Stepping out of the propeller plane onto the small but brand new airport of Takengon, you are immediately surrounded by the heavy green scenery that is Aceh, North Sumatra. Everywhere you look, grass, bushes, trees and flowers in every color imaginable are covering every surface. And the coffee farms fit right in. Coffee trees are surrounded by chilli-plants and tall green trees, often bearing all types of fruit.
Most members of the Ketiara Co-operative are cutting costs and having a good time, by helping each other pick cherries during the harvest season. One day they pick on one member’s farm, the next day on other’s. And so they don’t have to spend too much money on pickers and get to talk and sing together.
That does not mean everything is rainbows and sunshine though. North Sumatra is feeling the results of climate change. The increasing heat, but also the heavier downpour during the rainy season is damaging the coffee blossom before cherry can evolve. This is especially a problem near Lake Toba, more in the Southern part of North Sumatra, where we work together with Yudi Putra, where farmers don’t have the custom of using shade trees, as they do in Aceh. They do however have more diversification; growing chilli, corn and other crops.
According to our partners, there are also more issues with phenolic cups, probably because of the rains during processing. But during our cuppings there we also found some really tasty cups, with typical lemon, licorice root and berry notes, sometimes with hints of floral.
Quality Supervisor at Trabocca.
(Picture courtesy of Rahmah – chairwoman of Ketiara Co-operative)