Coffee
  • Indonesia Bies Awan - El Magnífico
  • Indonesia Bies Awan - El Magnífico
  • Indonesia Bies Awan - El Magnífico
  • Indonesia Bies Awan - El Magnífico
  • Indonesia Bies Awan - El Magnífico
  • Indonesia Bies Awan - El Magnífico

Indonesia Bies Awan

The Cooperative

The PT. Ihitiyeri Keti Ara cooperative processes cherries from coffee farmers in the Bies area and its surroundings, meticulously sorting the coffees into distinct lots. This particular lot, named “Bies Awan,” derives its name from the locality where the coffee is cultivated, situated near the city of Takengon and Lake Tawar. Its name combines two words: the village of cultivation, Bies, and Awan, signifying “clouds” in the local language, reflecting the high altitude (near the clouds) of the village. This particular lot was produced by approximately 350 coffee farmers collaborating with two highly respected experts in the region: Mr. Gimin and Mr. Sugeng.

Process

Indonesia’s processing tradition, particularly on the islands of Sumatra and Sulawesi, is unique and deeply rooted in local culture. This variation, let’s call it, imparts a distinctive character to the coffees from these islands, for which they are globally renowned. Despite being a risky process with the potential to produce off-flavours of damp earth or mould, in the finest lots, it yields unique profiles characterised by high density, low acidity, and aromas not found in other methods.
After harvest, cherries are manually depulped, and the beans, still coated in mucilage and quite damp, undergo an overnight fermentation process lasting 10 to 12 hours. This fermentation occurs in plastic bags or wicker baskets, followed by a hand-washing stage with clean water. Subsequently, the beans are dried until they reach moisture levels of 30% to 40%. Here’s where the process varies: at this stage, the parchment is removed, and the beans are sun-dried until they reach a final moisture content of between 12% and 13%. For the highest-quality lots, the beans undergo additional sorting by size and weight, along with manual selection.
The grains have a beautiful dark blue-green colour that resembles jade.
Cherries are handpicked and sourced from lots that have gone through one, two, or even three classifications. Given that dry processing is customary in these small towns, where beans are left to dry on the ground, coffee grading is essential to eliminate sticks and stones that the beans inevitably collect. However, triple grading does not necessarily enhance the cup’s quality if the process has not been executed correctly.

Origen

Sumatra lies at the western end of Indonesia, situated between the Indian Ocean and the Strait of Malacca. It ranks as the sixth-largest island in the world and is the largest entirely within Indonesia’s borders (unlike New Guinea and Borneo, which share borders with other countries). The Equator cuts across Sumatra’s centre, resulting in a tropical climate with high temperatures and extreme humidity.
Its geography is intense and dramatic. Spanning the island from northwest to southeast, the Barisan Mountains stretch approximately 1,600 km and reach a maximum height of 3,800 m at Mount Kerinci. Traditionally, the landscape has been dominated by lush tropical forests. However, over the last 35 years, Sumatra has lost almost 50% of its native forest, putting some of its indigenous fauna at risk of extinction.
Aceh is a province of Indonesia located in the extreme north of Sumatra, with its capital in Banda Aceh. The area has the highest number of Muslims in the country, with 10 indigenous ethnic groups residing in the region. Among these groups are the Gayonese, who live in the highest lands of the area. Presently, this group has a population of approx. of 330,000 people.
The Dutch brought coffee seedlings (C. arabica) to Java around 1700. The species spread rapidly, and for two centuries was the only one to be cultivated on islands of the archipelago. Coffee reached the highlands of North Sumatra in 1888 by growing near Lake Toba and later near Lake Tawar (Gaius).
Between 1904 and 1942, the Dutch reoccupied the area through violent means. It was during this period that the Gayonese developed an economy based on the commercial cultivation of vegetables and coffee. Today, there is a significant number of small coffee growers in the Gayo region, with farms averaging half a hectare in size. Consequently, it is sensible for them to band together and organise into cooperatives.
Sumatran coffees capture the essence of the wild jungle of this tropical Indonesian island. We sampled one Sumatra after another in search of this intricate, herbaceous, and vegetal profile, reminiscent of sweet cedar. A full-bodied drink that boasts low acidity with a touch of spice and humid forest. A great Sumatra is creamy, sweet, with subtle notes of butter, spices, and the aroma of mushrooms (ceps/porcini).

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