The Batak people from Northern and Central Sumatra have been producing coffee around the Lake Toba region since coffee was first brought to Indonesia in the late 1600s. The "Blue Batak" coffees come from a collaboration of a hundred small-holder producers around the end of the lake in the Lintong region, between 1200-1600 meters above sea level. Here, the volcanic soil and wonderful rainfalls contribute to deeply intense coffees with higher acidity levels than other coffees from Sumatra. Java, Jember and Catimor are among the varieties grown in this fruitful region. Blue Batak coffees are traditionally semi-washed or wet-hulled, where seeds still in their parchment are semi-dried, then stripped and fully dried on outdoor patios. Using the wet-hull process allows for a healthy dose of the mucilage, sugars and alcohols to be absorbed into the cell structure of the coffee bean during the drying process.
This process creates the incredibly sweet and heavy-bodied cup synonymous with Indonesian Blue Batak coffee. The beans go from a swollen greenish-white to the hard darker green or bluish beans we see before roasting. As Blue Batak coffee is semi-washed and triple-picked, this careful attention to quality is evident in the uncharacteristically clean and uniform blue-green beans. During the milling process, experienced staff cup the coffees and, using modern equipment, sort the coffee to meet rigid quality standards. This coffee is clean and consistent with sweet blackberry, fresh tobacco, new leather, black pepper and aromatic cedar in the cup.