Sumatra – Gagarang Village Organic
Coffee was first brought to Sumatra by the Dutch in the late 1600s and has since played an important role in trade between Europe and Indonesia. The province of Aech has seen much civil unrest over the years and the most recent guerrilla activity, organised under the Free Aech Movement, caused many coffee farmers to abandon their farms. This did stifle trade, but the 2004 Boxing Day earthquake and tsunami, despite the devastation, did provide a silver lining as it focused international attention on Banda Aech. Subsequent aid spotlighted the region and served to bring a relative peace. Now farms are being revitalised with new plantings and pruning, bringing hope to the many small scale farmers.
Our sumatran coffee is grown by a cooperative of 46 farmers from Gegarang Village, located in the hills on the north bank of Lake Tawar close to Takengon, Aech, Northern Sumatra. The village was established in the 1980s as a result of a transmigration programme within Indonesia when Javanese people were offered land in Sumatra to ease overcrowding on the island of Java. The villagers brought their coffee expertise and now grow organic coffee alongside beans and potatoes on plots of around one hecatre.
The coffee varietals grown are mainly bourbon and are processed using the unique Sumatran semi-washed process which is sometimes known as ‘wet-hulled’. The ripe coffee is picked, machine hulled on the farm and partly sun dried. Then the parchment is removed to reveal a white-ish coloured bean. This swollen bean is finally patio dried in the sun where it quickly turns the dark green colour unique to Sumatra. It is this process which increases the coffee’s body and imparts the character which makes Sumatran coffees so unique and recognisable. The result from Gegarang Village is an Organic, Fairtrade and now Rainforest Alliance and Utz certified bean with a deep rich body, a tangerine sweetness, complex layered fruit notes and a heavy earthy chocolate finish.