Formerly offered as Classic Mandheling, the name seems less suited to any coffee from Sumatra these days. Why? Mandheling has been been loosely applied to any coffee from North Sumatra or Aceh district, but the actual Mandheling district has little coffee remaining but some low-land robusta. Mandheling was a historical name. We can respect that, but we like to keep the romance in check, and prefer some real-world specifics. Indeed, this is a special coffee from a small area near Takengon, the city on the shores of Lake Tawar in the Gayo area of Aceh. And it has "classic" Sumatra character, that reverberant, deep-toned, mildly earthy, low acid heavy body cup. This sub region has unique plant material too; our classic comes from trees that predominately have large cherries, resulting in 18-19 screen green coffee. This coffee is grown by smallholder farmers and when I visited there it was clear that the trees were unique in form and the very large cherries. Whether this is a TimTim, Ateng or Djember cultivar is unknown at this point, but I walked the farms with Andy Irham and his father, local Takengon coffee millers who source this lot for us, and they believe this is a local mutation of old seedstock from the early days of coffee in the Gayo area. What I have found consistently is a great flavor profile; aggressive, yet with a foresty sweetness too, hints of earth, but not dirty or musty. The fragrance from the dry grounds has semi-sweet chocolate roast tones (FC+) with woody tree bark hints and darkly caramelized sugar sweetness. Adding water, the tenor-to-bass range of the cup is clear, reiterating what we find in the dry fragrance, with the addition of a deep sandalwood aromatic, brown bread, bran muffin, and molasses. Low acidity means the cup has less dimension and perceived complexity ... but that's what a Sumatra is all about as well; heavy body, chocolate, a coffee profile painted in earth-shades. While the cup showcases pleasing bitterness over sweetness, there is clear presence of both; dark brown sugar, baker's chocolate. There is a touch of black pepper in the finish, as well as earthy tones, and a bit of truffles. There are also muted ripe fruits; plum-prune, fig. Of course, a coffee with this flavor profile doesn't chart well on a cupping form, hence the strong use of the Cupper's Correction.