I’ve drunk a ton of natural coffee and I’ve had my fair share of Sumatran coffees, too, but this may be the first natural from Sumatra that I’ve gotten my hands on! This morning’s coffee was roasted by Volcanista Coffee Co. located in Atlantic Beach, FL. Florida has a nice little specialty coffee scene going down there and I had some nice selections from Volcanista earlier in the year, too. I’m excited to share this unique coffee with you, so read on!
VOLCANISTA COFFEE CO. SUMATRA WAHANA ESTATE NATURAL
Wahana Estate is located in the Sidikalang sub-district in North Sumatra. The very northern end of Sumatra is Aceh, also a popular coffee-growing region whose name some of you may recognize. The estate sits around 1200-1500masl and the wet weather along with relatively cool temperatures (as well as more than 10°C temperature shifts between day and night), creates a lot of sugars in their coffee cherries. The estate covers 468 hectares and has been in operation since 2005, with coffee plantations, mills, nursery, composting, vegetable farms, guest houses and more on-site. The varietal of this coffee is Rasuna and another (maybe the same?) natural Rasuna from this estate, roasted by Indonesia’s Tanamara Coffee has won silver medal two years in a row in the Australian International Coffee Awards. I can assure you those Aussies know their coffee! Doing a little more digging into that link, it looks like Tanamara’s silver for the Wahana natural was as a French press preparation method, but this coffee has potential for espresso written all over it for me!
Volcanista tells us that this is a fruity and juicy coffee from Sumatra with notes of fruit punch, strawberry and chocolate. Most coffee from Sumatra is wet-hulled, which is a method somewhat unique to that part of the world and that creates some very unusual coffees. Because of the amount of rainfall, I’m guessing, naturals are rare from Indonesia, and as I said above, I think this is the first I’ve had. It has a solidly medium roast level and as always I used my 1:16 ratio of 28g of coffee to 450g of water in a notNeutral Gino pourover with Kalita 185 filters. This coffee blooms up nice and puffy and looks like a chocolate muffin waiting to be eaten while it does so!
The dry grounds have a fragrance very reminiscent of an Ethiopian natural with lots of sweet strawberry in the nose. The strawberry note persists along with some cocoa in the aroma from the brewed cup. This coffee strikes a nice balance between brightness and fruitiness and darker, roast tones from Volcanista’s roast level. There is a candy-like quality to the fruits in the cup, with strawberry and some melon notes intermingled and lots of sweetness and presence in the body. This coffee sits fairly heavily on the palate, which is nice. There is a bit of roastiness around the edges of the sip and some chocolate tones into the slightly dry finish and aftertaste, which lingers for quite a while. Even with the chocolate notes and relatively dark roast this cup retains a lot of brightness and acidity along with those fruity sweet flavors.
I don’t get much, if any ferment from this coffee and it has a pretty clean profile overall for me, so this is somewhat of a contradiction being both a natural AND a Sumatran coffee! I really enjoyed this. I’ve had a handful of solidly-medium roasted coffees lately that are super sweet and have nice heavy body while still retaining a lot of fruitiness and brightness and this balance is really exciting to me. Volcanista nailed it with this coffee and once I get the new valve ball for my new-to-me 1988 Gaggia 2-switch Coffee I’ll be running this as espresso and will get to check that out!