This is the fourth year for us working with Wildan Mustofa and his family. Wildan is the entrepreneur and producer. His son Fikri recently graduated from university and is involved in processing and operations, while Wildan’s wife, Atieq, manages the financial side of the business.
We also began a new project in Indonesia this year with a Cooperative called Alko Coop in Kerinchi. We had help from a local friend, David Irawan, who managed the processing, quality control at site and follow up with the coop. We ended up with a great 25-bag lot of naturals after some trial and error.
In Indonesia there are few producers working with the quality we seek so it’s not possible to buy the coffees we want off the shelf. Instead we have to plan up front of the season, pre-book the preparation and volumes, and commit to the purchase. When I went to Indonesia in June, that’s what I was preparing.
We have a good range of different cultivars such as Sigararutang, Ateng Super, Andung Sari and Borbor as well as lots with mixed local varieties. We are also doing different processes. We know Indonesian coffee can have a bad reputation in our market segment, but we think these coffees can be a great compliment to any menu. They work well as filters and espressos, the shelf life so far has been great, and we know the lot separation and quality control on processing and drying from the producers we work with definitely helps.
Lactic acid and anaerobic fermentation experiments
Besides the washed coffees and different single varieties, we started with a series of experimental lots of naturals this year. The project is with Wildan at Frinsa Estate. Together we decided on several processes and committed to buy certain volumes. The idea here is basically to develop processing techniques that can be replicated on scale.
Several years ago Wildan started to use small amounts of lactic bacteria in the fermentation of his washed coffees. The experimental lots we committed to buying this year include anaerobic fermentation of cherries and the use of lactic bacterias and saccharomyces. The cherry is fermented in buckets or plastic bags for 2-3 days, before being dried on raised beds or patio.
Generally we find Wildan’s coffees pretty unique and different from most other Indonesian coffees. That goes across all his coffees, including the standard washed lots. They can be everything from bright, floral and delicate, to more heavy and complex with mature fruit notes.
The experimental lots can be wild! The green coffee may look ugly to some, but to us it is beautiful. In the cup they don’t taste like coffee as you know it. Some in our team say the profile is sweet spices and candy-like fruit, others say dill, ginger and kombucha. There are definitely a lot of layers to these profiles, and the people who like them fall head over heels in love with these coffees.
Roasting these lots can be a challenge and without having the answer for you, we see that you have to think differently on your profiling. But we also see that if you manage to roast and brew them correctly, these experimental coffees can be really delicious and unique.