Sumatra Mandheling Triple Picked Select

For those who like very, very clean Sumatras (did I say VERY, VERY clean??) our Sumatra Mandheling Triple Picked Select is a fine example of the cleanest of the clean from the northern part of Sumatra in the Aceh region between 2,500 and 5,000 feet elevation. The local farmlands are well suited for the growing of coffee (and tea) due to the wet climate, high altitude and mineral rich, volcanic soil that covers much of the Island. This Sumatra Mandheling Triple Picked Select is 100% Typica produced by a cooperative of small farmers that sell their higher quality coffee beans directly to the Aceh processing mill. We purchase from the mill with our specifications on defects and bean size. The coffee is grown Mandheling refers to the local people of Sumatra and not to a specific coffee region.

The Sumatra Mandheling Triple Picked Select is the highest grade of specialty coffee available from Sumatra: certified Grade 1, TP (Triple Picked), meaning it has been rigorously sorted by hand to remove any natural defects and ensure the best quality lots. Traditionally Grade 1 was the best possible grade of Sumatran coffee, however growth within the specialty industry and requests from specialty purveyors for even cleaner cups has resulted in the adoption of “double picked” and “triple picked” certifications to further enhance grading. At the mill, growers combine their yields and mill operators are then able to adhere to strict specifications on defects and bean size to provide the best quality Sumatran cups. Each farm averages 1.1 hectares with elevations ranging from 2,500 – 5,000 ft above sea level. The Sumatra Mandheling Triple Picked Select cup has a nice earthy aroma, a creamy, buttery body with some slight peppery notes and a lingering finish.

When it comes to flavor profile, processing is paramount, and one of the main differences between Sumatra and other origins is just that–—Sumatra (and Sulawesi) growers are the world’s exclusive practitioners of the Semi-Washed / Wet Hulled (or Giling Basah) process. A chief characteristic of the process is the moisture content of the parchment at the point of sale – Washed or Wet Process coffees (which are the most common throughout the world) are pulped, fermented, washed and dried in the parchment until moisture content is reduced to approximately 10-12%, which typically takes about 12-24 hours. Conversely Semi-Washed coffees like our Sumatra Mandheling Triple Picked Select are pulped and dried for only a handful of hours until moisture is somewhere between 25 and 50%. At this point the parchment layer is still intact along with a good portion of the mucilage, causing the beans to be gummy and sticky if not outright slimy to the touch. With regards to flavor, the extra mucilage profoundly alters the cup profile by providing more sweetness and even body. In effect this makes the semi-washed process a sort of mid way point between washed coffees and naturals.

In yet another departure from convention, the drying of semi-washed parchment occurs on natural clay or dirt patios where the beans freely absorb the characteristics and minerality of the soil, which in turn contributes greatly to the classic, earthy profile of the semi-washed. Moreover semi-washed beans appear to have a bluish hue and frequently curly shape when compared to other types of green, due to their unique processing and elevated moisture content. Sumatra and Sulawesi farmers traditionally sell their lots to local collectors who handle storage and shipment to the dry mill where the coffee is ultimately stripped of hull and parchment before being sorted and exported. In this way the farmers are able to receive payment for their crop much more quickly than if they were to use the more typical and time intensive washed/wet process.

Sumatra is the second largest island in the Republic of Indonesia and historically a major player in the world coffee trade. It was here along with Java, Sulawesi and Timor where Dutch colonial traders first introduced African arabica coffee trees in the 18th century. Since that time, those original varietals have been cross-bred and hybridized to create several, now indigenous Indonesian species like Ateng, Bergendal, Djember and TimTim.

Cupping Notes: At a lighter roast, nice, earthy aroma and “syrupy” type smell. Creamy, buttery body and “low notes” of peppery flavor. Syrupy mouthfeel, very little acid (when compared to Central American coffees). Good finish throughout as the body of the coffee really lingers in the mouth.
Producer: Cooperative of Very Small Farms In The Northern Part of Sumatra
Variety: Typica
Processing: Semi Washed (Wet-Hulled)
Altitude: 2,500 – 5,000 ft (1100 - 1200m)
Coffee Grading: Grade 1, Double Pick, Triple Pick
Harvest: May - October