Not everyone loves Sumatra Coffee, but for some coffee lovers, it could be one of the most unique coffees they have ever tasted. It is definitely an “either you love it or hate it” beverage. Sumatra’s most well-known Arabica coffees such as, Mandheling, Aceh Gayo, Lintong, and Ankola Coffee, for instance, have captivated millions of coffee connoisseurs around the world. In general, Sumatra coffee’s flavor has been known to be rich and satisfying. Compared to Java’s Arabica, Sumatra coffee has more earthy flavors and distinct herbal aromas. It is also low in acidity, therefore favored by those who are sensitive to acidic coffee. Sumatra coffee is also popular among those who prefer a darker, more intense roast profile.
So, is Sumatra coffee’s flavor to love or hate? Well, we are going to lay out all the facts for people to decide, whether this coffee is worth it or not. Each coffee drinker must discover if this type of flavor is perfect for their tastebuds, acceptable, or even should be avoided altogether. Much of Sumatra coffee’s flavor comes from the way the coffee beans are harvested and processed. But we will talk more about it later. First, we should know the facts about its place of origin, Sumatra. As one of the largest islands within the Indonesian archipelago, Sumatra is a leading producer in Indonesia’s coffee industry. The size of Sumatra’s crop accounts for 74.2% of the country’s total product, or approximately about 750,000 metric tons of coffee. Even so, Sumatra was not the first island in the country to have coffee growing within its soil. Coffee plants were first brought to Java –the neighboring island– from the Netherlands in the 1690s during the Dutch colonial era. Coffee production on the island of Sumatra is said to have begun around 1884, near Lake Toba, the biggest volcanic lake in the world.
Given Indonesia’s tropical climate, it is an ideal environment for growing and producing coffee. The fertile volcanic soil of Sumatra’s highlands is the perfect condition for growing great quality coffee beans. So, if people are wondering about how Sumatra coffee’s flavor can be so profoundly unique, it has a lot to do with the nutrients found in the soil and the climatic conditions of the area in which it is grown. The wet-hull or giling basah processing method even adds more to the equation. The wet-hulling method has been adopted by Indonesian producers because of the region’s humid climate. The process hulls the bean parchment at a large 50% moisture content, much higher than the typical 11-15% seen in other regions. This unusual method gives Sumatran coffee beans their trademark flavor profile and signature color.
In general, Sumatra coffee’s flavor profile is described as full-bodied, with little acidity and an earthy, herbaceous aroma. This means that Sumatra coffee is extremely rich, creamy, and smooth in flavor. It also has a spicy twist with hints of mushrooms, fungus, moss, leather, and wood. With so many flavors packed in one cup of Sumatra coffee, no wonder that some people simply can’t enjoy the taste. Yet, for others, drinking it becomes an unforgettable experience. So, what’s the verdict, is Sumatra coffee’s flavor to love or hate? We leave the final judgement to you.