It has been many years since we last roasted a wet hulled coffee from Sumatra. We are very pleased to have finally found one that tastes great and offers a very unique and unusual taste profile. This coffee is nothing like the bright washed and natural coffees we usually purchase! It's a great opportunity to experience something very different from an unusual processing type.
The wet hulled process (called giling basah) is unique to coffees from Sumatra and the surrounding islands. This unusual method gives the coffee a unique taste profile with a rich heavy body and dark chocolate notes. The process starts off the same way that the washed coffee process would begin. Coffee cherry is hand harvest, pulped to removed the fruit and then fermented before washing. Washed process coffees will be dried until the moisture content reaches about 12%. The Giling Basah drying process ends much earlier when the coffee hasn't fully dried. This was traditionally done to allow the farmer to sell the coffee early and get paid sooner!
The buyer of the partly dried coffee would then be responsible for blending the coffee together and milling the coffee to remove the parchment layer. After this is done the coffee is dried a second time until it reaches about 11-12%. Removing this parchment layer takes away the protection and unless carefully monitored the coffee can degrade very quickly.
Coffees processed this way are often large regional blends with poor traceability and lack of attention to careful selection of ripe cherry.
This year we managed to find a really great, well processed version of this coffee via Falcon Coffees. Situated under the shadows of the Burni Telong which translates as ‘Fire Volcano’ this coffee has been curated by a local collector working out of the Sub District of Karang Rejo. Mahdi has over 20 years’ experience in coffee from this region and has used his experience to start building lots from groups of local farmers who produce the best coffee. This lot comes from a group of 60 farmers who all each harvest coffee from their small 0-1 ha farms in the sub districts of Karang Rejo, Panji Mulia & Babbusalam Redelong. Each farmer will produce about 500kg – 1000kg of green coffee each year. These farmers during the harvest will pick their coffee and then deliver it to one of the six local collectors who has a de-pulper and space to dry the coffee. Mahdi works with each of the local collectors helping with an operation procedure to ensure they are fermenting the coffee in the correct manner to prevent any spoiling or defective coffee. Once they have dried the coffee to 35 % the parchment will then be removed and a second drying of the coffee to 15% will take place. Mahdi will then cup and assesses all coffees before constructing the lots making sure the profiles match and moisture is below 13%. After this the coffee is then hand-picked by his selected sorting team who clean the coffee ready to be bagged in grain pro for export. Unlike many supply chains in Sumatra all the coffee is milled and bagged in the town of Takengon unlike much of coffee from this region where this usual occurs in Medan a 12 hour drive away.Mahdi is passionate about showcasing what the coffee has to offer from this region and he is also part of a local consultancy group called the Gayo Cuppers Team who act as an independent body assessing coffees for other exporters and groups. The group also runs an academy course every year for three days to educate the and encourage the next generation of coffee experts in the region.
This coffee works well with all filter brewers and espresso. For filter we recommend a 1 - 16 brew ratio, and for espresso a 1 - 2.2 brew ratio.
Example - Filter: 15g - 250ml // Espresso: 18g - 40g