We're rolling out our most recent arrival from Opung James, a coffee collector in the Lintong Nihota area who we've come to rely on for high quality giling basah coffee. "Opung" is the kinship used to indicate grandmother of the eldest son - in this case, grandmother of James. She's a coffee collector, a middle-person in the coffee trade in Sumatra, and instrumental in the quality of the coffee that results from the supply chain. Aside from cooperative coffees and a few large farms, all the coffee in Indonesia passes through the hands of collectors, who provide ready cash to the small farmers who want immediate payment on a weekly basis. In other words, you can't work directly with the small farmers in Sumatra, nor do they want to work direct with a buyer because they are looking for ready cash. The collectors provide this function and because of the competition among collectors, the price paid to farmers remains high, even when the global market dips. It's all about local relationships. Opung James is able to buy wet parchment directly from farmers rather than at the local open-air markets, where traceability is practically non-existent.
The dry fragrance has an earthy sweetness to it, ripe tropical fruit, and rustic syrups. The wet aromatics are more pungent and with herbal hints, a note of red berry and molasses sugar coming off the break. The cup has a complex and intense sweetness at City+ roast, with a brown-rice syrup flavor turning toward an essence of root beer mid way - burdock root, raw sugar, and vanilla. There are mild hints of pipe tobacco and aromatic wood that remind me of walking into a humidor room, cedar shakes and sweet, peppery tobaccos. Darker roasts have a smokey chocolate flavor, and earth-toned accents. A bodied cup, the proper play field for the sort of chocolate bittersweetness developed at darker roast levels. Of course this coffee shows great at Full City and Full City+ too, but our lightest roast, C+ was again our favorite: bold sweetness and incredible complex. This makes interesting and sweet espresso, or the perfect accent coffee for an espresso blend.