The flavors vacillate between complex sugars like brown rice syrup and caramel sauce, and fruited notes like rhubarb, and pungent tropicals. Flavors shift a bit as the cup cools, opening up to a much more in the way of juicy fruits, forest flavors, as well as modest acidity. The finish has lots of citrus zest and cacao nibs. City+ to Full City+. SO Espresso.
Within the Lintong Nihota area, Aek Nauli lies due west of Dolok Sanggul, another region we buy coffee from regularly. It's just about 5km down the road, so very close, and you can see the Onan Ganjang highlands in the distance. Much of this area's Landscape is defined by Lake Toba, the largest volcanic crater lake in the world. It's gigantic, and the coffees from around this area can be truly unique. 'Aek Nauli' translates to 'village with 1,000 ponds' - ironically it's difficult to find much water in the surrounding area, but there is a small river in Aek Nauli. The people of Aek Nauli rely on rain water for much of their daily water consumption, and this is used for agriculture as well. We work with a mill who buys directly from the farmers, many in the surrounding highlands, keeping lots separated and intact. This is one reason for the top quality of this coffee, the other being meticulous and repetitive sorting during milling - much more so than most Grade 1 Mandhelings.
This lot from Aek Nauli is Lintong coffee at it's best. Even with the rustic elements you might expect from Lintong coffee, there's a relative cleanliness that follows through from dry fragrance to the cup. The dry grounds have a sweet smell of caramel, dried cocoanut and red berry, as well as a sweet earth-like note. The sweetness found in the wet aroma is incredible - an intense scent of butterscotch pudding comes off the crust, and raspberry and green herbal notes show up on the break. It's a lovely set of aromatics, and while revealing earth and "rustic" qualities we tend to associate with Indo coffee, fruit and developed sugar notes have strength, and add a welcome twist. The cup is delicious, with lots of up-front sweetness. The flavors vacillate between complex sugars like brown rice syrup and caramel sauce, and fruited notes like rhubarb, and pungent tropicals. Flavors shift a bit as the cup cools, opening up to a much more in the way of juicy fruits, foresty Lintong flavors (cedar, sandalwood), and even modest acidity. The finish has lots of citrus zest and cacao nibs, with a pleasantly bittering effect in the long aftertaste - this one really goes long. Would make a great espresso component, and even a sweet SO Sumatra shot of espresso.