Flavor: Smooth and Earthy with Deep, Syrupy Body and Sweet Herbal Notes
Starbucks spends a lot of time in coffee origin countries searching for the finest coffee beans. Only a precious few are deemed exceptional enough to become Starbucks Reserve® coffees. These intriguing offerings are available for limited times at select stores.
Sumatra Blue Batak hails from the Lintong region of Sumatra, an island in western Indonesia, just south of the large volcanic Lake Toba. The coffee takes its name from the Batak tribe who live together in architecturally-distinct homes with pointed roofs and upsweeping roof ridges.
“In May of 2013, I had the opportunity to travel to the island of Sumatra on an Origin Experience trip. Sumatra is full of rustic beauty, but presents a challenging environment for coffee production. Combine the lush rolling landscape with the primitive road system and you have a journey on your hands,” said Leslie Wolford, Starbucks senior green coffee specialist. “It is a very unique supply chain where the humid tropical climate can wreak havoc on coffee quality quickly if not managed properly.”
Coffee is a nearly year-round crop due to the rain patterns and two different growing regions. Originating from trees grown in their backyards, farmers pick the cherries in the morning, hand pulp it immediately and give the coffee a quick rinse before placing it on drying mats to begin drying. After the ripest cherries are handpicked, they’re painstakingly wet-hulled in small batches. The unique processing method, which requires constant attention due to the humid climate, gives the unroasted beans a distinct blue tint.
Wet-hulling is removing parchment skin of wet processed coffee while beans are still moist. Most coffees keep the parchment intact through to the end of final drying stage and into storage, but wet-hulling removes parchment when the coffee is wet and is sun-dried without parchment. This process gives the coffee its distinctive blue green color and unique flavor characteristics.
The end result are incredible flavors that are earthy, yet smooth with a deep satisfying syrupy body and sweet herbal notes. A labor of love is what it takes to get a great cup of Sumatra Blue Batak into the hands of customers.