This “Gayo Mountain” coffee is relatively rare, grows on the volcanic slopes of Mount Leuser, in the Aceh region of Sumatra, at 2,500-5,000 feet above sea level by the farm cooperative Koperasi Permata Gayo. The placement of Indonesia at the equator creates the situation of microclimates ideal for great coffee. This year, they are experiencing climate change in a big way, which is expected to greatly affect the amount of coffee they are able to export.
In recent years, Sumatra has gained a reputation among Fair Trade buyers as being a bit of a minefield, with multiple cooperatives being certified by FLO-CERT, losing their certification within a year or two for some infraction, and reappearing shortly thereafter under a new name. Good governance unfortunately is not a given in this origin, but amidst this maelstrom Koperasi Permata Gayo has been a rock both in terms of quality control and longevity. They reliably exhibit the classic flavors for which Sumatra is known. In addition to the co-op’s focus on quality, Permata Gayo has actively promoted the preservation of Gayonese heritage by using some of the Fair Trade social premiums to fund a cultural school where children of producers learn traditional song and dance. Today, Permata Gayo Cooperative has 2053 members from 39 villages. As a result of their growth and improvements, the coop has been able to share more of the final price of coffee with their farmers.
Sumatran coffees have long been distinct for their earthy, savory, somewhat vegetal or herbaceous characteristics, in part contributed by the climate and the mix of varieties grown, but also due to a specific post-harvest processing style called Wet-Hulling, or locally known as Giling Basah, which imparts much of the unique qualities these coffees have. We roast our Sumatran beans to a medium roast. We found a vegetal aroma with citrus rind and parsley flavor notes.