This is Asalan

This is Asalan

Not Aslan, Asalan. It is the final stage of green coffee, ready to export. Volkopi dries coffee right before bagging it to ship out. Another odd practice... but that is Sumatra for you.

Final Hand-picking, Volkopi, Medan

Final Hand-picking, Volkopi, Medan

The coffee is run through the gravity table and screener again in Medan, and then hand-picked a final time. But Medan is so hot and humid, it's a wonder the coffee doesn't absorb more moisture here, and can actually be dried at all in this climate. To do this, you need heat, and such temperatures applied to green coffee in the final stage, out of parchment... that's not good either. Medan, Sumatra

Volkopi, Medan

Volkopi, Medan

We spent time at the Volkopi mill in Medan which has produced some great coffee in the past. Machinery is a bit tired and is getting replaced this winter. Medan, Sumatra

Nursery at Volkopi

Nursery at Volkopi

In the early morning light, the nursery adjoining the Volkopi house. Lake Toba area, North Sumatra

Bent nail pulper drum

Bent nail pulper drum

Never seen this before either, a pulper drum made from a series of bent metal nails or wires. it's very primitive, but it seemed effective . Lake Toba area, North Sumatra

Fermenting coffee in a bag overnight

Fermenting coffee in a bag overnight

Coffee is dry-fermented overnight, then rinsed, and dried a few hours. Then it is considered ready to sell to the collector at market or directly. Lake Toba area, North Sumatra

Ibu Manurund pulping coffee

Ibu Manurund pulping coffee

We stopped to visit a woman who had picked that day and was pulping in the typical hand machine. Lake Toba area, North Sumatra

Rain stopped, spread out the coffee

Rain stopped, spread out the coffee

Gabah coffee at Pa Joner's mill . Lake Toba area, North Sumatra

Good parchment

Good parchment

Good parchment at Opung BR bought direct from farm, fermented and washed . This kind of Gabah coffee is being fermented overnight and then truly washed, agitated. Other Gabah with brown-red color was being left in cherry overnight, or longer!, then simply pulped, dried a bit and sold to the collector. But good and bad parchment often get mixed, which makes it all bad parchment, essentially. Lake Toba area, North Sumatra

Volkopi covered drying patios

Volkopi covered drying patios

The marvelous covered drying patios at the Volkopi mill in Lintong. Other collectors are now copying this design, since the sporadic rains can damage coffee layed out to dry on the patios that are uncovered. Sumatra harvest, unlike most other places, occurs in the wet season, which makes drying the coffee that much more difficult . Lake Toba area, North Sumatra

Gajah Mountain coffee

Gajah Mountain coffee

Next day, sorting coffee at Gajah Mountain facility in Takengon. This static sorting (not on a conveyor belt) is usually better, and it seems easier on the eyes for the workers. Aceh, Sumatra

Drying on Tarps

Drying on Tarps

This was very nice parchment, clean and well-washed.Coffee harvested the day before is pulped that night, fermented without water overnight, washed in the morning, and dried for just a few hours. At that point, Sumatra diverges from most coffee origins. In Guatemala the small farmer would continue to dry the coffee for many days, down to 11% moisture or so. In Sumatra, they take the coffee to market immediately to sell it, 50% moisture, or a local collector comes by and picks it up. Aceh, Sumatra

Zaini

Zaini

Zaini is the figurative leader of a small group of farmers in the Atu Lintang area, a private coop essentially. They are neighbors who market their coffee as one. There is nice altitude, 1500 meters. The varietals are mostly TimTim with some other Catimor types that are not ideal. No Typica spotter here. Aceh, Sumatra

Jul 2000: Sumatra 5 : Jamaica 0; New Coffee Updates

Date: 
Sat, 2000-07-01

Sumatra 5 : Jamaica 0

Mar - Apr 2003: Home Roasting and Freshness; It's Sumatra Time!; It's Nice to Be Near the Port…; …and It's Nice to Be Near the Brokers…

Date: 
Sat, 2003-03-01

It's Sumatra Time!

Coffee is a crop. It may seem odd to think of coffee this way since it is also a dried seed from a small fruiting tree. And we don't think about the crop cycle of other dried seeds on our kitchen shelves. But there is a particular window of time when a new crop of coffee arrives at the Oakland port (a mere 5 minutes from our shop) and all the good coffee buyers are on the hunt for the best lot.

Jan - Feb 2001: The "Other" East African Coffees; Questionable Politics & Quality Coffee

Date: 
Mon, 2001-01-01
jan01bean.

The "Other" East African Coffees
It's almost a crime: some of the most balanced, complex coffees in the world are overshadowed by the powerhouse of East Africa … Kenya. Great Kenya coffees are showstoppers … they stun the palate with volatile aromas and fruity acidity, the flavors complex, the aftertaste is long and intense.

Dec 2000: Here Comes The New Crop; In Defense of Cupping

Date: 
Fri, 2000-12-01
kettle

It’s true that coffee produced around the world arrives in the United States continuously, but there are certain moments in the crop cycle when the best coffees become available. This varies based on origin, but by coincidence many favorites arrive in the first few months of the new year.

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