Mahara is an exciting, young cooperative in Gayo, Sumatra, that InterAmerican Senior Vice President Kayd Whalen had the pleasure of visiting in early 2019, just as our coffees were being packed for shipment.
Formed in 2015, Mahara has 460 organic-certified members spread across five villages and two sub-districts in the Central Aceh District. It has 12 delegates, 12 collectors and 12 buying stations that purchase cherry or parchment for members. With time, it hopes to encourage all members to deliver only cherry, to help centralize coffee processing and further improve quality—which already is enormously impressive.
Pak Guru is a member of the cooperative and one of its most sophisticated collectors, with approximately 60 farmers delivering cherry to him. On his farm and mill, high in the mountains, he has personally implemented a “red cherry project” and built gravity-based water-flow canals that connect to mountain springs. While this is common in other parts of the world, for Sumatra, on a very remote mountain top, it's incredibly unique and ambitious.
The coffee undergoes multiple passes in density and sorting before being chosen for processing, and this extra step, and Mr. Guru’s careful attention to detail, are evident in the cup. We're very pleased to offer coffee from the excellent Mahara co-op. And after visiting Pak Guru, we decided to offer his coffees as this unique Sumatra Haragold Organic microlot, so that they might be experienced on their own.
Mahara and a Changing Sumatra
The board of the Mahara co-op is young and eager and learning all it can from the coffee experts around them, and they’re truly driven to achieve the highest qualities possible, for the benefit of their members. Their Vision and Mission statements are about advancing the welfare of “members in particular and society in general.”
Their enthusiasm stretches to the workers in the mill and warehouse. (When Kayd visited, the young women managing the warehouse were thrilled to meet a woman importer and excitedly insisted on a few group photos!)
From visiting cooperative members high in the hills (where Kayd was told she was the first American to visit, and certainly the first woman), to cafes filled with young people enjoying high-quality Sumatra microlots, there’s a beautiful specialty culture blooming in Sumatra, and we’re thrilled to encourage this next generation of growers and producers and to share their coffees widely.
Cupping notes: Stone fruit, tropical, chocolate; complex. Smooth body.