Many of the islands of Indonesia were formed by volcanoes. Therefore, they are mountainous and have rich soil that is ideal for growing coffee. It is no wonder that some of the world’s most famous coffees are grown on the islands of the Malay Archipelago of Indonesia: Sumatra, Sulawesi and Java. Approximately 15% of all coffee grown in Indonesia is Arabica.

Sumatra is the second largest island of the Republic of Indonesia. Sumatra Mandheling coffee is grown on the lofty volcanic slopes of Mount Leuser near the port of Padang in the Batak Region of west-central Sumatra.

Coffee trees were originally brought to Indonesia in the early 19th century by the Dutch, who sought to break the world-wide Arabic coffee monopoly. Within a few years, Indonesian coffee dominated the world’s market. Yet, by the end of the century, disease completely destroyed the crop. The trees were successfully replanted and quickly gained a large share of the world coffee market until the plantations were again ravaged, this time during World War II. “Mandailing” (spelled differently) is a native ethnic group in Indonesia, not a region, as is Batak.

The unique method used in its production results in a very full body with a concentrated flavor, garnished with herbal nuances and a spicy finish. Giling Basah, the traditional Sumatran process, involves hulling the parchment from the bean at roughly 50% moisture content. (Most other processes hull coffee at 10-12% moisture.) This uniquely Sumatran process results in a trademark flavor profile (low acidity and lingering richness on the back of the palate) and gives the green beans a signature dark color. Notes of chocolate are evident in the finish. A slightly earthy aroma will greet you, encouraging you to enjoy the full bodied herbal, spicy and woody flavors in cup after cup.

Your favorite Coffee of the Month Club buys Grade 1 Sumatra as Double-Picked (DP) or Triple-Picked (TP), referring to the number of times the coffee is handled to remove defects. This extra quality control results in a very consistent cup, including only cherries at optimum ripeness. All the beans are carefully sun dried.


The Salimba Estate, located at an altitude of 900 to 1,000 meters in Eastern Zimbabwe, first planted coffee in 1955. Located at 20.2° South and 33° East, the soil is sandy clay loam. The average annual rainfall in this area is approximately 1,250mm. Highest amounts are usually experienced between November and April. Interestingly, a small percentage of the annual rainfall comes from their winter mists that occur during May, June and July each year.

The varieties grown at the Salimba Estate are a mixture of Catimor varieties, with a small percentage (10%) of SL28 coffee. They have a program set in place that uproots and replants each field every seven or eight years. This allows the cherries to be harvested from young trees, which are largely disease-free.

All of the coffee is hand-picked as red cherries. To ensure that the coffee is at the best stage for harvesting, the trees are picked approximately ten times over the course of the season. This technique yields a main grade return of about 85%.

What can you expect from this coffee selection from your favorite Coffee of the Month Club? It will be clean, bright and complex, with full body. Depending on your taste buds, you’ll find it to be sweet with caramel and/or chocolate nuances. Look for wisps of grapes, tobacco and tender wood, and bright acidity.


There’s evidence that coffee can increase your caloric burn by 5 -12%! Experts recommend limiting intake to 4 cups daily for best results.

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Tracie Burket
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