This wet-hulled coffee from the U Tani Gayo Cooperative is grown in the Aceh Province. The Cooperative received their Fairtrade and Organic certificates almost immediately after they were established in 2018, and began exporting in 2019.
Coop manager, Rafiyandi, was born and raised in Aceh to a Javanese family. Rafiyandi has experience working with other cooperatives in the Aceh region, including the women-lead Ketiara Cooperative. The cooperative is also placing its focus on engaging younger producers. In total, there are 24 farmer groups representing over 1,160 members, registered with the cooperative. Each farmer cultivates between 0.5 and 2 hectares, totalling 1,394 hectares under coffee cultivation registered with the coop.
What is Wet-Hulling?
Indonesia is perhaps best known for its unique wet hulling process (giling basah). Though its exact origins are unclear, wet hulling most likely originated in Aceh during the late 1970s.
Wet hulling’s popularity can be attributed to producers’ need for prompt payments. It was also adopted specifically by many producers who lacked the drying infrastructure that was needed to shelter drying parchment from the high humidity and inconsistent rainfall typical in Sumatra. At higher elevations with constant humidity and unpredictable rainfall, drying can prove to be slow, risky and difficult.
Cherry is harvested and pulped at or near the farm, on small hand-cranked or motorized pulpers. The coffee is fermented overnight (in small tanks, buckets, or bags) and washed with clean water the following morning. Parchment is sun-dried for between half a day and two days, depending on the weather, to allow for skin drying which eases the removal of parchment.
At this point the moisture content is between 30-40% and parchment is delivered to a processor (often by the village collector) for wet hulling. A wet hulling machine is larger, requires more power, and runs at a faster speed than a traditional dry huller. After the hulling, the coffee seed is whitish and pliable and is called labu. It is laid out to dry on tarps or patios, where it reduces in size and moisture to 14-15%. This stage the green coffee is known as asalan - unsorted and with defects. Much of the internal commercial trade is for asalan. Exporters will finish the drying down to 12-13%, sort and prepare for shipment.