Notes: Not entirely typical for a Sumatra, but a revelation: an almost Latin-American brightness up front before the deep Sumatra tones prevail through a broad, deep, sweet vanilla-tinged center. Amazing range. Processed by traditional Sumatra methods.
Blind Assessment: Not entirely typical for a Sumatra, but something of a revelation: an almost Latin-American brightness up front before the deep Sumatra tones prevail, pulling us down into a broad, deep, sweet vanilla-tinged center. An amazing range, from the fleeting floral top notes to a pungently rich bottom, plus a long, satisfying development that carries straight through to the vanilla memories in the aftertaste.
Who should drink it: Lovers of the great Latin-American coffees who want to diversify. Although the acidity here is not nearly as powerful as in a good Guatemala or Costa Rica, there is enough to elevate and stretch the deep Sumatra profile.
Gotta totally agree with this review. The brew is wicked good! Oddly, I really don't like chewing on the roasted beans as much as I like chewing on the roasted beans of several other coffees (Guatemala La Tacita, for instance)
Notes: Specially prepared Sumatras used to be a very, very difficult thing to find. Michael Sivetz, who basically invented the concept of air roasting that many home roaster's employ, has a section in his book Coffee Quality that bemoans the poor preparation of "Grade 1" Sumatras. But it is also true that the inclusion of unattractive coffee in some of those Mandhelings gives them their "oomph!" Take them out and you can actually have an overly-prepped Sumatra, a cup without the exotic "forest floor" earthiness and deep husky flavors that define the origin character of this coffee. That's the danger of the Triple Picks. What do I mean by Triple Pick and Super Prep.? Simply that the coffee has undergone obvious and extensive hand-sorting beyond the norm, and it is clear when you see it beside a Grade 1 Mandheling. (But if you really love Sumatras, cup them side by side ... you may like the less refined Grade 1 DP flavors more!) From the mildest Triple Pick, probably the Batak of late '02, to the Iskandar, the TP coffees are refined, but not neutralized. They have a healthy dose of pungent spice, tarry astringency, and a touch of earth; but they also have a nip of brightness to balance the cup, butterscotch roast tastes, and an unmistakable fruitiness that ties the bright end of the cup together. Actually, I am describing a specific coffee that I am now enjoying: the Sumatra Mandheling DP (dry-process) Super Prep. It's a smaller bean size than the Iskandar, but every bit as perfect with dark opalescent color. The flavors on the palate are excellent and you can really roast this quite light if you like (I do): the coffee will look unattractive and mottled in color if you stop it short of any sign of 2nd crack, but rest it 24 hours and enjoy ALL the true complexity of flavors in a Sumatra!
Roast: My favorite: a lighter City roast stopped before 2nd crack, with no indication at all that it reached 2nd crack -the coffee will look mottled but cup great! Like all Sumatras, it is usually roasted darker than this, and it is a great cup a bit into 2nd crack too!