This was a normal Grade 1 double picked Mandheling just like we usually carry. But it was taken to Malaysia to age in a climate controlled warehouse with regular turning of the bags and moisture readings, to carefully age it for 48 months. Just like an aged cheese, the coffee has become more potent and intense.
This is the same lot of beans that we sold last year as Aged Sumatra, and it was the only one I can find to purchase. Instead of being discounted for being old, the price had gone up. If a coffee is already 4 years old does it matter if its 5 years old? I don't know. It tastes and roasts the same as last year, so it doesn't seem to matter that it came into the states a year ago.
Starbucks uses Aged Sumatra as the primary bean in their Holiday and Christmas Blend every year. It is pungent, aromatic, 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. This one is sweet and spicy without any old, cardboardy flavors -- it is exactly 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. You can absolutely drink it straight, but it is so flavorful that you may want to blend something with it to mute it a little bit. I like 20% of Sulawesi with it, because it has a very similar taste but mellows it out a little bit. 20% of regular Sumatra or Guatemala or Uganda works as well. 10%-20% of any light roast will also 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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