"Raja 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 double hand-picked during the milling process. The result is a visibly superior overall sort, and a surprisingly clean Lintong cup. This coffee works at a wide range of roast, with great sweetness and the complex forest and herbal notes of the Lintong terroir. 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 sweetness smelled in the dry fragrance has the pungency of black strap molasses, with the retronasal aspects of raw honey. Both City+ and Full City roasts have potent sweetness, and with a fruited accent of peach syrup underneath. The wet aromatics are more pungent and a little herbal, with a bittersweet smell of chocolate brownie mix, and subtle dark fruit tones on the break. The cup is quite sweet and complex, malt syrups with ginger and burdock root accents as it cools. Fruited notes emerge too, like ripe stone fruits, and are wrapped in an intense bittersweet chocolate syrup flavor. Full City roasts have a concord grape flavor up front, replete with retronasal appeal, along with roasted cacao nib and mild pipe tobacco notes, and slight hickory smoke finishing accent note. This coffee's body is immense, so viscous and syrupy. Add to this a mild acidity level, and you have the makings for a wonderful single origin espresso, or component for blending with. This is a Sumatra that shows well in light roasting, even at City roast, however my favorite brewed cup was in the City+ to Full City roast range. I also prefer letting this coffee rest for a couple days before drinking, especially for espresso, where flavor profile seems the most "settled in".