Our Origins > Sumatra

Over the years, coffee from the largest island in the Indonesian archipelago is known as ‘Mandheling’ or ‘Lintong’. Not many can tell of their origin even though the characteristics of Sumatra coffee itself are quite rich and complex. Many buyers are already familiar with the character of earthy Sumatra coffee, herbs, and various interesting aromas.

Coffees from Sumatra are known for smooth, sweet body that is balanced and intense. Depending on the region, or blend of regions, the flavours of the land and processing can be very pronounced. Notes of cocoa, tobacco, smoke, earth and cedar wood can show well in the cup. Occasionally, Sumatran coffees can show greater acidity, which balances the body. This acidity takes on tropical fruit notes and sometimes an impression of grapefruit or lime.

Our Sumatra coffee collections come from the Gayo Highlands in Aceh Province and the Province of North Sumatra, near the regions of Lake Toba.

Here is one of our favourite collections from the Ratawali valley in Central Aceh.

Aceh Gayo

  • Farm: Ratawali, Loko Sabun, Kute Panang, Central Aceh
  • Region: Aceh Province, Sumatra
  • Varietal: Bourbon & Ateng Super
  • Processing: Various (washed, natural, wine process)
  • Altitude: 1,200 – 1,500 metres above sea level
  • Cupping Notes: Sweet berries, chocolate, floral, brown sugar caramel, hint of citrus and grape notes

The founder’s forefathers started cultivating coffee in the early 1920’s in Takengon, then a scattered area of small settlements, now the main City in The Gayo Highland. The following generations developed a new farmland in Ratawali Valley, literally by hand – painstakingly converting rainforest terrain into a sustainable and organic cultivation area for coffee. Today, Ratawali (meaning “All are Family” and named by the founder’s grandfather) is one of the largest coffee growing area of high grade Arabica Coffee in the Gayo Highland, and has become the centre for coffee growers/small holders in the Valley.

The name of this coffee, ‘Gayo’ refers both to the region and an ethnic group. Geographically, Gayo is a region within the Aceh Province and Gayonese will be used to describe the ethic group indigenous to the area who live in predominantly three areas in Aceh Province: Central Aceh (or locally Aceh Tengah) Regency, Bener Meriah Regency, and Gayo Lues Regency. Most Gayonese are involved in coffee farming and farms are passed down from generation to generation. The main coffee areas are Central Aceh and Bener Meriah.

Most of coffee farmers at Gayo highland (Aceh) plant various local varieties (namely Timtim Aceh, Bourbon, P88, BP 542A and Ateng Super). These varieties have been planted in more recent times to replace S line and Catimor Jaluk varieties which were damaged by leaf rust and root disease. There are now more than 20 Arabica coffee varieties in production in Aceh – which accounts for the varied and often confusing proliferation of names/varieties.

Ateng is a local term for the Catimor variety and Ateng Super is an “extension” of it, which has been developed locally in Aceh. The seed was the result of a long research trial by the Indonesia Coffee and Cocoa Research Institute (ICCRI). Based on their research, the highest yield was obtained by the Ateng Super variety (1.5 Mt/Ha green). The tree branch is shorter than Ateng, and as its name suggests, the screen size is bigger than the original Ateng.

Lampung Robusta

Lampung’s geographical position and tropical climate are perfect for the cultivation of Robusta coffee. The best crops are produced in area of West Lampung and Way Kanan Regency. Robusta is typically grown on small farms that average in one hectare. The farmers harvest the coffee by stripping off the fruits on the branch. After the ripe and red cherries are separated from the unripe and green ones, they are dried on the sun and then hulled. The coffee is further dried and processed in our Lampung facility. Afterwards the Robusta beans are sorted and graded to meet the customer’s demands and requirements. Lampung Robusta is well-known for its bold, excellent body, earthy and rich Robusta aroma and taste.