This batch of Sumatra comes to us from the area around Kayu Aro that is known mostly for its tea plantations, but further up the hillside on the side of Mount Kerinci there are some newer coffee growing areas, not the least of which are the smallholder farms of the members of Koperasi ALKO.
Originating from 22 villages, these 17 farmers’ groups (4 of which are exclusively for women) bring their coffee to a central processing facility for export readiness. Coffee is only brought down to a lower elevation once it is ready to be shipped immediately, something that can really improve the chances of maintaining a coffee’s quality.
This is one of the cleanest and freshest-tasting Sumatran coffees we’ve had the pleasure of roasting. If you’re looking for an impressively clean Sumatran coffee, this is it.
Origin InformationGrower - 294 Smallholder farmers organized around Koperasi ALKO
Variety - S795 (Jember)
Region - Kayu Aro, Kerinci Regency, Jambi Province, Sumatra, Indonesia
Harvest - November - December 2019
Altitude - 1300 to 1600 m (4265 to 5249 ft)
Soil - Volcanic loam
Process - Wet hulling: Depulped, dry fermented 8-24 hours, briefly washed, dried to 25% moisture, hulled, and sun dried to final moisture content.
Taste ProfileSweetness - Sugarcane, Caramel
Acidity - Citric
Viscosity - Creamy, Syrupy
Cleanliness - Floral, Herbal
We roasted this batch of Sumatra Kayu to a full medium roast. Depending on the grind and brewing method, this Sumatra Kayu Crown Jewel can produce notes of Lime, melon, clear palm sugar, and a syrupy black cherry.
As with most Top-Shelf coffees, we suggest using the pour-over method to maximized the aroma and flavor of this Crown Jewel coffee using a 1:16 coffee to water ratio with the water between 200F and 205F. Once grounds are placed in the filter, pre-soak grounds by covering with water for ~30sec to allow for blooming, then finish with either a steady pour or a couple of short pours to complete the brewing process.
Brew Observations / Analysis
Brew Observation by Evan Gilman, Royal Coffee
Brewing Sumatran coffee is always an adventure. I have found that many of these coffees extract quite readily, but have a tendency to show off bitter, cholorogenic-acid forward flavors. This coffee was easy to get some tasty results from, but I wanted to try something that has worked in the past to stymie the bitter flavors of a Sumatran coffee.
My first brew was pretty standard – a 1:16 ratio of coffee to water in the Chemex, with a 20 grind on the Baratza Virtuoso. Everything went swimmingly, and my final extraction percentage was 18.46% – pretty nice, but I could have pulled a bit more from the coffee. Flavors included juniper, molasses, and chocolate fudge, with a little cherry on cooling. A very pleasant cup!
So I tried keeping everything the same while coarsening the grind a bit, to 24 on the Virtuoso. I got a nearly identical extraction (18.6%), but in a slightly shorter amount of time due to the water flowing through more quickly. The flavors here were definitely inferior, though. Molasses took the front, with some indistinct plum and cola notes on the finish. No sweet cherry notes, and a little bitterness on the finish. Wrong direction! I recommend grinding fine, and maybe even using a little dilution…
Which brings me to how I like to brew Sumatran coffees – with a little bypass. I brewed at extra high strength ( 1:9.5 ) and then diluted to 1:14.5. My first brew was only 380g of water for 40g of coffee, with 200g of bypass water added later. The result was nothing short of fantastic, and reaffirmed my love of Sumatran coffees. Lime, melon, clear palm sugar, and a syrupy black cherry (think homemade bourbon-soaked cherry) were all there. This really brought out the sweetness in the cup, and pushed those bitter notes out of the way.
Sumatra Kayu Aro AgroTropic Nusantara Wet Hulled Crown Jewel is sourced from family-owned farms organized around an export company called PT. AgroTropic Nusantara (AGTN), which has been working with coffee producers since 2013 in the Kayu Aro highlands of the Kerinci regency within the Jambi province on the island of Sumatra, Indonesia. AGTN has established an association of 680 producers who cultivating coffee on 2 acre parcels around the Kerinci valley’s edge near Mount Kerinci, the highest volcano in Indonesia and home to the Sumatran tiger, which inhabits the Kerinci Seblat (the largest national park in Sumatra and a UNESCO World Heritage site). Through coffee AGTN has focused on supporting increased employment opportunities for women, which includes a woman as the director of operations. Women are also running the coffee nursery program and handsorting at dry mill. AGTN also works closely with producers to decrease forest encroachment by using their coffee farms as a protective buffer for the Kerinci Seblat national park, which encircles the entire Kerinci valley with unparalleled natural beauty.
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