Permata is a sub-district of the Bener Meriah district in Aceh Province, Sumatra, Indonesia. The Permata Gayo Co-operative was formed in 2006 to promote organic coffee agriculture and to acquire Fair Trade benefits for its members. Now you know where, and who, and why, so lets move on to what and how!
The "what", of course, is coffee. That coffee is a mix of Mandheling Typica, Bourbon, Catimor, and Timor Hybrid. The "how" is an organically grown coffee, raised in an andisol soil (volcanic) at an elevation of between 1400 and 1500 meters above sea level. The coffee is harvested between September and June and is exported between October and July. That means our offering was picked at approximately mid-harvest, the point many people think is the peak time to get the best of the crop.
And now the "how" gets a little more complex. Well, so does the coffee for that matter. Our Mandheling offering is a dry processed coffee. Simply said, in this method the fruit is allowed to dry on the seed and is then mechanically removed. The Permata Gayo, however, is wet-hulled, or semi-dry processed. This means the skin of the coffee cherry is removed and then the coffee seed is allowed to dry to a moisture content of 18-20% with the fruit attached. Then the fruit is removed and the seeds are sun dried on raised tables. Finally the hull is mechanically removed. This leads to a lower acidity coffee with lots of body. It also leads to a complex flavor profile--that is "coffeespeak" for lots of things happening to your taste buds all at the same time.
To give you an idea of what we mean between a "complex" coffee and a "straight forward" coffee, imagine two balls. With the straight forward coffee, think of a golf ball. It basically moves in one general direction. It may reach a significant height and may be dead on target--very pleasing to the person who hit it, or in our case, the person who drank it. For the complex coffee, imagine a pin ball. All over the place, rapidly, but setting off all kinds of bells and lights and racking up a lot of points. That's what the flavors are doing inside your mouth. Frankly some people find it confusing, chaotic, and distracting. Others just can't get enough.
Not only do the flavors of Permata Gayo coffee seem to change even as you swallow, but they are changing as the cup cools. If that's not enough, it changes by how dark you choose to roast it. This is a bold coffee. It cups "cleaner" than the Mandheling and the earthiness is not as pronounced. Instead the ripe fruit sweetness comes to the forefront. Along with about a dozen other flavors! But maybe it is a coffee mean to enjoy, not to analyze. So kick back, call up a friend, and pour a cup!
Arrival Date: December 10, 2013
Attributes: Rich and complex. Clear sweetness, moderately crisp acidity.
Bean Size: Medium large, but lots of odd shaped and broken beans (normal and expected)
Chaff Content: Average
Dominant Cup Characteristic: Full bodied complexity.
Environmental Factors: Organic (also Fair Trade)
Flavor Traits: Cocoa tones. pipe tobacco, leather, ripe stone fruit and rich earth
Growing Conditions: Shade grown, hand picked sun dried
Hardness of the Bean: Dense. Will handle dark roasting well if you prefer.
Processing: Wet hulled then sun dried
Roasting: Start with a Full City (Medium Dark), or just up to the second crack. This coffee takes a bit longer to roast, owing to the higher moisture content. It will roast unevenly, but that's expected--it contributes to the exceptional complexity so don't cull the odd beans. You can roast this coffee darker if you wish, but it will mute the crispness and change the flavors.
Recommendation: For people who enjoy a bold, complex cup. Priscilla says this is the coffee you should serve to company! A delightful cup to linger over.
Reminder: This coffee is raw. You have to roast it before brewing.
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