On a hectic tour of Northern Sumatra, after fitting a two day road trip from Lake Toba to Lake Takengon into one long odyssey, I was stopped in my tracks when I saw Mr. Birman's beans at Rahmat Ina...
On a hectic tour of Northern Sumatra, after fitting a two day road trip from Lake Toba to Lake Takengon into one long odyssey, I was stopped in my tracks when I saw Mr. Birman's beans at Rahmat Inara. Here was a Rainforest Alliance Farm that had evidently put the work in & deserved to reap the rewards.
The beans in question were that deep blue-green with a matt opacity, typical of the unique Indonesian wet-hulled process. This is where the moisture content, can remain as high as 20% even after resting in the blazing heat of the drying patio. The beans are then held in the parchment and gradually reduced to around 12%. This is the sort of 'Time-Critical' nuancing that can make or break a coffee at this stage of the process.
I was so impressed that I decided there & then to replace our old Sumatra DP which had historically been the core coffee on our lists from this region, with these glorious looking beans. As ever the trip to origin was delivering a deeper insight into coffee production and informing buying decisions to result in better quality. On this occasion I learnt that DP stood for Double Picked, referring not to picking the cherries off the shrub but the number of passes the de-hulled beans had been through by the hand selectors on the conveyor belts. So the next grade up was visibly another step up in quality at Mr. Birman's farm.
As a gesture of confidence & sustainability we have now been buying Rahmat Inara Coffee on forward contracts for over a decade. It was one of our earliest attempts at Relationship Coffee. But when the first sacks eventually arrived with us we roasted it and subsequently cupped it with bated breath but also, as it turned out, with much relief & rejoicing!
The hunch had paid off. Inara is a magnificent choice, full of dark berry intrigue & intense dark chocolate. Generous body laced with gorgeous forest fruits has repaid our faith in a great discovery. A paradigm of the Sumatran Harvest... Let's hope the relationship prospers for years to come.