ICONS: Muhammad Aga

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Muhammad Aga is the 2018 Indonesia Barista Champion, and is a key individual in improving the quality and reputation for Indonesian specialty coffee in the last few years.  We are incredibly fortunate to have Aga select the very first Indonesian coffee for Cupping Room's coffee program!

After having spent years learning about coffee, both in coffee shops in Indonesia and abroad in Australia and Europe, Aga has devoted the last couple years to working on special processing projects with family-run estates in Indonesia.  The first selection for his ICONS box reflects one of these projects that he is immensely proud of.  In his road to the WBC in 2018, Aga competed with and won his national title using an Indonesian coffee, beating out rare and expensive imported coffee varieties.

"West Java is a region that I’ve paid attention to for long. I visited the farm in Cisurupan, Sukatani Village and spent time with the farm owner, Asep, who has been working on coffee plantations since 2008.  In the recent years we have worked together, he has shifted focus to quality and has done as much as he can to improve every single detail in the quality chain of production. Since his farm is located at 1600 masl on the hillside of Papandayan Mountain, the very low average temperature results in a much slower maturation for cherries. Understanding this, harvesting is done later than it had been done before. Asep has also looked at planting a range of coffee varieties to determine which works best in the local microclimate and terroir, including new plantings of S-795, Typica, Catimor, Caturra and Yellow Bourbon."

Asep and Aga collaborated on a special prep process of a very small lot of coffee, which is the first lot selected by Aga for ICONS.  Using the Yellow Bourbon variety, Asep and Aga have selected a short anaerobic natural process in order to soften the acidity of the coffee, and smoothen out the mouthfeel.  Using a lower temperature for anaerobic fermentation, in a shorter time, resulted in the ideal profile that Asep and Aga wanted to present:

1. 24-hour anaerobic fermentation in a sealed stainless steel tank
2. Cherries dried on the bottom layer of a drying rack for 5 days
3. Cherries rotated and moved to the second layer of a drying rack for 15 days
4. Cherries rotated and moved to the top layer of a drying rack for 20 days

Having this extended, slow drying after a short anaerobic fermentation resulted in better uniformity and the avoidance of unwanted over-fermentation characteristics. 

For his second coffee selection, Aga has chosen the Sudan Rume variety from a similarly innovative producer known for introducing many non-native varieties to the Valle del Cauca region of Colombia: Rigoberto Herrera of Cafe Granja La Esperanza.

Aga used Rigoberto's coffee on the world stage at the World Barista Championships in 2018, roasted by Cupping Room, so this selection is a wonderful representation of the relationship between us, Aga, and Rigoberto.

Sukatani Papandayan Yellow Bourbon - Short Anaerobic Natural

  • HARVEST: 2019
  • PRODUCER: Asep
  • REGION: West Java
  • ORIGIN: Indonesia
  • ALTITUDE: 1,600-1,650m
  • VARIETIES: Yellow Bourbon
  • PROCESS: Short Anaerobic Natural
  • FLAVOURS: Bergamot, ripe pineapple, dark cherry

Cafe Granja La Esperanza (Las Margaritas) Sudan Rume - Natural

  • HARVEST: Late 2019
  • PRODUCER: Rigoberto Herrera
  • FARM: Las Margaritas
  • REGION: Valle del Cauca
  • ORIGIN: Colombia
  • ALTITUDE: 1,780m
  • VARIETIES: Sudan Rume
  • PROCESS: Natural
  • FLAVOURS: Purple grape, pineapple candy, raspberry

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