First exported in the early 1700s by large Dutch-owned coffee plantations that abused and oppressed the Indonesian laborers. An epidemic of coffee-leaf-rust decimated the Indonesian coffee market during the 1860s and 1870s, causing many of the Dutch estates to be abandoned. As these plantations were vacated, laborers assimilated small plots of the land, replanting with more disease resistant varieties.
Sumatran coffees are known for their distinct earthy, savory characteristics which are due, in part, to the specific post-harvest processing style called Wet-Hulling, or locally known as Giling Basah.
This unique handling and drying process was introduced to Sumatra during the 1970 as a result of Japanese interest in Sumatran coffee and is largely responsible for the unmistakable flavor characteristics and the normally greenish-blue hue of the beans.
The cherries are normally harvested by hand and allowed to dry for a very short period before being taken to market with a moisture content of between 30–50% and with their mucilage still partially intact. The coffee is then combined and the parchment is removed while the moisture content is still high. After the hulling, the coffee is dried to a more standard 11–13% before preparing for export.
The Wet-Hulled process was designed to speed up drying in a climate that experiences heavy rain and cloudy conditions most of the year. Removing the parchment layer allows the coffee to dry much faster on patios or tarps despite the wet conditions.
Aceh/Gayo, Lintong, Takengon/Bener Meriah
Bourbon, Catimor, Caturra, Tim Tim
Wet-Hulled (aka Giling Basah)
October – June