung Sari, a Catimor selection. It has good productivity and a strong resistance to Coffee Leaf Rust, courtesy of its Timor ancestry. This coffee is intercropped with vegetables at the farm, and such intercropping complements the farmer’s income throughout the year.
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.
Unusual coffee, unusual times. This dry hulled and dry-processed Sumatran offering is atypical in a number of ways, roasting included. In fact, this coffee and its honey and fully washed companion lots each seemed to need some special attention and—at least on my pre-programmed Ikawa sample roasts—tended to hit first crack later than average and were pretty sensitive to heat application during color change.
Sample roast one (blue) on the Ikawa didn’t get enough sugar browning, and brought out a lot of characteristic underdeveloped flavors: peanuts, savory notes, some underripe strawberries. The sweetness was definitely there, but it was still waiting to emerge a bit. I wouldn’t necessarily recommend roasting it this way, but I’ve left the roast on the chart for the sake of comparison.
Fortunately, the second roast (red), my Maillard +30seconds iteration, was just the touch the coffee needed to reveal some delectable and dense chocolate cake notes and nudge the fruit notes into ripe blueberry, plum, and mango. It seems the coffee may have a narrower-than-average window for roast development, so keeping an eye on your benchmarks and on Evan & Candice’s notes will help steer you in the right direction.
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
Quest M3s Analysis by Candice Madison
Oh my goodness, well hasn’t this week been quite the learning curve, or should I say, re-learning curve?! I haven’t been on a Quest M3 since my first job setting up a roastery. Since capital was at minimum, we thought we’d get away with sample roasting on a Quest M3. It did the job very well, and in fact, that roastery didn’t swap over to a barrel sample roaster until 2018!
I love the Quest M3 for all the fiddly reasons that a newer roaster may not, it very much mimics a production machine, not just in its build, but by the fact that you can manipulate many of the variables manually. You can also hook it up to data software (in this case, we’re using Artisan) in order to review your roast curves, and make discrete changes to your profile. If you’re using this as a sample roaster, that is key, and if you’re using the Quest as a home roaster, you’re in heaven! The control you have over this machine can be a blessing or an even bigger blessing, depending on your point of view!
This week, I started with an advanced, break-neck speed, reintroduction to working on the Quest, after the Shelter In Place order made it impossible to roast on-site at The Crown and the coffee in question was this distinctly delicious, but a little finicky Kersik Tuo natural.
Historically, I have found coffees from Indonesia to be a little difficult to tame at first. This is due to the fact that the most traditional of the processing methods, giling basah, is prone to uneven drying of the coffee after harvest. The process leaves the coffees naturally higher in moisture and water activity. They can be low density and have a wide-ranging screen size. This coffee was actually the reverse, giving lower, more stable water readings and a high(er) density.
Naturals, too, can be a little difficult to tame, the moisture distribution being less uniform, and the beans seeming more ready to accept heat transfer. It took me a couple of roasts to crack this coffee. That was not intended to be a pun, but as I stalled out once, I’ll let it be.
Starting with a 150g charge, I dropped the coffee in at 390 degrees F. I had warmed up the roaster, for about 10 minutes, more than enough time for it to hold its heat.
I started with 5 amps and 9 (maximum) fan. At the turning point I turned the heating element up to 9.5 amps and the fan to 0. Knowing the amount of heat that this little beast holds, i wanted to make sure that the coffee had enough to get up the stage 1 ‘hill’ without maxing things out (11 amps is the maximum voltage you can turn the machine up to). The coffee took on heat well (as a natural, we see this a lot), and I made steps down off of the gas at the Maillard stage – 297 degrees F (to 6.5 amps) and 300 degrees F (5 amps).
At around 5.30mins, I became concerned at the RoC’s steepening decline, so I decided to go back up to 7 amps at 380 degrees F. I don’t agree with dancing around with the heat application. You may be able to get away with it with larger batches or more forgiving coffees (this coffee was exceedingly forgiving), but you can get yourself into a lot of trouble otherwise.
In any case, the coffee recovered nicely, and, because I knew first crack was coming, I swiftly turned the amps down to 2 and the fan all the way up. The coffee cracked at 397, and the crack was soft and sparse. The coffee gave back all the heat that it took on over the course of the roast, and I finished at 413 degrees F – later than my plan of 404 degrees F, much later!
Although I ended later that I wished (and knowing that our probes could definitely use some TLC), I still managed to produce a delicious cup – remember what I said about the coffee being forgiving! I cupped the coffee and was rewarded with warm clove, baking spices, cacao, wrapped around freeze-dried strawberries. The coffee is creamy and sweet with a silky, syrupy body. A reward, after all that dancing, for this now-home roaster!
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! This coffee is also quite chaffy, so make sure to clean the roaster thoroughly after each roast. 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 roast, I started out with my standard specs: full heat application, manual roasting, and high drum speed. I wanted to draw out Maillard for this coffee a bit, especially since there was a bit less moisture and water activity than anticipated. To that effect, I lowered heat application to P4 (75%) at 9:40. This may have been a bit too soon, as I noted just as Chris did that this coffee seemed to want to crack late and soft. I gave just a little push back to P5 at 10:50 and first crack commenced at 11:10. To abate smoke, I opened the door of the roaster for 20 seconds at 11:25, and finished the roast by hitting ‘COOL’ at 12:10. My resulting roast loss was fairly high at 14.4%, so I would suggest not waiting too long for crack if you want to pull some of the brighter fruity notes from this coffee. I was satisfied with the heavy cooked fruit notes I got, but err on the side of caution if you want a light and bright roast!
I personally don’t think I’d do anything different with this coffee. The dark berry notes really gave me a hit of nostalgia, and I would love to see this pulled as a wild espresso, or even made as a siphon! If you’re adventurous, or even a stalwart fan of old-school naturals, you’re going to love this coffee.
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.
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.
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.
My first brew, while incredibly heavy, did remind me favorably of my early days in the coffee industry. Like a super heavy brothy berry soup, the Chemex at a 1:15 ratio took me back to cafes with comfy leather sofas, first-generation vegan donuts, and My Bloody Valentine playing as loudly as possible over the PA, which was usually used for open mic nights. Maybe that’s TMI, but I got hit with some nostalgia.
The brew at 1:17 was a bit more tamed, especially on cooling. Clear and present blackberry, dark chocolate, and brown sugar were here in spades. And what a clean aftertaste, even at a relatively dark roast level! Definitely a more accessible cup for those who identify more with steel barstools, koign-amanns, and Animal Collective at a reasonable volume.
The Aeropress, though. A lot of folks pooh-pooh this method, but it came out the most delicious of the three. 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.
Melon, jasmine, dark chocolate, and a burnt marshmallow aftertaste (thanks to my somewhat heavy-handed roast) left me wanting to finish the whole cup in one big gulp. As it cooled, a really distinct grape soda note came out.. Though to be honest I haven’t had grape soda in years, this was my prototypical grape soda flavor. Couldn’t recommend this coffee enough for any preparation method, honestly!!