"Boru Batak" comes from the growing region of Lintong in Northern Sumatra near the shores of Lake Toba. Lintong coffees are from Sumatra, the island that is politically and geographically part of Indonesia. Lintong Nihota is the town that has become synonymous with the entire southern part of Lake Toba area. Lake Toba defines the landscape of the area, the largest volcanic crater lake in the world, and the result of the largest volcanic event on earth in the last 25 million years! It is huge, and the coffees from the north and eastern shores are quite different from the Lintong coffees. Lintong coffees are farmed by the Batak peoples that are the indigenous tribe that works the coffee in this area. This coffee is part of a somewhat unlikely joint venture between a Costa Rican farmer and an Indonesian coffee exporter. Together, they see to it that the coffee is carefully selected and separated by quality, then triple hand-picked during the milling process. The result is a visibly superior overall sort, and a surprisingly clean Lintong cup. This is a large-bean sort too, 18+ screen size. It might go against common sense, but I find Sumatras like this more complex in the lighter roasts than in the usual darker roasts they receive. The main reason is that many commercial roasters use color and surface texture as indicators of roast level. They roast coffee until the bean looks attractive. With a Sumatra like this, you will mostly likely hit 2nd crack at the point where the surface texture and variegated bean color evens out, and (I think) you may have gone too far at that point.
The dry fragrance has a palm sugar smell, a dense herbal sweetness. Full City roasts have a woodsy appeal, like peet, an earth-toned sweetness, with bittersweet cacao nibs as well. The wet aromatics are laden with layers of cocoa and herbal tones, and the smells on the break echo the earthiness of a clean example of Lintong coffee. The cup also shows much in the way of what I consider to be "Lintong" cup character: sweet malt syrups, mossy earth tones, and green herbal notes. As the cup cools a flavor of chicory root gains steam, and a jack fruit note accents the cup. Bittersweetness builds with roast development, and Full City finds pleasant interplay between burned sugar and cocoa roast tones, and a finish that sees flashes of cavendish tobacco. Overall, we found this to be much cleaner than the standard "Grade 1" Lintong Sumatras we taste, a lot of which has to do with what hand sorting of the green coffee - "Grade 1" can still mean ratty, bug eaten, and even moldy coffee! Not this one, though there are many bug holes and split beans, which really will have no effect on the cup of a Lintong, wet-hulled coffee. If you have the patience, let this coffee rest for 2 days before diving in and brewing.