This crop of Sumatra Peaberries comes from the northern part of the island up by Lake Toba, grown by the Batak people and trademarked as Blue Batak because of the blueish hue of the beans when they are fresh. But these beans were then taken to Malaysia to age in a climate controlled warehouse with regular turning of the bags and moisture readings, to carefully age it for 36 months.
Starbucks uses Aged Sumatra as the primary bean in their Holiday and Christmas Blend every year. It is pungent, intense, full bodied with notes of cedar and spice. It's a mug of coffee that tastes great with holiday foods and spices like pumpkin pie or cinnamon rolls. The aging process has turned the beans brownish -- they look more like Decaf. If the aging goes poorly, you end up with coffee that tastes old -- paper/cardboard tastes. But when done well, you end up with an extra intense Sumatra. We sampled a few aged Sumatras before that just tasted old -- not "aged" But we sampled this one, and this is how it should taste!
This is not a light roast coffee, but it's an easy bean to roast. You have to take it at least to the 2nd cracks. I give it 11 degrees past the beginning of the 2nd cracks (about 25 seconds) and enjoy the smooth, full bodied, tobacco cedar flavor with a cinnamon spicy bite. You can go a little darker or lighter then this without too much change in taste. It is so flavorful and intense, that you may want to blend something with it to mute it a little bit. We tried putting in 20% of Guatemala, and that was good. 10%-20% of any mild or sweet coffee will balance it out.
It is equally interesting as a component in espresso. We are enjoying different experiments of blends using this bean, and the espresso turns out pungent, smooth, and satisfying.
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