By Casey McKeel
This week I’m in Sumatra visiting the farmers we work with at Permata Gayo.
On the ground in Medan, the largest city on the island of Sumatra in Indonesia, I’m traveling with Matt Earley of Just Coffee, Florent Gout of Cooperative Coffees, and other roasters from Austria, Switzerland, New Zealand and Canada. Permata Gayo, the main coffee cooperative we’ll be visiting, was founded in 2006 in the Bener Meriah district of the Aceh Province. Coopertive Coffees (the cooperative we work with to purchase our green coffee) began importing coffee from Permata in 2009 – and Thread just got our first shipment of their coffee this year! Having only just started roasting the Sumatran beans, Permata Gayo has quickly become a favorite at Red Emma’s.
We began our trip here in Medan visiting the export facility, where the next shipment of Permata Gayo is bagged and ready for export. As we cupped samples of the newest lot, coffee dried in the sun outside, and women sat in the warehouse sorting beans by hand for quality. The scene was rather surreal, especially after 27 hours of travel. But after some much needed coffee, and good conversation with these new folks I’d be travelling with, I am happy to say I look forward to what will be a very exciting and educational trip.
Tomorrow, we leave Medan and make the 12 hour drive to Aceh to meet with the farmers. Check back for updates, and visit our Tumblr page for more photos!