Dolok Sanggul is a city within the coffee growing area we refer to as Lintong. Lintong Nihota is the town that has become synonymous with the entire southern part of Lake Toba area most of the coffee from the southern shores are sold as such. 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. Dolok Sanggul is a local marketplace for coffees; once a week the farmers gather to sell their parchment coffee to trusted vendors, who "collect" it on behalf of specific mills, or as freelancers. The mill we work with has certain farmers from higher altitude areas, and who produce a very clean, high-quality parchment coffee sold direct, not traded through the market. That's part of the reason this has great cup character ... the other is special milling and sorting practices. This coffee is a special preparation: It is prepared by density in Lintong, then it is density sorted and triple-hand-sorted in Medan once again before export. And since my latest obsession is inspecting coffee under ultraviolet light while grading them, this lot still shows the normal wet-hulled issues, but is infinitely better than most Grade 1 "Mandhelings" and the like.This coffee is part of our Farm Gate pricing program.
Espresso shots I have made from Dolok Sanggul have been really fantastic, like no other Sumatra I can think of ... but only when rested 5 days or more after roasting. It needs rest! The dry fragrance has chocolate and caramel biscuit tones, with fresh cedar, leather and dried apricot lingering in the background. Lintongs have a reputation for herbal notes; I would say Dolok Sanggul classifies as a Lintong in this respect, but is less herbal than most Lintong coffees. Sugar browning notes like butterscotch and caramel are most present in the break. The cup has a great rustic sweetness, tree bark, cinnamon stick, black tea, and strong mulling spice in the finish. Light roasts have a malty roast taste, thyme herb, fading to chocolate with plum/prune fruit. Full City roast level has dark malt syrup, and a thick slab of fruity chocolate flavor. The cup is more aggressive than the other Lintong lots we have this year, even though they come from areas that are very close to each other. Another roast note: many roasters over-roast Sumatras looking for surface color similar to other origins. They don't color the same as other origins, so you might end up darker than your target quite easily.