Our curated cupping series has now wrapped up for 2015 and last month we explored regional lots from our Tiga Raja mill in Northern Sumatra under the title “Welcome to the Jungle”.

The event consisted of cuppers tasting some specially separated lots from the micro-regions surrounding our Tiga Raja Mill and then voting for their favourite. Cuppers knew beforehand that the collective winning coffee would feature as a micro-lot offering from Five Senses in the New Year — but the choice was entirely in the hands of those who attended the event and voted.

Well, the results are in and we have a winner! But first, a quick recap of the night for those who were unable to make it. The whole evening was a unique cupping experience. Apart from tasting a select group of regional lots from the Simalungun region in and around our Tiga Raja mill, the evening offered a unique opportunity for our customers to select a micro lot offering for the New Year. The attendees seemed to take this responsibility seriously.

It’s always a little daunting providing samples for curated cuppings — especially when the samples are all sourced from a relatively small region and processed using the same wet hull method. But by all reports, the samples were great and each regional lot brought a noticeable cup profile variation to the table — phew! This speaks of both the diversity you get regionally dealing with small farming groups in relation to their agricultural and processing practices and the influence terroir has in Sumatra due to the dynamic landscape features and micro-climates present around Lake Toba and the region of Simalungun.

The cupping also represented a massive effort by Lisa and Leo at the mill who handled, sourced and processed all of these sub-regions separately in the midst of a busy start to the main season. Lisa and Leo continue to apply best practice to the wet hull process and our partnership there.

So, without further ado, we’d like to announce that the winner was – (insert drum roll)… Naga Saribu (Thousand Dragons).

Here are some further details on this sub-region which comprehensively polled the most votes across all locations to take the win.

Region: Naga Saribu (Thousand Dragons) | Silimakuta | Simalungun
Name of komisaris: Ahmadson Sinaga
Moisture: 11.2%
Members: 10
Dominant variety: Sigarar utang
Elevation: 1500 m

The general vibe and collective opinion around this standout coffee was its sweet, clean and balanced profile. Lots of typical Sumo flavour there and plenty of body; cola, dried tomato, juicy-round — and perhaps a little less savoury-sweet.

A little background

This region is beautifully located around the northern tip of Lake Toba and has one of the higher average altitudes in the group of sub-regions we tasted on the night. Along with a high average altitude, geographically this sub-region sits on a mountainous rim which enjoys rich volcanic soils due to its proximity to Lake Toba (which is itself an ancient volcano). Generally the area has a beautiful micro climate for producing super high quality Sumatran cultivars along with many other agricultural products. The 15 second Instagram video we posted recently on the Five Senses Insta feed is very close to this region and shows the general feel and scape of the region.

This region also prepared beautifully and delivered their highest quality parchment for this micro-lot project/cupping event. I’m personally really happy for this small group of farmers and the result they have achieved — hopefully they will now come on board and supply more parchment to the mill on a regular basis. It is also reassuring to know that cup quality improves and is noticeably better when farmers come together to deliver higher quality parchment.

They are now a little over half way through the main harvest/ collection period and the Tiga Raja mill has been busy separating this regional lot for an estimated arrival in April 2016 — so keep an eye out!

We would also like to thank all of you who came to taste these regional lot samples. I believe the event was truly ground breaking in nature and not something that happens often (if ever!) in Sumatra. The “Welcome to the Jungle” cupping event was testimony to the direct access we get into the Simalungun regions through our Tiga Raja mill which continues to help us explore and understand partnering with parchment contributors/ regions so that we can source the very best that the region has to offer.

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