BRC’s Jim Munson In Sumatra

Jim Munson recently took a trip to visit with coffee growers in Sumatra.

Here is his report:

When we arrived on Sunday we had no idea that we’d be featured speakers at the Gayo Specialty Coffee Conference. Our presence had made the local Takengon (Lake Tawar) paper So before we could say thank you in Bohasa–the general Indonesian language–we were up on the stage, talking and tasting coffees through the haze of 40 hours of travel.

It was also our first introduction to the modest but ambitious Cupper’s Team.

Here’s an article posted by atjehpost.com about American buyers visiting the Permata Gayo Cooperative.  Here is the welcome reception we got:

The pictures below are from the Tunis Indi Koperasi Cooperative. Coffees leave the coops unsorted and unpolished. This final step–along with green blending in some cases– happens in Medan, 15 hours and about ten thousand (literally!) motorcycles away.

The first picture was taken visiting kbqb (Volcafe’s) FT supplier, head honcho Rizwan Hussein with me in their mill. They do it all here. Biggest coop of all. 7,000 members. No need for additional sorting on Medan. They sort by density, size by machine and them manually to remove all defective beans. Conducted several more interviews and had another cupping. All coffees excellent.

The rupiah trades at roughly 10,000 to the dollar.

Takengon is the second largest city in North Sumatra and the main coffee hub located on Lake Tawar.   Here is some of the flavor of Takengon:

This photo was taken halfway up Birnu Telong active volcano, exhausted by travel and packed schedule.  We had visited 5 coops and interviewed many stakeholders. Cupped two dozen or so coffees. Permata Gayo, GLOC, Apco, Tunis Indi.

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