Sumatra Ika

Friday, April 25th, 2014No Comments

sumatra ika red cherry special prep

Cherry Hill Coffee is really excited about our latest Limited Offering from the island of Sumatra in Indonesia. We couldn’t wait to get our hands on the Ika ‘Red Cherry Special Prep’ Organic coffee.

The Red Cherry Project has a wonderful story and is a showcase for the true potential of Indonesian coffee and this pilot project. This coffee comes from the family owned Jagong Mill and surrounding farms owned by Irham Junus, located in the Takengon coffee region of Indonesia. The Jagong mill was apparently built as something as an experiment by the Dutch, trying to develop better, more consistent coffees from the area. During the Achenese war, the mill was abandoned, and Irham was able to negotiate a purchase – so the Jagong mill is now owned by the Gayo Organic Coffee Association. Sumatra is a notoriously disorganized and confusing coffee origin prone to long delays and inconsistent production, however this mill and its coffee – grown in the surrounding valleys and washed at Jagong in the treasure of the Gayo mountains – is an exception.

Every farmer knows that this coffee is special, and that it is unique to these highlands. Local legend says that this was the very first place in Sumatra where coffee was planted, and I believe it. These are still the spice islands, as well, and farmers grow cinnamon and cloves on their farms, along with fruit trees like tangerine, snakefruit, and the famous spiky durian. The Jagong mill is a truly artisanal mill where farmers bring their cherry for crafting. The motto of the Jagong Mill “Jagalah Kebershian” which means “keep it clean” is a perfect descriptor for the mill – it’s a completely unique place in the Sumatran highlands – a place where coffees are fully fermented and washed before wet-hulling and drying.

Irham and the farmers have been working harder in recent years, focusing on cherry ripeness. Ripeness, of course, means sweetness, and we’ve indeed noticed the syrupy sweetness of Jagong coffee in the cup. By only using ripe red fruit, Irham and his family are pioneering something truly unique in Sumatra. As they control the whole process from tree to mill to export, they are able to avoid the long and intricate supply lines that can compromise Sumatran quality. With a clean cup and trademark full body and unique, earthy flavours, this “Red Cherry” proves to be a true potential of Sumatra and the wet-hulled process.

What does “wet-hulled” mean? During this processing method, the coffee cherry is hand-picked from the tree and held in fermentation tanks for about a day and then quickly washed and dried to 40-45% moisture. At this time, the parchment is removed, the green coffee is laid out on cement patios for several more days to dry to 20-25% moisture. After the final sorting, the beans are dried to 13% moisture before being prepared for export.

The Sumatra Red Cherry Organic has a rich, complex sweetness that is balanced with a depth of dark fruits that makes it deliciously satisfying – order online to try at home or stop by the roastery for a pour-over experience.

Read more about the ‘Red Cherry Project’, Royal Coffee has a great piece on how better production methods are leading to better quality coffee in Indonesia.

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