Sumatra - Permata Gayo
Rising abruptly from the coastal plains of Sumatra’s northern-most province, the mountains of Aceh Tengah (Central Aceh) are the historical home to the Gayonese people. The ideal growing conditions of this region have supported the long history and unique quality reputation of “Gayo Mountain” coffee.
Most coffee grown in this area has followed a similar, traditional route: the farmer sells his coffee cherry to “collectors” at the going street price – who in turn de-pulp, wash and dry the coffee to asalan, or 20% humidity in parchment, before selling it to a centralized buyer in Takengon. The commercial buyers in turn negotiate a price with an exporter and truck the coffee down the mountain to the southern province of North Sumatra. Final processing occurs in the commercial plants in the coastal city of Medan, before shipping it out of the port at Belewan. In this scenario, the individual farmer rarely knows at what price his coffee was finally sold, nor where it will end up.
Permata Gayo was founded in 2006 in the Bener Meriah district of the Aceh Province, with the intention of changing history. In bringing the full process from farmer to final export under one roof, Permata Gayo is able to regain more control over each step of the way to improve quality, communications and direct sales, and to achieve their ultimate objective – sharing a bigger portion of the final price back to the farmers themselves.
Cooperative Coffees began importing coffee from Permata in 2009. During these short five years, we have already seen incredible strides forward by members and staff to strengthen their internal structures and continually improve their quality control. With 36 villages and distinct processing centers, it is a constant challenge to maintain consistency. However, during our annual visits to Sumatra, we have seen well-equipped facilities, clean fermentation tanks, well- calibrated de-pulping machines, expanded drying patios, and a marked improvement in the attention given to coffee processing each step along the way: from cherry collection to final sorting and lot selection. Permata Gayo farmers are well informed about market expectations and are proud to know where their coffee is sold and of roaster and customer appreciation of their efforts.
With a characteristic quality profile of medium acidity, sweet and earthy flavors with hints of green pepper and dark walnut, a syrupy, full body and long, lingering finish, this is a popular coffee as single origin and an irreplaceable element in many of our blends.