Sumatra Mandheling Kuda Mas roasted coffee beans

Sumatra Mandheling Kuda Mas roasted coffee beans

Sumatra Mandheling Kuda Mas is the 'drink it any time, day or night' coffee. Give it to non-coffee drinkers. Probably babies, even.

It tastes like dark chocolate, dark caramel, and darkish berries.

Quick notes

  • Kuda Mas grows at elevations up to 5,000 feet and as low as 2,500 feet above sea level.

  • Mandheling is a trading name for Arabic coffee from northern Sumatra, named after the Mandailing people who produce coffee in the Tapanuli region of Sumatra. Mandheling coffee comes from Northern Sumatra and Aceh.

  • "Kuda Mas" means golden horse in Bahasa, the official language of Indonesia.

  • Sumatran coffee is wet hulled after picking – more on that below.

A very short history of Sumatran coffee

The history of coffee cultivation in Sumatra dates back to the 18th century, during the Dutch colonial period. In 1696, the Dutch governor in Malabar sent Arabica coffee seedlings from Yemen to the Dutch governor of Batavia, but the first shipment failed due to flooding. However, the second shipment was successful and the coffee plants began to grow. The first exports of Sumatran coffee were sent from Java to Europe in 1711 by the Dutch East India Company, and by the end of the 18th century, coffee drinking had spread from the elite to the general population. Sumatra was an important coffee supplier in the world until the 1840s, when Brazil took over as the top producer.

During the colonial period, Indonesian farmers were forced to grow coffee under the Cultuurstelsel system, which was highly exploitative and caused great hardship for farmers. However, in the mid-1870s, the Dutch East Indies expanded coffee-growing areas in Sumatra, Bali, Sulawesi, and Timor. While coffee rust disease devastated the Arabica Typica cultivar in 1876, Robusta coffee was introduced as a substitute and became the primary coffee crop in southern Sumatra by the 1920s.

Today, more than 90% of Indonesia's coffee is grown by smallholders on farms averaging around one hectare. While Sumatra remains an important coffee-producing region, its coffee has not always been popular in the past. However, some production is organic, and many farmers' cooperatives and exporters are internationally certified to market organic coffee.

Kuda Mas tasting notes

The Sumatra Mandheling 'Kuda Mas' is a top-tier coffee that ranks among the world's finest beans. It boasts exceptional qualities and a prominent presence in the cup that make it a must-try for any coffee enthusiast. As a single-origin offering (aren’t they all at Dancing Goat), it showcases a remarkable complexity that can stand on its own, while also adding a perfect touch to high-quality blends. The coffee has a syrupy richness and a buttery fullness that coats the palate, leaving a long-lasting impression of cedar, pepper spice, roast caramel, and spiced fruits.

With its intense, earthy character and notes of smooth bittersweet dark chocolate, dark caramel, and spiced fruit, the Kuda Mas Mandheling is a complex and full-bodied coffee that suits a variety of brewing methods. It excels as an espresso, delivering depth and character, and also contributes sweetness and fullness to blends, even at medium roast levels. Overall, this coffee is a versatile and exceptional choice that embodies the best of Sumatra's coffee heritage.

A bit about the wet hulling process

Wet hulling is the most commonly used processing method for coffee in Sumatra, Indonesia. This method involves removing the cherry skin, fermenting the beans, washing off the mucilage, partially drying them, removing the parchment, and drying the beans further for exportation. This process results in coffees with muted flavors and aromas, but a full body and low acidity, often characterized by earthy, spicy, wild, mossy, and mushroomy notes. Wet hulling is distinct from natural processing methods used in other parts of the world, such as Ethiopia.


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