Sumatran coffee is almost always processed using the Wet Hulled (semi-washed) method which gives it those classic earthiness and forest flavors. The difference with a fully washed Sumatra is that it has a much cleaner finish and less spicy notes which lets you notice more of the underlying flavors in it. You can also roast them a little bit lighter if you want to.
I personally like it best at just 5 to 10 seconds of 2nd cracks. About the same roast as what we would do with a washed Guatemala (although the Sumatra needs less heat when you roast it. It has a tendency to try to race through the roast so you have to watch it and keep it on track). At this medium roast level, you get all the great flavor and body of dark syrupy Sumatra, but none of the earthiness or smoke or burnt tastes. In a french press, I pick out definite notes of pretzels beneath the rich body. There's some saltiness, like salted caramel, and there's a little bit of tangy dried fruit and butterscotch. It's quite pleasant!
The lighter roasts? Well, you still get that nice full body, and it's creamy, sweet, no earthiness at all, and it showcases some prominent herbal and roasted red pepper notes. Really dark roasts? Definitely nice, but flattens out and you lose a lot of the flavors. At that point it just tastes like a clean triple-sorted Sumatra with some of that smoky sweetness back. Either way, it's a fun coffee to try since it's so rare to see a fully washed bean out of Sumatra.
This particular one is an experimental microlot from the village of Pantan Musara in the Gayo region.
Arrival February 2021