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Tell me your experience with Sumatra
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findingzzero
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Joined: 13 Jan 2013
Posts: 3
Location: Indianapolis
Expertise: Pro Roaster

Posted Sun Jan 13, 2013, 7:39am
Subject: Tell me your experience with Sumatra
 

I've been home roasting on and off since 2004. I remember liking Starbuck's Sumatra blend (no longer served) for its nuttiness. I've never noticed this when I home roasted. Usually Sumatra M. I've also never tasted the blueberries in Ethiopian Harrar. I have noticed the citrus inKenyan coffee. Here's my question. Someone gave me roasted beans from a local roaster (Hubbard and Cravens) marked Sumatra. It has an intense strange smell and I can't drink it straight. I've started blending it with other bean varieties (1:1) and am getting the impression that in smaller proportions, I might be capturing the flavor I remember. Am I daydreaming here (drinking bad beans) or am I on the right track? Is Sumatra more for blending than drinking straight? I've never read this.
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Iluvdabean
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Iluvdabean
Joined: 7 Mar 2005
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Location: Kentucky
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Espresso: La Nuova Era Cuadra/Gaggia...
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Posted Sun Jan 13, 2013, 10:12am
Subject: Re: Tell me your experience with Sumatra
 

I cant imagine anyone saying Sumatran is just a blending bean! No, in fact emphatically no!!! It is a varietal fully recognized within its own right. :)


findingzzero Said:

I've been home roasting on and off since 2004. I remember liking Starbuck's Sumatra blend (no longer served) for its nuttiness. I've never noticed this when I home roasted. Usually Sumatra M. I've also never tasted the blueberries in Ethiopian Harrar. I have noticed the citrus inKenyan coffee. Here's my question. Someone gave me roasted beans from a local roaster (Hubbard and Cravens) marked Sumatra. It has an intense strange smell and I can't drink it straight. I've started blending it with other bean varieties (1:1) and am getting the impression that in smaller proportions, I might be capturing the flavor I remember. Am I daydreaming here (drinking bad beans) or am I on the right track? Is Sumatra more for blending than drinking straight? I've never read this.

Posted January 13, 2013 link

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DavecUK
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Joined: 21 Sep 2005
Posts: 1,412
Location: UK
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Sun Jan 13, 2013, 1:45pm
Subject: Re: Tell me your experience with Sumatra
 

Well I wouldn't describe a correctly roasted Sumatra as nutty, earthy, low acid full bodied perhaps, but not nutty. You mention not ever having tasted the blueberries in Ethiopian Harrar. I'm not sure if you mean never as in, your home roasts, or never as in shop bought roasts. If it's home roasts, then your not roasting things right, Sumatrans and Harrar, need a little bit of correct technique to get the best flavours out. If it's shop bought Harrar that doesn't taste of blueberry notes, then I'm not really surprised, many commercial roasters are quite formulaic and roast the bejesus out of a bean, some roasts will be 6 minutes air blasted 100kg and water quenched.

A good specialist roaster with good quality greens should be able to deliver both coffees with the right flavour profiles and roast levels......(which won't be Star***s or whoever roasts for them).

P.S. You can blend a Sumatra and an Ethiopian Harrar....but I normally wouldn't.....if I did it might be a Brazilian+Sumatran. Lots of places of course blend cheap coffees (filler) with expensive ones and name the expensive variatal, Blue Mountain Blend etc..So people think blending is good. The other reason to blend is to try and maintain a consistent product taste throughout the year and year on year. Good single varietals are often best drunk as good single variatels. If after roasting you feel the need to mix a few beans up and try it out, then that's a nice way without having a whole batch you find not great.
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JKalpin
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JKalpin
Joined: 28 Dec 2008
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Posted Sun Jan 13, 2013, 3:08pm
Subject: Re: Tell me your experience with Sumatra
 

I have recently roasted 15 lbs of sumatra from 4 different estates.

It is on my list of good SO beans and I wouldn't think of blending.

I prefer roasting it to FC+ (almost Vienna).  This seems to improve the coffee taste and aroma (although it might burn away some of the fruits, leather, creosote flavours).

I did pooch a couple of roasts in the beginning by roasting too light.  I didn't notice any fruited or carmel flavours and missed the 'hit' of bitterness that I look forward to in a good coffee.

 
Jerry
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findingzzero
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Joined: 13 Jan 2013
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Location: Indianapolis
Expertise: Pro Roaster

Posted Sun Jan 13, 2013, 5:36pm
Subject: Re: Tell me your experience with Sumatra
 

I've never tasted bluberries in my home roasts. I've never bought commercial roasted Harrar. The aroma of the Sumatra I received as a gift could be described as earthy. The taste is similar. Don't like it. It may just be bad. Never had a roast I couldn't drink unless it was charcoal so what gives with this Sumatra? I may call the roaster and see what they say. No reason to mix Harrar and Sumatra. They were just mnetioned in the same post.
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mbrowne999
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mbrowne999
Joined: 1 Nov 2005
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Location: Down the street
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Posted Sun Jan 13, 2013, 7:26pm
Subject: Re: Tell me your experience with Sumatra
 

findingzzero Said:

The aroma of the Sumatra I received as a gift could be described as earthy. The taste is similar. Don't like it. It may just be bad. Never had a roast I couldn't drink unless it was charcoal so what gives with this Sumatra? I may call the roaster and see what they say.

Posted January 13, 2013 link

My guess would be that it includes "aged" Sumatra, the flavor of which you can duplicate by adding juice from moldy sweatsocks to your cup :)
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DavecUK
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Joined: 21 Sep 2005
Posts: 1,412
Location: UK
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Sun Jan 13, 2013, 8:08pm
Subject: Re: Tell me your experience with Sumatra
 

findingzzero Said:

I've never tasted blueberries in my home roasts. No reason to mix Harrar and Sumatra. They were just mentioned in the same post.

Posted January 13, 2013 link

It could be that the roasting equipment you use does not allow for roasting the dry processed Ethiopian Harrar beans well, or the beans weren't quite right (some have much more blueberry notes than others).

As for blending, what I meant was; I don't usually blend Harrar with anything else and I don't usually blend a good Sumatran with anything else. I wouldn't blend a Sumatran+Harrar either, same as you, I just mentioned it in the same sentence ;-)
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findingzzero
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Joined: 13 Jan 2013
Posts: 3
Location: Indianapolis
Expertise: Pro Roaster

Posted Sun Jan 13, 2013, 9:21pm
Subject: Re: Tell me your experience with Sumatra
 

Is this true or tongue -in-cheek?
I almost wondered if this could be (unwashed) Kopi Luwak transposed by mistake. That might explain the smell/flavor. Never tried it......
I'm going t look up 'aged ' Sumatra after i post this.
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Iluvdabean
Senior Member
Iluvdabean
Joined: 7 Mar 2005
Posts: 1,259
Location: Kentucky
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: La Nuova Era Cuadra/Gaggia...
Grinder: Baratza Preciso/K-A Pro...
Drip: Bonavita BV 1800 TH
Roaster: Nesco 1010/Behmor 1600
Posted Sun Jan 13, 2013, 11:05pm
Subject: Re: Tell me your experience with Sumatra
 

Yes they do sell an aged Sumatran.


http://morecoffee.com/search/102536

findingzzero Said:

Is this true or tongue -in-cheek?
I almost wondered if this could be (unwashed) Kopi Luwak transposed by mistake. That might explain the smell/flavor. Never tried it......
I'm going t look up 'aged ' Sumatra after i post this.

Posted January 13, 2013 link

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