My History with the Longberry Varietal:
Why the Longberry ? my first experience with this variety was some 7 years ago from a small batch of coffee from Ethiopia where they specially sorted some Ethiopia Harrar Longberry it was only samples though bringing them back to Australia was fascination and quite an interesting tasting and look varietal. My second experience traveling and sourcing coffee in Indonesia i heard of a myth that longberry was being grown amongst the foothills of Lingtong what i found the longeberry name is so named due to its appearance, which is long and thin in comparison with other coffee varieties. It is true it originated in Ethiopia and has the characteristics to Longberry Harrar (a natural mutation of the Typica variety).I not exactly sure when Wahanna Estate started growing this varietal though it is one of Wahana experimental lots.
Our experience with Wahana Estate:
Wahana Estate,. It is situated between 1,300 to 1,500 metres in the village of Lae Mungkur, in the Sidikalang district of North Sumatra – an area famous for its coffee due to its ideal climatic conditions, including the highest levels of rainfall in the Lake Toba region.
Wahana Graha Makmur means “Vessels for Great Success”. Accordingly, the Estate’s mission is more than just to produce high quality coffee themselves. They are also committed to improving coffee quality for farmers throughout the region. As an experimental farm, one of their aims is to find varieties that are well-suited to the region’s climate. The estate has established a farmers’ support center which distributes coffee seeds – free of charge – and offers information and advice on farm management, distribution of shade trees, and use of organic fertilizer. Wahana also processes hand-picked, ripe cherries for small growers in the surrounding region.
The estate has planted around 250 hectares with 13 different local and international varietals. These are carefully separated into different lots in order to produce distinct single varietal coffees, including some interesting local Indonesian hybrids – Rasuna, Long Berry, Andong Sari, Toraja, S795 (Jember), Jantung – and more widely known international varietals – Caturra, Catuai, Villa Sachi and Colombia Típica varieties. Each hectare under coffee can support around 2,000 trees – these are evenly spaced at 2m x 2.5m and are shade grown under local Lamtoro trees.
Wahana is still a relatively new operation and continues to develop year by year. The estate covers nearly 500 hectares in total and its owners plan to extend considerably the area under coffee over the next few years. A large part of Wahana Estate is protected and this conservation area includes many native plant and tree varieties along its rivers and valleys. A further 30 hectares of the estate is used as a coffee nursery to raise the wide range of single varietals grown by the estate. New seedlings are cultivated in sandy seed beds for 3 months and then moved into polybags for 7 to 8 months. After this, the young coffee plants are planted out in a prepared plot and carefully labeled to identify the varietal.
Unusually for Indonesia, much of Wahana’s coffee is fully-washed – using the estate’s new wet milling facility. This was installed in 2009 and can process an impressive 25 metric tonnes of red cherries per hour. The cherries are picked only when fully ripe and are then sorted and graded by hand when they reach the dry mill, before being pulped. The coffee is then fully fermented until the mucilage becomes removable, is fully washed and is then dried on the mill’s extensive patios to 11% humidity.
The estate is an important local employer – with between 800 and 1000 workers, whose families have the use of an on-site health clinic. Workers are provided with free housing, electricity, drinking water, healthcare (including free medicine), and kindergarten and nursery for young children. The estate has also built a church and small mosque inside the farm’s grounds. In support of the estate’s social efforts, Mercanta has recently sponsored the purchase of computers for schools in the surrounding area, which are attended by many of the workers’ children.