Coffee was taken to Sumatra by Dutch colonialists under the guidance of Vereenigde Oost-Indische Compagnie (VOC) in the late 1600s. It is thought that between the years of 1602 and 1796, around a million European workers were sent to Indonesia to work in the trade. With the rapid growth of the industry during this period (and the insatiable thirst for coffee in Europe!), the commodity has played a fundamental role in the trade and development of the country. With its current yearly harvest sitting at an impressive 6.54 million 60kg bags, coffee is undoubtedly still as important a commodity today as it was in the Seventeenth Century.
Sumatra's varying altitude range of 1000-1600 meters above sea level, volcanic soils and tropical climate make it an island of opportunity for high-grade Arabica coffee. These conditions, along with its unique semi-washed process Giling Basah, give Indonesian coffee the heavy body and lower acidity levels that it is famed for. Sumatran coffees are unrivalled in their depth, and are often fascinatingly complex, boasting rich dark chocolate and orange flavours.
Jagong Village was established in the 1980s as a result of the Indonesian Transmigration Program. This was an initiative which sought to move landless people from more densely populated islands to the less populous areas of the country. At Jagong Village, Javanese people we offered land as a result of over-population and the poverty that took hold of the island resulting from this. The program provided an incentive to move and start a new life in Sumatra, and an opportunity to begin harvesting great coffee.
Jagong Village is located just South of Takengon, the capital of the Aceh Province. Working alongside The Gayo, their new neighbours in the highlands of this province, the settlers started to harvest and produce Arabica coffee. With an average farm size of one hectare, there are currently 25 members of this cooperative who specialise in Bourbon and P88 Arabica varietals. All Jagong Village coffee is Fair Trade and organically certified, and is grown along with cabbages, chillies and red beans to help manifest unusual and delicious flavour profiles.
What perhaps sets Sumatran coffee apart most from other origins is the unique processing methods that are undertaken after the beans are harvested. At Jagong Village, the coffee cherries are semi-washed and wet-hulled. This process, known locally as Giling Basah, involves the part-drying of freshly pulped beans before the parchment is removed. The removal of the parchment at this stage reveals unusual lightly coloured swollen green beans, which are then taken to be patio dried, quickly turning the seed to a dark green colour. This style of processing is unique to Indonesia, and makes its coffee instantly recognisable around the world.
Sumatran Jagong Village is available to purchase from our online store. Its heavy body makes it a very versatile brew, working well as an espresso in addition to a delicious choice for cafetière, pour-over and other filter methods.