When we opened our doors 6 years ago we found ourselves immersed in the larger coffee community through The Specialty Coffee Association and their annual events, SCA Expo. Over the years as we attended these events we became more familiar with many folks in the industry, one of which being David Hong. Dave’s energy and passion for coffee was apparent from our first meeting and was truly contagious. When I (Luke) first met Dave he was roasting coffee for the one and only Cafe Vita in Seattle, WA. As we got to know each other over the years, Dave transitioned into green buying for a multitude of importers, importing coffees from all over the world. In 2018, Dave made the decision to start his own importing company focusing on high-quality coffees from South East Asia, and Green Bean Asia was born.
Dave has done an unbelievable job sourcing coffees from this part of the world, and with his help we are so excited to bring you THREE coffees from Sumatra. We are calling this box-set of coffees “The TROGON Series”, each coffee coming to us from the same growing region in Sumatra – highlighting different processing methods with each lot. All coffees I the box set are available individually, but we recommend buying the box set to truly appreciate the nuance of flavors in each lot.
First off – Trogon? Why that name for the series? Well, the Trogon is a tropical Sumatran bird that are considered by many to be “the most beautiful of birds”. These birds have a long-standing mystery behind them as we still don’t know if they have any close relatives but maybe they are on its own position. Trogons are very seldom seen, reclusive and little is known about their biology. They are native and close to where our coffees are grown so Dave felt they were perfect to be the mascot for GBA’s Signature Sumatra coffees.
Let’s take a look at what makes each one of these coffees so special and unique:
This lot is a blend from two producers, Supriadi and Iwan. They are two passionate coffee producers known for their meticulous sorting and drying techniques. Their attention to detail rewards them in the cup quality. In this cup we taste notes of Cranberry, Watermelon, and Vanilla Bean.
What is the “natural” process? In the natural process, coffee fruit (often called “cherry”) is harvested from its home on a shrub or small tree. Then natural process coffees are set out straight away to dry in the sun skin-on, meaning the beans receive flavor from the fruit pulp and sugars as part of their development. Coffee will be harvested at a fully ripe state to ensure consistency, something that’s especially important in this process. This method—harvest, then dried in the sun with the skin-on—is markedly different from what’s popularly known as the “washed” process, where a coffee is run through depulping machines and washing channels to have the fruit removed and the beans inside cleaned of any fruit and sticky mucilage. PURCHASE ONLINE HERE
What is “Anaerobic Natural?” It is the process above, with a different fermentation method! Anaerobic fermentation occurs when oxygen is removed from the equation. This is done by sealing the intact coffee cherries or the de-pulped cherries in containers with water for certain amount of hours before they are dried. The coffee is sealed inside of a barrel and filled with water, with a one-way (exit) valve on the top. As the naturally incurring yeast interacts with the sugars of the coffee fruit, carbon dioxide begins to be released and creates pressure. This pressure pushes any remaining air out of the valve on the top. When oxygen is removed, yeast is forced to consume the sugars in the fruits in order to produce energy. This chemical reaction releases enzymes and can completely change the chemical composition and ultimately the flavor of the coffee. PURCHASE ONLINE HERE
This process involves the same oxygen-free fermentation process as ‘Trogon II’ – However before being placed into this fermentation stage the coffee is ‘semi-washed’ of most (if not all) of the outer fruit layer and partially stripped of the inner mucilage layer. Enzymes interact with this mucus layer slightly differently than if the outer-most fruit layer was still present, providing a unique and delicate profile for this coffee. PURCHASE ONLINE HERE
Trogon II & III come to us from a farmer named Auila – Auila is native Gayo, born and raised in Aceh Tengah. His family are all involved with coffee and he inherited a small farm. After finishing school, he started processing his own specialty coffee, but the market was mostly commercial oriented at the time. So, he decided to hunt for idocrase (vesuvianite) in Gayo instead, a precious stone in demand for jewelry. As these stones became harder to find and the specialty industry began to grow, he decided to return to processing coffee, buying cherry from his local community.
These coffees have had an incredible journey finding their way to our roaster, and we could not be more excited to bring them to you.