Mandheling is a famous coffee that grown in Indonesia, precisely in Sumatra from the variety of Catimor and Typica. Mandheling coffee is grown in the west-central region of Sumatra on the lofty volcanic slope of Mount Leuser near the port of Padang. The name of Mandheling comes from the people who once farmed the coffee in northern Sumatra. Mandheling coffee could be produced with dry hulled method, wet hulled method, or even honey method. As the result, Mandheling coffee have a very full body with a relatively low acidity and complex taste. The tasting notes on this coffee are vary from intense sweet tones of chocolate, earthing tones with malt and nutty flavor, or even spicy and herbaceous flavor with hints of licorice or other spice based flavors like cinnamon, nutmeg, or cardamom. However, no matter what the tasting notes is the trademark of Mandheling coffee is the richness that lingers on the back of the palate and a chocolate finish.
The first step of coffee processing is harvesting. Around 3 to 4 years after plantation, coffee trees will bear fruit called cherry coffee or cherry. When it is ripe, the cherry will have a bright deep red colour. The harvesting process could by stripping all of the cherries in one time with hands or machine or only harvested the ripe cherries by picking it individually with hands. To prevent spoilage, once cherry coffee has been picked the processing needs to be done as soon as possible.
Processing coffee cherries
Coffee manufacturing process are vary, based on what kind of product that wanted to be achieved. For Mandheling coffee, the processing are natural, washed, and honey.
Dry hulled (Natural)
Freshly picked cherries are spread out on huge surfaces to dry in the sun. To prevent them from spoiling, they are raked and turned throughout the day, then covered at night or during rain. This process continued for several weeks until the moisture content of the cherries dropped to 11%. Nowadays, this process could be done in drying house or using mechanical dryers.
Wet hulled (Washed)
In this process, cherries are passed through a pulping machine or pulper to separate the skin and pulp from the bean. Then the beans went into the screening process by separating them by weight in water channels. The lighter beans will float on the top, while the heavier ripe beans will sink to the bottom. Then, they are separated by size using a series of rotating drums. After screening, beans then fermented inside water-filled fermentation tanks for 12 to 48 hours to remove the slick layer of mucilage. If the mucilage is separated, beans then rinsed and prepared to be storage by drying them until the moisture content is 11%
Honey (Pulped Natural)
This process is a mix between natural and washed process. The cherries are passed through pulper to separate the skin and pulp from the bean. After that, the beans went into the screening process. Then, the beans that still covered with mucilage are dried. In the drying process, mucilage will draw the humidity and making the beans sticky like honey. Beans are dried until the moisture contain in beans are 11%
When the moisture content of beans reach 11%, the beans are passed through huller to removes the parchment layer (endocarp) for the wet and honey processed beans, and removes the entire dusk husk of the dried cherries for the dry processed beans.
Grading and sorting
Before packed, beans are graded by size and weight. Beans are sized through series of screens by sorted the heavy and light beans using air jet. After that beans are sorted by reviewing for color flaws or other imperfections by manually using hands or by machinery.
Packaging the green coffee
After milled, beans now referred to as green coffee or green beans. The beans then packaged in either jute or sisal bags to be shipped or storaged.
Mandheling coffee could be used as single origin coffee or blend coffee.
Based on the SCAA (Specialty Coffee Association of America) the grading for coffee are:
Test Weight : 300gr
Moisture Content : 9% − 13%
Total Defects : 8
Primary Defects : permitted (from 9 to 23)
Size : 50% greater-than or equal to 6 mm;
5% less than or equal to 5.5 mm
Quakes/Unripe Beans : 5
Cup Faults : -
Mandheling coffee is categorized as arabica coffee.