With the exception of Sulawesi and Bali, Sumatran coffees are processed in a unique way. From the point the coffee is picked and the cherry skin pulped off, the process follows the way it is done for most washed coffees produced around the world. As with these other washed coffees, fermentation is complete when the fruit surrounding the parchment has dissolved and the fruit-free parchment rinsed off. At this point, the bean within the parchment still has very high moisture content. In almost all washed coffee origins, before the parchment is hulled, it is dried, either in the sun or in machine dryers. So herein lies the difference; in most places, the bean is dried in the parchment and the parchment is milled off the beans when they are dry… not in Sumatra. In Sumatra, the bean is still very wet when the parchment is hulled.
The bean comes out of the parchment quite soft, white, and spongy. This is where the term "Wet Hulled" or "Giling Basah" comes from. These wet, soft beans are then sun-dried. Typically, the drying conditions in Sumatra include on-and-off sessions of fierce tropical sun, interrupted regularly by torrential thunder showers. This slow, inconsistent drying is what provides the essence of a Sumatra Mandheling, both in flavor and appearance.
Smallholder farmers from North Sumatra
North Sumatra, Sumatra, Indonesia
975 – 1,800 meters
Typica, Catimor, and Bourbon
July - December; flycrop Feb/Mar
Both conventional and organic farms