Let’s be honest, most of us enjoy a cup of coffee. We do! It’s just perfect and makes our day x10 times better. But with the number of types and varieties of coffee products in the market -let’s admit- it’s a little confusing to choose good from the bad. In this article, we will talk about the best of the best. Get ready to learn what Sumatra coffee is!
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What Is Sumatra Coffee
Just as wine products, coffee products also get their names from their hometowns. The types -and names- of the coffee depending on where the coffee is cultivated, harvested, and processed. Therefore the coffee beans’ origins can affect the taste of your cup drastically. Like this, Sumatra gets its name from one of the islands called Sunda that coffee is being produced in Indonesia. Sunda is sitting right in the middle of the equator, making the perfect climatic area for the coffee to grow and the specific soil of the island.
Sumatra coffee is actually very well-known among coffee lovers. Sumatra coffee has such a strong and unique flavor that it is a thin line between love and hate. You should definitely try it at least once in your life as it is described as the world’s best coffee beans.
Benefits of Sumatra Coffee
Coffee itself has many health benefits; it will regulate your bowel movements, help you get rid of headaches, improve your skin even help you lose some weight as it increases your metabolic rate. Coffee without the addition of sugar and other ingredients is also calorie-free too. Coffee is full of benefits that will emphasize the fasting process.
Sumatra coffee is low in acidity, so it won’t disturb your bowel or don’t give you jitters. Its low acidity will help you get relaxed and help your body work faster, improving your metabolism. Low acidity is also helping your dental health and providing you with a great number of antioxidants. As most coffees do, it also helps you wake up and get energized, keeps depression away, and helps you regulate your blood sugar.
Short History of Sumatra Coffee
Even though Indonesia is the third-largest coffee producer globally, the Arabicana is not native to the area. It was around the 17th century when The Dutch East India Company (VOC) brought the coffee samples to the island and started growing the precious good in Jakarta (Batavia) on Java. Then the production expanded to other islands. The actual mass production of coffee in Indonesia started around the 1880s.
How Does Sumatra Coffee Work
The specific climate and the soil type are the recipes for the unique aroma of Sumatra coffee, but we shouldn’t forget the unique processing techniques either. Wet hulling is the technique that gives the unique earthy and mossy flavor to Sumatra coffee. The coffee is only grown in small farms that consist of 100 acres of area. Woman’s labor is particularly important.
Coffee cherries are harvested when they are still quite wet; that’s mainly because the weather conditions in Sumatra don’t allow the cherries to dry as much as the other climates. It rains so frequently in Sumatra that farmers can only dry the beans until %50 moisture. After harvest, the cherries are wet-hulled. During wet-hulling, friction is used to dry the cherries more. In the wet-hulling machine, the protective layer of the cherries is removed, which allows beans to ferment, causing a distinct mossy flavor. The entire process is chemical-free and around %80 of the work is performed by woman workers!
Pros and Cons of Sumatra Coffee
- Unique taste and flavor.
- Able to match with other aromas such as maple, toffee, and cinnamon.
- Low acidity and has many health benefits.
- Can be used in various recipes.
- Will keep you energized.
- Easy to be reached (Starbucks and Costco).
- It’s a love or hate situation.
- Sumatra coffee is quite expensive.
- There are some fake versions out there.
- Specifically, Kopi Luwak type generally accused of horrible animal abuse.
Types of Sumatra Coffee
Mandheling type of Sumatra coffee is considered to be the best coffee type of Sumatra. It has a complex flavor that the first note to be discovered is chocolate. This type is being grown and harvested in Padang’s west-central area, around 1000-1500km above sea level. Mandheling type of Sumatra coffee is dark roasted.
Ankola type of Sumatra coffee is grown between 700m and 1500km above sea level near the port of Padang. This type’s huge uniqueness is that compared to the other types, often Sumatra coffee, the Ankola type is dry processed. Dry processing adds different flavors to the coffee and makes it appear more uniform. Ankola is known for its mellow acidity.
Lintong coffee is named after its own district, “Lingtonnihuta.” The coffee has a clean aftertaste and compared to Mandheling; it has more of a dark chocolate flavor. Because the area sits over a plateau, it gives the best conditions for Arabica to grow.
Gayo/Aceh type is also called “Gayo Peaberry Sumatra coffee.” The name “Aceh” comes from the province that is up north of Sumatra. It has a clean taste and bright acidity; it feels almost wine-like tangy.
Kopi Luwak is a luxurious coffee and it is the most expensive type of Sumatra coffee. Also the most expensive coffee in the world! Even more expensive than premium Ethiopian coffee. The coffee cherries are collected from the poop of Palm civet cats. Even though it sounds … ummm … weird, it ferments the bean and gives its unique taste. Kopi Luwak tastes like tomatoes or wild mushrooms.
What Makes Sumatra Coffee so Special
Both the environmental conditions and the specific technique of producing affect the taste and the quality of Sumatra coffee. There are several possible processes for coffee, but Sumatra coffee is specifically produced with wet-hulling, also called the traditional way. The techniques used haven’t much changed over the years and the traditions are carried from generation to generation.
The type of soil in the Sunda island and the specific climate create the perfect and unique environment for Sumatra coffee to nourish. Island itself is sitting on both sides of Ecuador. Rainfalls are almost at all times, so there is so little time for cherries to dry. This all helps with the unique earthy flavor.
Also called the traditional technique has been used since the beginning of production. Wet-hulling breaks up the cherries and lets the beans ferment, helping the flavor to develop.
How to Brew Sumatra Coffee
Step 1 – Find the best Sumatra coffee
Obtain the beans (or the already grounded version). You can get them from Starbucks, Costco or online.
Step 2 – Grind your beans
Ground only when you need it! Pre-grounding can drastically affect the taste of your blend.
Step 3 – Brewing time
Espresso is highly recommended when it comes to Sumatra. You can use simple espresso machines and versatile Bestpresso pods. However, if you don’t own an espresso machine, you can also use an Aeropress, a stovetop espresso maker, a french press, or even drip methods (those are mostly used for cold brew).
Step 4 – Clean the leftovers
Don’t forget to clean whatever you are using. Leftover coffee remains are highly acidic and oily; residue can cause a fishy odor to appear. Clean your equipment and don’t forget paper filters can be reused.
Don’t forget to have fun with it. It’s your taste, after all. Sumatra coffee goes so well with milk products as well as spices. If you prefer your coffee sweeter, you can also add sugar, sweetener, and even honey. Honey in coffee contains antimicrobial properties. You can also try Sumatra coffee cold. When you cold brew, you decrease the acidity of coffee, even more, resulting in a smoother coffee experience.
Sumatra coffee is also blendable with many other types of coffees. You can basically add a little Sumatra to the ones missing it. It is said that Sumatra taste mixes so well with Eitophian tastes, you can also go ahead and try mixing it with a strong cup of coffee Bustelo. We definitely recommend you to try it as pure Sumatra first, but if you don’t like it, no worries, there are lots of alternatives out there. For example, Cuban coffee is a trendy drink too.
Does More Spending Mean More Quality
YES! YES! and YES! When you are paying more for a product. You are paying for its uniqueness, the people who work hard to produce it, and transportation. Without these -yes, it would be cheaper- but you wouldn’t be getting the same product.
Do’s and Don’ts With Sumatra Coffee
- Do keep it fresh.
- Do try pure and play around with blends.
- Do use filtered water only.
- Do clean your equipment.
- Do spend a little more on quality.
- Do try using Sumatra coffee in meals. There are so many recipes out there.
- Do use lower temperatures as you don’t need to burn the already heavy body.
- Don’t pre-grind. That would destroy the flavor of the coffee.
- Don’t trust pre-mixes. Try making your own mix.
- Don’t leave your equipment dirty.
FAQ About Sumatra coffee
Why is Sumatra coffee so good?
Obviously, because of its distinct flavor and aroma! As we said, Sumatra is a love or hate kind of situation. Its earthy and mossy tones are so unique you need to taste it at least one time in your life. Liking or not depends totally on your taste.
Does Sumatra coffee has more caffeine?
Caffeine is the main chemical found in coffee responsible for giving you energy, waking you up, and raising your heart rate. Caffeine stays in your body for three to five hours! To answer this specific question: A BIG NO! Sumatra doesn’t have more caffeine than any other Arabica coffees.
Is Sumatra coffee low in acidity?
Actually yes. Coffee, in general, is an acidic beverage. Having low acidity means that it will annoy your stomach less (no more disturbed bowel!) and keep you calmer instead of giving you jitters.
Can you ferment Sumatra coffee?
The general process of coffee requires coffee beans to ferment for the unique flavor to be developed. Sumatra coffee bags are left outside overnight for the specific mossy aroma to appear after wet-hulling during processing.
Does Starbucks sell Sumatra coffee?
Actually yes! Aged-Sumatra can be found in Starbucks. It is usually dark roasted and has an earthy taste.
Is Sumatra coffee dark roast?
Sumatra coffee is a generally dark roast. In most markets like Starbucks and Costco, you will find dark-roasted Sumatra coffee. Mandheling type of Sumatra coffee is a dark roast.
What does Sumatra coffee taste like?
Sumatra coffee has distinct exotic aromas of flavored coffee. It has earthy and mossy tones as well as chocolaty. Sumatra coffee’s main aromatic notes are spicy herbs, bell pepper, wild mushroom, moss, herbaceous, and even balsamic vinegar.
To sum it all up, Sumatra coffee is a joy that you need to try at least one time in your life. You will either fall in love with it or hate it, but you need to experience it either way. Sumatra is easy to obtain, fun to play with, and has a long list of benefits for your body. Being low in acidity also adds to the benefits and cancels out the bad sides of drinking coffee. It might be a little costly, but it will give you the promised moments of pleasure once you figure out how to enjoy it.
Photos from: leodaphne / depositphotos.com, GNNick / depositphotos.com,