After a fantastic few days checking out the cutting edge Melbourne coffee scene , I had the priviledge of visiting processing plants and coffee farms in Northern Sumatra.
I visited the Wahana Estate processing plant and exporting centre in Medan where we had extensive cupping of the microlots that Wahana are experimenting with. There were some truly outstanding coffees.
From there we drove 10 hours south to Lake Toba where we visited the Wahana Estate Coffee Plantation where we toured the whole facility. They processed natural and washed coffees in this huge facility. We stayed the night on the farm 1400m above sea level, which had a fantastic facility for visitors and had an amazing fare of Indonesian cuisine at the nearby town of Sidikalang.
Early the next day we journeyed the west side of Lake Toba, which is the largest lake in the Southern Hemisphere and an extinct crater, to an area where the small coffee farms produce organic coffee.
The smaller farmers rely on the collectors to gather their coffee and sell it to the processing and exporting companies.
We met some of the coffee collectors from the growing region of some of the coffee we use. The smaller farmers rely on the collectors to gather their coffee and sell it to the processing and exporting companies. The farms I visted had trees that produced fruit all year round, with only the ripe cherries harvested. In North Sumatra the trees are kept at a height of around two meters to facilitate harvesting without ladders, and are protected by shade trees. Drying is mostly done on large concrete slabs which are all under cover because of the daily rainfall, driers are used also to bring the coffee to the right moisture level. The average ambiente temperature at 1400m is around 30 degrees celcius during the day and falls to around 16 at night.
The Indonesian people are hospitable and kind and I can't wait to visit again. We look forward to the soon arrival of our Sumatran coffee.