Region: Dolok Sanggul, Lintong, North Sumatra
Altitude: 4,000 - 5,000 feet
Variety: Arabe, Bergendal, Jember, Typica
Process: Wet Hulled, Aged 36 Months
Flavors of sandalwood, fresh pipe tobacco, caramel and Meyer lemon.
Like our Sumatra Tano Batak, this unique coffee also hails from the ethnic Batak region of North Sumatra. This coffee has been aged for 36 months! Not to be confused with the new trend of conditioning unroasted coffee in whiskey barrels and the like, this traditional aged coffee is stored in a facility dedicated to the aging process. The coffee was processed in Dolok Sanggul which is located southwest of Lake Toba within the famous Lintong coffee growing region. As with the Tano Batak, this lot was processed using the wet-hulled method, an unorthodox technique that involves removal of the coffee’s parchment layer before the coffee is fully dried. Finish drying takes place in the green bean form in the island capital of Medan, a practice unheard of in most of the world’s coffee producing countries. The coffee was then sorted into a peaberry grade lot, bagged, shipped to Singapore where the aging process took place. Peaberries result when the coffee fruit develops just one oval bean rather than the usual pair of flat-sided beans.
On the rare occasion an aged coffee offer lands on our cupping table, we typically dismiss it due to listlessness in the cup and an overabundance of dry wood and papery flavor. With this lot however, we were pleasantly surprised to find plenty of life in the cup – sweet fruit and pipe tobacco mix with a heady aroma of sandalwood. We couldn’t pass it up.
The name Ulos comes from the traditional cloth of the Batak people of North Sumatra. It is made from cotton and colored with bark, grass, roots, and leaves. According to Batak people, there are three sources of warmth; sun, fire, and Ulos. Worn in traditional ceremonies, Ulos is believed to have a magical power to protect its use.