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.
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 proteges: Ms. Indayana as chairwoman; Ms. Dini as quality control; and Ms. Murul Kemala as treasurer. RKG represents a younger generation of farmers, 971 in total, 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. 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-Hulled & Patio Dried in the Sun
Aceh, Sumatra, Indonesia
Drinking Chocolate, Cranberry Sauce, Earthy
Regional Catimor & Typica Cultivars
Ratu Ketiara Gayo (RKG) Cooperative
Multiple Women Owned Farms
I can’t sing praise for Nostalgia single origin loudly enough. I’ve tried basically all of the local SD roasters, and haven’t found any that deliver such consistently amazing beans. So far every single coffee offered on the rotating Single Origin Subscription has made my day every single day I make it. Most are light roast, and their roasting and processing does an incredible job of developing and protecting every single one of the delicate and interesting flavors their top-tier beans express. The subscription is nice because I always have coffee waiting for me, and it’s exciting to see what the new offering is every month! One tip — get it delivered more often than you’d think, because you’ll be VERY sad if you run out and have to wait for the next round!
The coffee is excellent, and it feels great to support the farmers who grow these beautiful beans!