BCT’s coffee special includes three of our best dark roast coffees. Featuring our:
Indonesian Sumatra Org. Takengon – KPGLA Gr. 1 – Wet Hulled
Aceh (pronounced AH-CHEY) is the northernmost province of Sumatra. Its highland territory, surrounding Lake Tawar and the central city of Takengon, is considered to be the epicenter of one of the world’s most unique coffee terroirs. Coffee farms in this area are managed with the experience of many generations of cultivation, while also harmoniously woven into their surrounding tropical forests. The canopies are loud and fields are almost impenetrably thick with coffee plants, fruit trees, and vegetables, all of which are constantly flushing with new growth. Year-round mists and rain showers never cease, farm floors are spongy and deep with layered biomass, and almost every square meter of the region seems to exude life. Nothing is ever still. Including coffee ripening, which occurs ten months out of the year.
Farmers in this group are organized around the Gayo Lauser Antara cooperative (shortened to KPGLA), which was first established in 2013. KPGLA is located, along with its grower members, in the Jagong Jeget district, on the western end of the Aceh Tengah regency, one of Aceh’s most prolific coffee producing areas. Collectively the cooperative’s members control 770 hectares of farmland.
A very nice fresh crop arrival. Full bodied with a creamy mouthfeel, low acidity and spot on tastes from a traditional Mandheling Sumatra; peat moss, smoky, chocolaty, fuller bodied and strong. A clean enough cup to get a decent medium roast, gives a smoother mouthfeel and has a bit of sweetness upfront, darker roasts will turn thicker but also edgier and promote the smokier semi-sweet side of the profile.
As with most Sumatra coffees, the processing promotes a couple different shades in the roaster. It is normal to see some beans lighter than others. Make sure if shooting for the medium roasts, that you judge it from the lighter looking beans, important to get them all through first crack. When roasting darker, judge it by the darker looking beans for if they get too dark or burn, gets a little ashy tone in the cup.
Sumatra’s smallholder coffee is a complicated process. Notably, processing is typically not overseen by a single individual or team; instead, coffee moves task by task through different parties before reaching its final, fully-dried, state. Coffee farms in Aceh Tengah average 0.5-2 hectares each. Every village with cooperative members has a collector (or more) who receives fresh-picked cherry for washed processing each day. Once a batch of coffee has been depulped, fermented overnight, washed clean, and then sun-dried to the touch, each collector then delivers the batch to the cooperative’s central mill. It is at the mill where the coffee is mechanically hulled of its parchment, leaving behind just the soft, high-moisture coffee bean (thus earning the term “wet-hulled”), all of which is spread out on large patios to continue drying. Each handoff is orchestrated by the cooperative, and the members’ coffee is traced throughout each step of the chain.
KPGLA, along with many local industries in the region, identifies itself as “Gayo”, after the Gayonese ethnic group which has long made Aceh their home, and which comprises a vast majority of farmer members. Regional coffee distinctions in the northern provinces of Sumatra are interestingly all based on human ethnicity, rather than geography itself, which unfortunately has muddled the island’s traceability over time. “Mandheling” for example, is a broad label for a widespread cultural group in Sumatra and Malaysia and subsequently the broadest coffee trading term, applying to almost any chosen blend of wet-hulled coffees from across the northern half of the island. These terms are malleable, and it is often difficult to pinpoint a coffee’s exact origin without direct partnerships that allow buyers to trace the entire value chain themselves. So, it is helpful to work with exporters with a local supply chain, who themselves operate in the highlands and are personally invested in their community’s success. KPGLA regularly distributes farming tools and cash dividends to cooperative members, as well as school supplies for families with schoolchildren.
Tanzanian BCT Select Peaberry
Tanzania BCT Select Peaberry is sourced from a group of 235 family-owned farms located in the Mbozi district within the Songwe region of Tanzania. Producers harvest and deliver cherry to a centralized processing station where the coffee is depulped, fermented, washed and dried. The aggregate processing stations have been established in the last three years to provide producers with a centrally located processing facility that can process coffee more consistently and ensure better quality, which results in better prices from the international market.
Tasting Notes: Rich and chocolaty, Tanz coffee is always high on our go to list for stronger chocolaty darker roast coffee. At the medium roasts one will see a more gentle cup with good body, a little sweeter edge, hints of acidity and stronger chocolaty spice. Darker roasts get much fuller bodied and bring out the very strong bakers chocolate edge balancing nicely with classic African spice note and complimenting roasty/smoky tones.
Roasting Notes: Medium to dark roasts are preferred and let the cup shine. Light roasts risk a little earthy tone that will blossom into more spicy chocolate factor darker roasted. We found a quicker roast accentuates some of the sweeter tone and crispness which was a good thing.
Costa Rican Palmares SHB EP Monte Crisol
This is a very nice Co-op production by COOPEPALMARES, they have a state of the art processing facility with certifications in quality and environmental management. The wet mill utilizes recycled water and the mechanical dryers recirculate airflow to maximize furnace efficiency. The facility also has an organic fertilizer production plant and a water treatment plant.
COOPEPALMARES operates two supermarkets in Palmares and sells roasted coffee for national consumption (although the nicer chops like this tend to get more money when exported). Coop members have access to low interest loans and healthcare for their families at the coop-run health center and mobile clinic.
Tasting Notes: A very nice and clean Costa. Lighter roasts will show that classic Costa sweet floral acidity, a little bit on the lemony side balanced with a little dry nutty/chocolate undertone. As the roasting pushes more into the medium category, the cup develops a bit more body and reduced acidity levels giving a much smoother mouthfeel and more defined chocolaty factor. Creates a wonderful balance of tones. A little lighter floral, a little chocolaty/nutty, very pleasant drinker. Darker roasts hold up nicely as well, turn the cup more stronger and more bakers chocolate like, the roasty notes from darker roasting do compliment the cup. Much more of a chocolate bomb with slightly nutty accents.
Roasting Notes: As with most Costa Rican coffee, the medium roast mark tends to be where they shine. Great everyday drinkers that show some bright complexities on more mild mannered cups. Everyone tends to like a nice Costa, a easy guess on what to serve a crowd of friends or family. A good screen of coffee, easy to roast.
Grower: Cooperativa de Caficultores y de Servicios Múltiples de Palmares (Coopepalmares) | 1400 members
Variety: Caturra, Catuai
Region: Palmares a canton in the province of Alajuela, Costa Rica.
Process: Eco-pulped and dried in the sun on patios