Brick & Mortar Coffee is a relatively new enterprise in Springfield, Missouri, which is a few hours to the south of me in Kansas City. It’s not terribly far from the part of Arkansas where one of my favorite roasters, Onyx Coffee Lab. For years I’ve been wanting to go to Whitaker Point (a really cool crag of rock that just out over a beautiful valley), too, which is right in the same area, so a three-day weekend of coffee, hiking and photography is definitely in the cards for me!
Today’s coffee from the trio that BMC sent me (and look at that beautiful presentation with the rustic twine, Mason jars and hand-stamped and hand-written labels!) is their current offering from Sumatra. This coffee is grown in the Jambi region on the slopes of Mt. Kerinci, the tallest mountain (actually a volcano) on the large island of Sumatra. This area is located just south and on the western side of Sumatra, quite a ways from the other Sumatrans I’ve had this year which have all been from North Sumatra. This coffee is wet-hulled, comprised of multiple varietals and grows in the 1400masl range. You can buy this coffee directly from Brick & Mortar Coffee for $20/8oz jar and their jars would make exceptional holiday gift ideas for any discerning coffee geek!
Brick & Mortar gives the tasting notes of, “full body, grapefruit, walnut” for this coffee and I agree on some points. This is definitely a full-bodied coffee. I prepared all of my samples using my trusty 1:15 ratio (30g of coffee, 450g of water, 30 second bloom, 4:00 total from start to finish) in my Gino dripper using unbleached Kalita 185 filters and it produced a heavy, dense coffee. I’ve been drinking a lot of full-flavored, yet light-bodied coffees as of late, so this heavy Sumatran was just what I needed, especially coinciding with our first real cold snap of the year here in KC! This coffee really lays down like a blanket over my palate, with particular density at the back of my tongue and throat and the aftertaste goes on for days.
This was a hard coffee for me to describe I think mainly because I don’t drink a lot of Indonesian coffees and so my frame of reference is smaller. A heavy-bodied coffee usually gets that way because of a lot of sweetness, and this is a sweet coffee, but there is plenty of brightness on the acidity side of things, too. Because of that heavy body and sweetness and citric nature of the acidity, it reminded me a lot of the feel and flavor of drinking orange juice. The acidity sort of attacked the back of my tongue and cheeks like OJ would, too. There is a flavor component in the cup that I had a lot of trouble coming up with descriptors for. It seemed “bready” to me, like a rye or pumpernickel, but not really. It had this really grain-like component but it wasn’t really bread, at the same time. When I made my links to the coffee above and finally read what Brick & Mortar said about this coffee, I think the walnut flavor is what I was perceiving but not able to describe very well. Maybe it was conjuring a dense walnut bread or something in my brain? But once I saw that description is really clicked into place and I would say the walnut component is a major part of the flavor of this coffee. I might be nuts (haha, walnuts, get it? LOL) but I feel like this coffee had a slight numbing effect on the back of my tongue and throat, too. Who knows?
Because I only seem to get a Sumatran coffee once every 3-4 months I seem to always like them because they are such a different change of pace compared to the South and Central Americans and Africans I drink so much of. The flavors in Sumatran coffees are always different and hard to suss out for me, so it’s a welcome challenge and the sheer weight and density of the cups is always great fun, too. This one is gorgeous to look at with a beautiful roast (not often the case with wet-hulled coffees) and the big beans and heavy flavors make, like I said, a wonderful presentation for a gift for that coffee geek on your list!