Regions and Coffees of Note for Single Origin Coffees in Indonesia: Sumatra

Posted on May 17, 2012

Regions and Coffees of Note for Single Origin Coffees in Indonesia: Sumatra

The large island of Indonesia lying in the Indian Ocean to the west of the rest of the archipelago, Sumatra is a major source of single origin coffees for those who enjoy coffee from the region. It could be argued that Sumatra’s close proximity to southeast Asia (Thailand, Vietnam, etc.) actually make it an Asian locality. However, Sumatra’s flavors and coffees carry a distinctive Indonesian flavor that is often hard to miss.

Mandheling: Also commonly known as Sumatra Mandheling coffee, this coffee is named for the Mandailing people in the north of Sumatra. Typically Mandheling is a dry processed coffee, it is wet hulled (meaning that only the outer hull of the coffee is wet-washed for removal and the rest is dry processed), which makes the coffee variety that much more unique. Typically, this type of coffee is grown within about a half a mile to a mile above sea level and roasted to a medium to dark or dark roast in order to fully realize its flavors, which are considerable.

  • Bean description: Rich and complex with flavors that hint of everything from chocolate to licorice, this is a great source of Indonesian coffee flavor. Typically a darker roast suits this coffee bean well, such as a French roast.

Lintong: Also named for influence in northern Sumatra – though this time, it is not named for a people but for a district – Lintong is produced near Lake Toba. It’s important to note that Lintong does not refer to any one single origin other than various coffees around the Lake Toba region, which means there can be a high degree of variability in the type of Lintong coffee you acquire.

  • Bean description: Considered a low-acid, medium-bodied coffee, Lintong has a classic “earthy” coffee aroma that many people enjoy. The beans can vary in processing methods since “Lintong” is a regional market name and not necessarily referring to any specific type of cultivation style. Highly regarded by coffee lovers.