Indonesia Atu Lintang


location: Atu Lintang

Altitude: 1300-1500masl

process: Giling Basah

varietal: Tim Tim

Farmer: Multiple farmers

Certification: Organic

Taste: Red berries, herbal, full clean body, lots of sweetness. 

In the Aceh region, at the northern end of the island of Sumatra is the district of Atu Lintang. This Organic coffee is grown at between 1300-1500masl by around 600 farmers who also grow fruit and vegetables to sell at local farmers markets. We haven’t bought an Indonesian coffee for a long time, mostly because we haven’t come across any that we’ve liked. Often tasting a bit muddy and overly funky due to the unique method of processing the cherries (see below). this coffee is nothing like that. It’s sweet and clean with fresh, herbal and red fruit flavours. Im well and truly hooked, it’s great as an espresso or brewed as a cafetière or filter, any way you go it just tastes great.

coffee starts life as a cherry on a bush/tree, the cherry is picked when ripe, usually red. The red cherries are then processed either as a natural coffee or a washed.
Natural coffees are taken to the drying yards as they are, with cherry, mucilage and parchment intact and layed out.  Either on patios, tables, in mechanical dryers or a combination. They are regularly turned and covered at night for between 3 and 6 weeks depending on the climate and humidity levels. After reaching the correct moisture content (around 10%) the beans are taken to the mill for hulling, this is the removal of the cherry and the internal parchment. Leaving the cherry on to this point keeps the coffee bean covered in the sticky mucilage layer that covers the parchment, and all the while the beans are absorbing the sugars from this, gaining sweetness, body and decreasing in acidity. After this it is usually machine and hand sorted where by the broken, insect damaged or immature beans are removed and it is graded into different sizes.
The washed process differs in that the cherries are picked, then taken directly to the mill where they are put into big tanks of water, with the ripe cherries sinking and the underripe floating(these are then skimmed off and sold as lower grade coffee)The ripe cherries then pass through the mill to the pulper where the cherry is removed and generally saved for fertiliser. The coffee beans are now just covered by a layer called parchment which is coated in a sticky substance called mucilage. Next its left for a period of fermentation either in big vessels or tiled baths, this helps break down the pectin in the mucilage making it easier to wash off the next day.  The washed, hulled coffee beans/parchment, then get sent to the drying yards or tables where they are treated much the same as in the natural process, turning regularly and waiting until they reach the correct moisture content of around 10%. The early removal of the cherry and mucilage gives the coffee more clarity of flavour and retains any acidity. The coffee is then ready for the removal of the parchment (a thin shell protecting the beans) by machine, it’s pretty much just rubbed off. It’s then graded into different sizes,  sent through sorting machines to remove any bad beans, and finally hand sorted if needs be as a final check. 

Giling Basah is the same as the washed process but once the drying coffee, in its parchment reaches around 25% moisture content it’s put through machines to remove that parchment. One problem with this is that the beans are soft and susceptible to damage and even more so once the parchment is removed, so it’s a dangerous game. The benefit though is that the now raw coffee beans are Exposed and free to dry more quickly in the sun and air, speeding up the process in an extremely humid climate.  Left too long to dry in these humid conditions, the coffee would over ferment and go mouldy, so it’s kind of a necessary evil. 
This particular coffee has been expertly processed, resulting in a clean, sweet coffee with a deep rich body.