Sumatra Permata Gayo
Region: Gayo, Aceh
Altitude: 5,800-6,600 feet
Varietal: Mandheling Typica, Bourbon, Catimor, Timon hybrid
Process: Natural processed
• The Permata Gayo Cooperative was formed in 2006 by 50 coffee farmers in the Aceh region after an earthquake and tsunami devastated much of the local farmland.
• The purpose of the cooperative was to kick-start production again with a focus on organic farming to boost health and raise money.
• Today Permata Gayo has over 2,500 members, producing 100% organic Fair Trade Certified coffee.
• Fair Trade premiums are used to purchase agricultural tools and weeding materials, and invest in environmental education.
• There are programs focusing on women’s empowerment, including employment initiatives and specialized medical services.
• Sumatran coffee is semi washed, or “wet hulled”, giving beans more body and enhancing their distinct character.
About our Sumatra:
Arabica coffee production in Sumatra began in the 18th century under Dutch colonial rule, and was first introduced to the northern region of Aceh, around Lake Tawar. Coffee continues to be cultivated in these northern regions of Aceh, as well as in the Lake Toba region to the southwest of Medan.
The Permata Gayo Cooperative was formed in 2006 by 50 coffee farmers spread throughout five villages in the Bandar sub-district of the Aceh region of Sumatra. Farmers were brought together by collective hardship; a decade-long civil war had only recently ended, and in 2004 a 9.2 magnitude earthquake just off the coast of Sumatra triggered a devastating tsunami which completely wiped out many towns and villages in Aceh, flooding farmland, destroying warehousing and creating perfect conditions for the spread of disease. The purpose of the cooperative was to kick-start production again with a focus on organic farming, which would not only benefit the health and well-being of the surviving communities, but would also raise valuable premiums needed to rebuild and reinvest in the area. In 2007, the cooperative was certified organic by the USDA and European Union, and a year later they became Fair Trade certified. Staying true to their vision to “work together for the welfare of our communities and to improve the lives of our members through the commercialization of the highest quality coffee,” the cooperative promotes Fair Trade principles of transparency, accountability and quality. Today, Permata Gayo has over 2,500 members, producing 100% organic Fair Trade Certified coffee – an incredible growth rate for a four-year-old organization. The collective has used Fair Trade premiums to purchase agricultural tools and weeding materials, and invest in environmental education and training in the effects of erosion, soil conservation and disposal of waste. Programs focusing on women’s empowerment are also prevalent, and special medical instruments and equipment have been purchased to support women through their pregnancies. The cooperative has also made an effort to hire women to do manufacturing work in processing facilities, as well as training in financial management.
Sumatran coffees are often available as unique semi-washed beans, best described as “wet-hulled”. In this process, each farmer processes their coffee to the pergamino stage and then transports the parchment beans, very marginally dried, to a central mill, where they are then hulled, revealing a pale, slippery green bean. These are then sundried on elevated drying tables, turning a deep, dark green colour.
This method of processing gives beans more body and enhances the earthy, chocolatey character that makes Sumatran coffee so popular. The individual complexities of each grower’s crop are preserved, while enabling them to benefit from joint milling and drying facilities.