Origin Story: Indonesia Sumatra Kerenci Natural
Producer: 320 members of Koerintji Barokah Bersama Cooperative
Region: Kerinci, Sumatra
Varieties: Andung Sari, Sigarar Utang
Elevation: 1400-1700 masl
Wet Mill: n/a
Dry Mill: Koerintji Barokah Bersama
This coffee is produced on the Indonesian island of Sumatra by 320 members of a farming cooperative, the Koerintji Barokah Bersama Cooperative. Located at the foot of Mount Kerinci, they are a prime example of a growing trend on Sumatra of farmers organizing themselves into cooperatives. In the past, farmers did not have much leverage to help themselves get better prices for their cherry or parchment. With the advent of cooperatives, they can share resources, organize training, and negotiate better prices. Farmers in cooperatives also receive technical support and seedlings for shade trees for on and around the farm. To join the coop, a producer pays a one-time membership fee of around 400 dollars (5 million rupiahs). To streamline the operation, there is an agriculturalist providing technical assistance to make sure the standard operation procedures are applied while processing at the different stations. As of 2019, contributing farmers receive 9,500 rupiahs per kg of cherry. The result is that members of the coop have a fixed buyer for their cherries, and the profit of the coop at the end of the year is either invested in infrastructure to upscale quality or is shared with the producers.
The Koerintji Barokah Bersama Cooperative is managed by Triyono, who leads members in processing and roasting their own coffee. They have a fully outfitted roasting facility, including a cupping lab, which is next to a dry mill. This is especially impressive considering the cooperative was founded in mid-2017! Indonesia is known for its unique ‘Wet Hulled’ Process (Giling Basah), but Tryiono and his team are expanding Indonesia’s coffee processing traditions.
This natural lot is a fantastic example of this expansion. The cherry is rigorously sorted before being dried on dome-enclosed raised beds that protect it from weather extremes. There it is sorted again and turned regularly to ensure even drying. When dry, the coffee is milled and sorted by hand.
A little about farm life on Sumatra: almost all farms on Sumatra are small; on average, farms are between 0.5 to 2.5 hectares. Coffee is usually the primary cash crop for farmers, but most also intercrop their trees alongside vegetables, potatoes and fruit. This intercropped produce will make up a substantial part of the family’s diet for the year. During the harvest season, coffee is handpicked, with labor usually supplied by the immediate family.
In addition to growing coffee as a cash crop, many smallholder farmers also work at hired laborers at the nearby tea plantations. Tea is also a huge crop in the area. The bigger tea plantations are often near coffee farms. When the harvest is finished, coffee farmers will go there and pick leaves under contracted labor.
Photos and sourcing information courtesy of Sucafina Specialty.