This fresh crop of Sumatra Mandheling FTO has all the characteristics you would expect -- low acid, flashes of bitter with sweet, bourbon-like complexity, herbal notes, spice, smooth, rich, not musty, great lingering aftertaste. This is grade 1 Sumatra but don't expect that to mean that the beans will look pretty. Sumatra Mandheling is not sorted by size, and you will find the broken beans and defects that are typical for this coffee. But don't judge a bean by it's unroasted appearance! Sumatra Mandehling is our 2nd best selling coffee every year, and we always keep it in stock. The rich full body in darker roasts make it a crowd favorite, and this lot has a nice balance of flavor and earthy notes. Take it dark and you get complexity, body, and smoky characteristics with tobacco and hints of spices and roots. Keep it more of a medium roast and you get sweeter and more pronounced herbal notes (think sasaparilla root or licorice root). Blend the two roasts together if you want, and that works too. Sumatra coffee is inherently one of the easiest to roast; it is very forgiving and has so much body that you get a decent cup no matter what you do to it.
I like it roasted about 40 seconds into second cracks (20 seconds into rolling 2nds) where you get a rich dark dessert coffee, but you can go darker still, and you can certainly go lighter. It’s really hard to produce a “bad roast” of Sumatra. Put it in your espresso to give it body. Drink it all day and don’t worry about heartburn — it’s very low acid. The beans will not all be an even color, but this is due to the wet-hulled processing that most Indonesian coffees go through. You'll see some lighter shades and darker shades, but it is perfectly normal with wet-hulled beans.
Sumatra has two pickings a year, and the yields from the last two crops have been well below average; so prices are very high as there is not enough supply to meet demand. However, the upcoming harvest is looking good! Hopefully prices on Sumatra will slowly come back down to normal starting in Oct-Nov 2018 and going into the spring harvest.
USA arrival: August 2018