Sumatra Aceh - Abyssinia
Sumatra Aceh - Abyssinia
Tasting Notes: Citrus, Floral, Creamy
Region: Gayo Highlands, Aceh
Farm: Blang Glee
We believe Sumatran coffees- known for their hefty body and palate weighed down by distinctly earthy notes and minor acidity- are a largely undervalued class of coffees. While their deep, often herbaceous flavors can come through cleanly in the cup, they are more often muddy and funky, with flavors as cluttered as the dank forest floors that cover this region in the Southwest Pacific. The reason for this is two-fold: after the coffee cherries undergo the wet-hulling process, Sumatran coffees are left tinted a greenish-blue jade color which means they do not take on much color during the roasting process. For the untrained roaster, this commonly leads to over roasting the beans, resulting in the actual flavor compounds of the coffee being masked by a burnt- charcoal and potting soil taste. Even earlier than the roasting phase, Sumatran coffees have traditionally been grown without much regard for sorting and separating the different varieties and strains of fruit. Imagine a vineyard harvesting fruit from all wine grape varieties then turning the mélange into wine. While this type of random blending can occasionally lead to happy accidents, properly sorting fruit varieties ensures a cleaner and more refined flavor profile in the final product. This holds true for coffee too, and it is only recently that select Sumatran coffee farmers have been taking due diligence in sorting through ripe cherry plant varieties before the coffee begins the fermentation and drying process.
We think this extra step goes miles in the final flavor, and we are excited to debut a Sumatran coffee that is a single-variety Ethiopian heirloom strain known as Abyssinia (the former name of its birth country), from Cafe Imports. Several years ago the importer began working with local coffee collector and owner of Blang Glee farm Sabri, who was growing an assortment of coffee varieties in Aceh region, located on the island’s northwestern peninsula. After noticing the less common heirloom strain, Cafe Imports asked Sabri to do an experiment and keep the Abyssinia fruit separate during the fermentation and drying process. Following the isolated processing, and hand sorting the beans to guarantee quality, the end product is a stark deviation from the expected Sumatra. This coffee is creamy, with clean notes of citrus that are easily parsed during tasting that bring a new dimension to our perception of Sumatran coffee.