|Heavy machinery for coffee processing
The morning after our wonderful coffee farm tour ,we finally got to meet our host and the Sidikalang coffee master himself, Samuel. We had a great chat about coffee over coffee, then it was on to the Poda Coffee processing area and laboratory. This is where we would do the coffee cupping (tasting) and roasting as well.
Coffee cupping is more involved then it sounds and there are a lot of steps to set up for it properly but Samuel made it look effortless , total pro. We got to see four different coffee bean samples in four different states: green beans, roasted beans, ground coffee and finally simply brewed with hot water. Samuel prepared this and our job was to try engage our sight, smell and taste to the fullest and see what we observe with each sample. Ideally, we are taking note of the body (the texture or mouthfeel, such as oiliness), sweetness, acidity, flavour (the characters in the cup), and aftertaste. I had only done a cupping one other time and my taste buds aren’t that evolved so it was more like picking my fave, noting most bitter, most full-bodied,, etc, simple things. It was interesting how the coffee changed as it got cooler, Samuel threw in a sample from Guatemala to see how it compared to the Sidkalang coffees. At first I didn’t like this one at all but after cooling, it was definitely more enjoyable. The coffee from the Seenaga farm we toured the day before was hands-down the winner for me. You could feel the love and attention that went into growing this great coffee.
|Set up for the cupping
|Samuel in his happy place
|Putting my substantial sniffer to good use
|This is what the green coffee beans look like before roasting
|Maria roasting the splendid Sidikalang coffee
After the cupping, it was time to try our hands at roasting some of this fine Sidikalang coffee. Roasting coffee reminds me a lot of making popcorn, You heat the beans very hot and keep them constantly moving so they don’t burn. After some minutes you can hear the beans cracking. Watch closely until the beans are at your ideal degree of doneness, and take them out of the roaster. The beans are still very hot so keep them moving and fanning them helps to cool ’em down.. It is a really nice touch that Samuel let us roast the beans that we now felt connected to and gave then to us to take home.
Sleeping: Stayed at the Aroma of Coffee home-stay as listed on AirBnB. If you haven’t already, for goodness sake, sign up on AirBnB for unique experiences like this. You can use my link and we will both get some savings. Anyway back to Aroma, it is a big house that has 4 bedrooms with ensuite. It is a few kms outside of Sidakalang in the midst of coffee, fruit and vegetable farms. Samuel and friends took care of getting us around.
Info on Poda Coffee: Visit the Poda website- www.sidikalangpodacoffee.com
Getting there/away: From Parapat on Lake Toba we booked a private car for 650,000 rupiah. This included a stop at the gorgeous Si Piso Piso waterfall. Our driver Plemon was not so happy to hear about this added stop but he soon got over it and gave us a good journey. Another option from Lake Toba is to make your way via local buses which is very cheap but also cramped and no chance to stop at the waterfall.