We’ve been proudly offering the Ketiara coop’s coffee for several seasons running now as our “featured” Sumatran offering. Why? Because it’s consistently good, year after year. Last year, we chose to feature their “Ratu” lots, so if you enjoyed that, you’re going to love this one too! Gayo is a cultural, ethnic, and geographical microregion in the Takengon mountains, often associated with the larger “Mandheling” name. In fact, did you know there’s no “Mandheling” region in Indonesia? It actually refers to a large cultural group spread all across Sumatra and Malaysia. Well, the Gayo people are a sub-group of the Mandheling culture. Confused? Check out the ”Farm Bio” to learn more!
Alright, back to the coffee: The women of Ketiara take great pride in their careful processing, ensuring every lot they export receives the Grade 1 stamp. While I wouldn’t go so far as to call this a “clean” cup, it’s very clean for a wet-hulled coffee. Their meticulous processing also manages to pull a bit of vibrance out of the bean as well, resulting in one of the brightest wet-hulled Sumatras we’ve ever had. Like a biker wearing a 3-piece suit, it’ll knock your socks off, but it’ll look good doing it! It’s big, bold and rich with a velvety, almost syrupy texture along with notes of spicy black pepper, anise, clove and an undertone of cedar. These flavors are contrasted with gentle vanilla and dark chocolate which, along with the added brightness and cleaner than usual finish, round off the edges for a delicious cup.
Reminder! This coffee is raw, you must roast it before brewing
Arrival Date: September 29th, 2023. US Arrival: August 2023
Acidity & Brightness: Moderately bright and a little sweet
Balance & Finish: Complex with a spicy, slightly earthy finish
Body & Texture: Big, rich body and velvety texture
Flavors: Dark chocolate, cedar, vanilla & anise
Grade: Grade 1, Grown at 1220 - 1524 masl
Certifications: Organic & Fair Trade
Processing: Wet-hulled (giling basah) and patio dried in the sun
Grower: Koperasi Pedagang Kopi Ketiara Women’s Cooperative
Region: Takengon/Gayo/Aceh, Sumatra, Indonesia
Varieties: Adsenia, Bourbon, Typica & Ateng
Recommended Roast Range: Full City to Vienna (medium to dark)
This coffee is tailor made for folks who enjoy dark roasting and a big, bold cup so we like it best around Full City+ (medium-dark), though it will even perform well into Vienna (dark). Roasts in the Full Medium range bring out the most discernible flavor notes and a little acidity while darker roasts are where the spicy notes like anise and cedar shine and you go into the darker chocolate notes like baker's chocolate. But you'll lose what little acidity there is after second crack.
Royal New York - "The Koperasi Pedagang Kopi Ketiara is a women-run cooperative that has over 890 grower-members. The Ketiara Cooperative was started in 2008 by Ibu Rahmah, the current chairwoman, who had operated and managed her family’s coffee business for 20 years-purchasing cherries, processing the green, and selling to local traders. The passion and commitment of the women managers to have all members working together in support of coffee production has enabled Ketiara to expand and become an important supplier to larger coffee traders in Medan, the capital of North Sumatra. The cooperative members voted to become Organic and Fair Trade certified in 2012, making a commitment to use these proceeds to create programs for health, education, and public infrastructure projects that will benefit all coop members.”
Royal Coffee - “Aceh (pronounced AH-CHEY) is the northernmost province of Sumatra. Its highland territory, surrounding Lake Laut Tawar and the local city of Takengon, is considered to be the epicenter of one of the world’s most unique coffee terroirs due to its isolated heirloom set of typica and catimor-based cultivars, it’s uniquely fertile microclimates, land husbandry, and tradition of wet-hulled processing. Coffee farms in this area are managed with the experience of many generations of cultivation, while also harmoniously woven into their surrounding tropical forests. The canopies are loud and fields are almost impenetrably thick with coffee and fruit trees and vegetables, all of which are constantly flushing with new growth. Year-round mists and rain showers never cease, farm floors are spongy and deep with compost, and almost every square meter of the region seems to exude life. Nothing is ever still.
Regional coffee distinctions in the northern provinces of Sumatra are interestingly all based on human ethnicity, rather than geography itself. “Mandheling” for example, is a broad label for a widespread cultural group in Sumatra and Malaysia and subsequently the most common coffee trading term, applying to almost any chosen blend of wet-hulled coffees from across the northern half of the island. “Batak” is a Mandheling sub-ethnicity based around Lake Toba and considered a regional coffee pedigree to itself, and often marketed as such. These terms are malleable, and it is often difficult to pinpoint a coffee’s exact origin without direct partnerships that allow buyers to travel the entire value chain themselves. “Gayo” is Ketiara’s declaration, used to proudly signify a pure microregion and society of coffee from the center of Aceh, handmade by the Gayo people. Ketiara undoubtedly captures their community’s best qualities through careful logistics. The cooperative centrally controls transport, final drying, and sorting for all members’ coffee. It also conducts all export business from their headquarters in the mountains, avoiding any further consolidation or exposure of their shipments to Sumatra’s humid, balmy coastal climate, where many exporters tend to hold green coffee for sale.”