Bold, big body, roundly bittersweet carob, caraway seed & fresh earth, medium acidity, heavy body & smokey, tobacco finish.
Processing: Semi - Washed & Sun Dried
Altitude: 1200 - 1600 M.A.S.L.
Harvest: October to June
12 oz. Handcrafted Fair Trade/Organic Coffee
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.
Years of civil war plagued this region, causing many farmers to abandon their land and flee to the neighboring city of Medan. However, after a powerful tsunami hit the coastal region of northern Sumatra in 2014, the most devastating of its kind in modern times, peace accords were signed, ending a generation of violence and allowing many to return to their land.
Permata Gayo Cooperative was founded in 2006, when 50 farmers from 5 villages of the Bener Meriah district of the Aceh Province came together to discuss how to rebuild their abandoned coffee farms. They were successful in increasing their membership and achieved organic certification in 2007 and fair-trade certification from FLO-Cert in 2009. They have brought the full process of coffee production from farmer to final export under one roof, thus improving quality, and guaranteeing more traceability from Aceh to roaster.
Today the cooperative is made up of roughly 3,100 producers from 34 different rural villages in Aceh, where 13 different languages are used in the region. Each farmer harvests the red ripe cherries before turning them into their village’s “kolector” who pays 70% of the coffee’s value as a down payment. The kolector will then depulp the coffee, let it ferment in a pile for 15-20 hours, before washing off the mucilage, and drying it down to 50% humidity and delivering it to the main collection warehouse in the Bener Merah District, near Takengon. The warehouse first dries it to 40% humidity before hulling the coffee, then drying it again down to 13% humidity. This process is unique and is one of the factors that gives Sumatra beans their dark bluish green color. Once the coffee is exported and sold, the remaining payment is distributed back to the farmer.
Permata Gayo has used their Fair Trade Premiums each year for projects that have been voted on by the General Assembly meetings in a democratic process. Some funds have gone to help in the areas of technical assistance within villages while other years the FT Premium has been used to preserving the local culture, in music, song and dance. In 2012 Permata Gayo organized classes, paid for tailored costumes, and had an instructor teach adults and children about traditional dances and songs to preserve their cultures that were being forgotten or ignored by new generations.
Fair Trade has also been instrumental in providing information about environmental quality and health. One member states, “Before Fair Trade membership, we didn’t care about the dangers of pesticides and chemicals. But with Fair Trade we received training and have reduced their use on the farm. We’ve learned they are not good for our health, so we don’t use them anymore.”
Permata Gayo supports its sister cooperative KOKOWAGAYO with training and export services, guaranteeing consistent and exceptional quality. While the concept of an all-women’s cooperative in the region is innovative in the primarily Muslim Ache region, it is a natural progression as girls receive equal education and women business leaders become increasingly prevalent.