Fair Trade Organic
Yellow Bell Pepper
A perfect example of a unique bourbon varietal. This fair trade organic blend offers sweet, smooth and robust flavors of sweet yellow bell pepper, herbal sage, and cacao nibs. The fragrance is closely associated with Sumatra and garden vegetable.
PT Ketiara is an umbrella group in this area that was founded in 2009 by Ms. Rahmah, who began in coffee as a local cherry collector more than 20 years ago, and who by now is one of Indonesia’s most respected coffee entrepreneurs.
As a woman coming up in the male-dominated, largely conservative Muslim industry of Sumatra coffee, Ms. Rahmah learned to be assertive in negotiations, tend endlessly to the happiness of the farmers she represents, and to make her business a collective representation of the true gender diversity and talent of her community.
The original cooperative was Fair Trade certified in 2011 and has grown from 38 original farmer members to almost 2000, and into multiple different sub-companies to service different qualities, processing styles, and certifications.
RKG represents a younger generation of farmers, 971 in total, 80% of whom are women, and all of whom are focused on top quality. Together RKG members farm a total of 1,234 hectares of coffee. Regional coffee distinctions in the northern provinces of Sumatra are interestingly all based on human ethnicity, rather than geography itself.
“Mandheling” for example, is a broad label for a widespread cultural group in Sumatra and Malaysia and subsequently the most common coffee trading term, applying to almost any chosen blend of wet-hulled coffees from across the northern half of the island. “Batak” is a Mandheling sub-ethnicity based around Lake Toba and considered a regional coffee pedigree to itself, and often marketed as such.
Ms. Rahmah and her leadership team are in constant communication with their members. The price of coffee in Sumatra, while somewhat protected due to the limited supply of its terroir, is still extremely volatile between farmers and collectors, and the Ketiara group is as transparent with their farmers as they are with their buyers when it comes to navigating local cherry markets, exporter competition, and quality expectations.
Ratu Ketiara Gayo (RKG) is the Ketiara group’s newest business unit: a women’s cooperative established in 2017 and co-lead by three of Ms. Rahmah’s young protégés: Ms. Indayana as chairwoman; Ms. Dini as quality control; and Ms. Murul Kemala as treasurer.
These terms are malleable, and it is often difficult to pinpoint a coffee’s exact origin without direct partnerships that allow buyers to travel the entire value chain themselves. “Gayo” is Ketiara’s declaration, used to proudly signify a pure microregion and society of coffee from the center of Aceh, handmade by the Gayo people.
Ketiara undoubtedly captures their community’s best qualities through careful logistics. The cooperative centrally controls transport, final drying, and sorting for all members’ coffee. It also conducts all export business from their headquarters in the mountains, avoiding any further consolidation or exposure of their shipments to Sumatra’s humid, balmy coastal climate, where many exporters tend to hold green coffee for sale.
Wet hulling, or giling basah, is the traditional method used in Indonesia. And although both the name and the method are very similar to wet processing, the cup characteristics are incredibly different. Further information