Scott’s Coffee Pick

Our Coffees Posted on February 5, 2020

by Scott McMartin

Mandheling coffees are thick, full-bodied and slightly earthy. They are often described as spicy and may contain notes of cigar tobacco and roasted pepper. I love the smell of this coffee when you’re brewing it. It fills the room with an unmistakable complex aroma. Lintong coffees are a bit like the Mandheling’s more sophisticated cousins from the south. They are also spicy and aromatic but typically have less of the earthy quality. The flavor of a good Lintong coffee is a bit spicy with hints of cumin and Thai basil. The flavor is more delicate and refined than the Mandheling but an interesting contrast.
When all the tasting is over, I still want to enjoy a cup of coffee like a regular guy. In that case I really like the coffees from Indonesia. I’m a huge fan of Sumatra and Sulawesi coffees. Sumatra coffees from the North Sumatra Province include the classic coffees from Aceh so-called “Mandheling” coffee and the coffees further south near Lake Toba called “Lintong”. While both technically sold as Sumatras, the flavors are distinct and wonderful from both areas.
In my work as a sensory professional (aka guy who tastes things for a living), I’m using my sense of taste and smell as tools for categorizing, segregating, differentiating and ranking the things I taste. In my line of work, the words “favorite” or “what I like” aren’t really factors. The important thing is understanding origins, regions, classic flavor profiles and the basics of tasting in calibration with other tasters or a standard. The “Q” or “R” grading systems are examples of a numerical grading system.
I’ve been in the coffee business for nearly thirty years and I can honestly say that my favorite coffees have been relatively consistent over that time. I can always find something exciting, new and interesting from all the origins we buy at Novus but typically only drink a whole cup from specific countries. 

If I had to limit myself to just one coffee for the rest of my coffee-drinking days, Sumatra would be the one.

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