I think this is the first honey process coffee from Sumatra we’ve carried. The typical wet hulled process method (giling basah) is a bit of a rough road for coffee. It involves bagging up wet parchment at the farms to be transported to mills, peeling the parchment off the still wet seed, and then drying the rest of the way on patios. The flavor that comes with this processing method would be considered defective in most other coffee growing countries, but is what’s put Sumatran coffee on the map to begin with. And let’s face it, when done well, the coffee’s are unlike any other. This is a honey processed lot, so different than the typical giling basah method and starts with the coffee cherry being run through a mechanical demucilager leaving the mucilage (honey) intact. The coffee is then moved immediately to drying patios and beds where it will remain until dried all the way down to 11-12% moisture level. That first part is likey responsible for the fruited impression found in the cup, unique for Sumatran coffee. This coffee comes from Gunung Tujuh and Kayu Aro areas, two higher elevation areas around Mount Kerinci. There’s a cooperative that serves this growing area, and who produce wet hulled, honey/wet hulled (a hybrid process coming later), and fully washed coffees. The farms in this area are planted in older Typica types, and benefit from the high slopes, situated between 1400 – 1500 meters above sea level.
This honey process lot impresses flavors of fruit pulp in the cup, with syrupy sweetness and subtle earth tones. The aroma has a fruited tobacco smell, like pipe tobacco and natural dried apricot. It’s definitely earth-toned, and has herbal accents too that add to the complex aroma. Fruited flavors in the cup at City and City+ are up front and allude to dried fruit and cherry pulp, prune and date, quickly moving into rustic, earthy background accents. The cool cup gives of herbal impressions of Thai basil, as well as a sweet bell pepper note in the finish. There’s a lot going on here, and sticking to the lighter side of the roast spectrum will shine a light on this coffee’s fruited and herbal side. Full City should boost a bittersweet undertone quite a bit, and retains a juiciness too, though fruited flavors are much less discernible.