Friday, February 28, 2014

Cravens Coffee - Sumatra Mandheling IKA

To further my coffee education, about three weeks ago I contacted Simon Thompson, owner of Cravens Coffee, and arranged a tour of the roasting facility. Cravens Coffee is a local roasting company located here in Spokane, WA. Simon replied that they don't really offer tours, but invited for a cupping. This was my first cupping experience and there is only one word to describe the time spent at Cravens Coffee: Amazing! After our meeting, Simon provided me with three coffees to sample and review. This Sumatra Mandheling IKA is the first review of the three. I'll write a more detailed account of my visit in the days ahead.

Quick Details
  • Origin: Near Lake Toba in northern Sumatra
  • Process: semi-washed wet/natural process
  • Roast: Dark / Italian
  • Notes: Mandheling is the finest of the dry-mill Sumatras.
  • Brewing method: Pour over

Sumatra Mandheling IKA - Cravens Coffee
As I opened this bag of Sumatra Mandheling, two things jumped right out; the rich coffee and cocoa aroma and the oil sheen on the beans. Every bean was covered with oil. For a long time I thought oil on the beans was very important for coffee, but Simon explained that it only happens with darker roasts when you are roasting for flavors. But more on this later.

Once the beans were ground they had the same rich coffee and cocoa aroma mix. Since I am now using a burr grinder I know what real bloom is. It's amazing just how much I was missing out on.

So anyway, once the pour over was done, the first sips from the cup are slightly syrupy, with earth and fresh baked bread as the prominent flavors. There is any underlying sweetness and some spicy nuances mixed in. The coffee is bold, but not overpowering and there is a warm earthy sweetness that lingers on the back of my palate.

As the coffee cools in the cup a bit, the warm bread turns to more of a beefy flavor, but the same after taste is present.

This is the fifth cup of Cravens Sumatra Mandheling that I have brewed before doing this review, I have been experimenting with the amount of coffee to use for each cup. Which, I finally have figured out now. One thing I have noticed with the testing is that this coffee has the same flavor characteristics no matter how strongly it's brewed.

I've always been a fan of coffee from Sumatra and this Mandheling from Cravens Coffee is the perfect all day, any day coffee for me.

Rated 96

I would like to thank Simon Thompson for taking the time to continue my coffee education an for providing the sample for this review. If you would like to try Cravens Coffee it is available for order on

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