(by Oren Bloostein)
For me, coffee is a timeless tradition with a rich history. Part of my excitement in being a part of that tradition is traveling to the great coffee growing areas around the world where one can find the best possible product.
My most recent trip was to the Indonesian Island of Sumatra.
Indonesia produces a lot of coffee, and most of it comes from Sumatra. This was my first visit to the island and I flew into the capital of Medan and immediately was on the road to the mountains above Lake Toba – I believe it is the largest volcanic lake in the world.
Once there, I witnessed a method of processing I had never seen, or fully understood before. Semi washing, a method of coffee preparation that removes the skin surrounding the seeds (which are the coffee beans). Most coffee is either ‘fully washed’ or ‘dry prep’. The method affects the flavor of the coffee in the cup. Fully washed tends to be bright. Dry tends to be earthy, and semi-washed can be a bit of both. It is just one of the things making Sumatra coffee unique in the cup.
I also found varietals of coffee I had never seen growing commercially – for example Catimor – a hybrid coffee that seems to be almost 50% of the Arabica bean production in Sumatra. Seeing the variety of Coffee from region to region in Sumatra allowed me to learn geographically what I had been tasting in the coffee cup all these years – that the coffee from one (Lintong) area has a certain flavor distinctly different than the coffee from another (Lake Tawar) and another and another. So literally a coffee tasting of different varieties is like an overland expedition of regional discovery.
In effect, as you consider the beans and blend in your morning coffee, enjoy the geography and journeys that coffee growers have been making for decades to create traditions that have endured the test of time.
Sumatra Mandheling - $ 14.99 – Sumatra is the world’s most full-bodied coffee, and Mandheling is the finest growing region in Sumatra.
Aged Sumatra - $ 15.49 – “This coffee is by far the smoothest most mellow and sweet of any aged coffee I have ever cupped. If you have ever liked an aged coffee you will love this one and if you never tried an aged coffee this is the one to try.” – Oren.