This is the first coffee from Indonesia we’ve ever purchased. It is a beautiful and challenging coffee producing region, with many challenges. Between the cup profile and the logistics challenges, we’ve never come across an Indonesian coffee that stood out to us on the table. This coffee from the Riunggunung Estate immediately stood out to us, as it was part of Cafe Imports ACES program. We often hurry to purchase the ACES lots as quickly as we can, as they are usually superb. This Indonesian coffee is no different, with pungent fruit notes and a winey acidity. With the large changes in processing philosophy, it’s not surprising to see heavily fruited coffees produced in regions that have had cup quality issues in the past. We are very excited to include this coffee in our lineup.
Riunggunung Estate is a 10-hectare farm with 9 hectares planted in a selection of different varieties that are commonly found in Java. This lot is from the highest point of the estate, elevation-wise. This section of the farm not only develops the most nuanced flavor profile for the coffee, but it is also a somewhat dangerous place for the plants: On very cold evenings it can potentially frost over, which can devastate production. The stress, however, is part of what contributes to the beauty of the flavor in the cup.
In this case, we see a perfect scenario of factors that contribute to an exceptional coffee. For this lot, only the ripest cherries are selected and promptly floated and washed in clean, spring water. Once the perfect selection is sorted, cherries are placed into a plastic, air-tight container, and lactobacillus is added to the tanks, mixed, and set to ferment for an extended period of three days. Once the fermentation is complete, the cherries are promptly moved to raised beds for an average period of 18-21 days and dried as naturals, During this time, the cherries are moved consistently to ensure an even drying process across the entirety of the microlot. After the drying process is complete, the coffee is hulled, removing the dried cherry and then milled to remove the parchment and sort by size, density, and color. The final process of hand-sorting is achieved with the help of the staff at the dry mill and the coffee is then bagged and prepped for distribution.
There are few leaps in the technique of processing coffee larger than the most recent trend of Anaerobic processing. This is oftentimes a technique of natural processing coffee, where whole cherries are fermented in a limited oxygen environment. The word Anaerobic is a catch-all term used more often than not to refer to a limited oxygen environment. Coffee cherries are subject to a pre-fermentation before they are moved to a drying bed or patio. The extended fermentation often adds a winey or fruity note to the coffee. Throughout the world, we’ve seen this practiced in many ways, from adding cherries into a clean grainpro and tying the top for the night, all the way to stainless tanks with an airlock on the top to slowly let out carbon dioxide caused by the microbes at work. There are many who are working to understand and better control this process to gain clarity on what is really going on with limited oxygen fermentation.