Sumatra – Kerinci Alko
Located seven hours drive hours from the city of Padang in the Kayo Aro District of West Sumatra, this coffee comes from a number small coffee gardens which sit in the shadow of the beautiful Kerinci Volcano on the edge of the Kerinci National Park – home of the endangered Sumatran Tiger. The people who inhabit this region are originally from the island of Java and migrated to this area in the 1960’s as part of a Government program looking to re-locate overcrowded people to land to available to farm. Large Government tea plantations that dominate the landscape however and it is only in the past seven years or so that coffee has been grown here alongside more traditional rice and vegetables.
Since 2013, in this area, coffee farmers have come together as The Alko Cooperative which now has 400 member farmers with a total of 291 hectares of coffee spread across 17 villages. The cooperative is unique in that it received funds from the WWF for a multifaceted project to help improve infrastructure and educate farmers about working in harmony with the local environment and protecting the Kerinci National Park. The coffees are processed at main centres where they can receive greater care and attention than at the individual coffee gardens with all the cherries being floated and selected. The cooperative also has an electronic system and online database that producers can access, showing their coffee deliveries and prices paid as well a general information about sales the cooperative makes and coffee farming education. The washed coffees are floated on delivery to the mill before then being pulped and fermented in water for fermented for between 12 – 36 hours (depending on the weather). From here they are then transferred to the drying tents where they are dried for between 8 – 15 days.
Continuing the ethos of the WWF the cooperative are also incentivising local coffee farmers to collect rubbish from the area and the National Park. Every KG of rubbish collected is rewarded with a bag of fresh roasted coffee the farmers use in their homes, which in turn helps producers to learn about their product and the impact of quality improvements on taste.