The 13 Best Sumatran Coffee Beans: Starbucks’ Favorite Indonesian Coffee

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Sumatra coffee is the secret behind Starbucks espresso’s distinct taste. Whether you’re a fan of the coffee giant or not, this exceptionally unique brew is definitely worth a try.

Dive into the world of Sumatran coffee beans and prepare for a journey unlike any other. While Ethiopian beans are known as the birthplace of coffee and Italian roasters have perfected espresso, Sumatra brings a unique, earthy twist to your cup. Ready to explore this intriguing flavor with me?

Looking for a quick guide? Here’s my straightforward shortlist, minus the fluff.

Image Product

Overall best Sumatran coffee beans

Sumatra Mandheling Dark...image Sumatra Mandheling Reserve Coffee, Dark Roasted, Whole Bean, Fair Trade, 16-ounce Check price

Best medium roast Sumatra coffee beans

Koffee Kult Sumatra...image Koffee Kult Sumatra Coffee Beans Dark Roast - Indonesian Fresh Roasted Coffee Beans (Whole Bean, 12oz) Check price

Best Sumatran peaberry coffee beans

Sumatra Gayo Peaberry...image Sumatra Gayo Peaberry Coffee, Whole Bean, Fair Trade, Fresh Roasted, 16-ounce Check price

Best reduced caffeine Sumatran coffee beans

Fresh Roasted Coffee,100%...image Fresh Roasted Coffee,100% Organic Sumatra Swiss Water Half-Caf | 2 lb (32 oz) | Single Origin | Medium Roast | RFA Kosher | Whole Bean Check price

Best Sumatra decaf coffee beans

Sumatra Mandheling Decaf...image Sumatra Mandheling Decaf Coffee Beans, Whole Bean, Swiss Water Processed, Rainforest Certified, Fresh Roasted, 16-ounce Check price

Where Does Sumatra Coffee Come From?

Sumatra coffee hails from Sumatra, Indonesia’s biggest island and the world’s sixth-largest. It’s nestled among the Sunda Islands in Western Indonesia, making it a unique spot for coffee cultivation.

Sumatra leads the way in coffee production among Indonesia’s islands, making it a giant in the coffee world. Considering Indonesia ranks fourth globally in coffee production and export, you can imagine just how much coffee Sumatra contributes to your morning cup.

Processing of Sumatran Coffee

Sumatra coffees undergo a unique wet-hulling process, enhancing their earthy tastes. This method suits Indonesia’s humid climate better than other coffee processing techniques, though it needs special equipment. Indonesia stands out as one of the rare places where wet hulling works so well on a large scale.

Here’s the basic process:

  1. The coffee cherries are picked using homemade machines.
  2. Immediately after picking, coffee farmers remove the skins from the coffee cherries.
  3. The skinless cherries are allowed to ferment overnight in woven bags.
  4. In the morning, the farmers wash the coffee beans by hand, removing any remaining fruit (mucilage). 
  5. The coffee beans are laid out in their parchment in the farmer’s yard to partially dry.
  6. The farmer ships the beans to a warehouse, where the parchment is completely removed and the beans are allowed to finish drying.
  7. The beans are shipped to a port city where they are dried one more time before being exported.

Varieties of Sumatra Coffee

Sumatra coffee comes in four types: Mandheling, Ankola, Lintong, and Gayo/Aceh.

Mandheling

A bowl of green Mandheling beans, a common variety of Sumatran coffee beans

Sumatra Mandheling coffee is a big hit among Sumatran coffees, and many coffee lovers rave about it. Some even say it’s among the top specialty coffees globally, though a few think it gets more praise than it deserves. It’s named after the Mandailing tribe from Sumatra’s north. Grown at heights of 2,500 to 5,000 feet, this coffee thrives near Padang, a city in West-Central Indonesia.

This coffee variety brews up with a gentle tang, giving your cup an interesting twist. It’s famous for its warm flavors of cinnamon, nutmeg, and cardamom, creating a spicy taste. Plus, you’ll catch cozy hints of chocolate and licorice. Perfect for spice lovers!

Ankola

Near Pandang, there’s another beloved coffee type. What sets it apart? Its unique drying method. Unlike the usual wet process in the area, here, beans are dried in the sun. This special touch changes the taste, making the coffee smoother and less acidic. Plus, it gives the beans a consistent look. Perfect for those exploring the world of coffee!

Lintong

Nestled around Lake Toba in North-Central Indonesia, the Lintongnihuta region is famous for its unique Lintong coffee. Unlike the usual full-bodied Sumatran brews, Lintong coffee charms with a medium body and a rich flavor that leaves a clean aftertaste. When you sip a cup of Lintong, expect a delightful mix of cedar and spice notes, all while enjoying the classic earthy taste that Sumatran coffees are known for.

Gayo/Aceh

A close-up of Sumatran coffee beans from the Gayo region

The Gayo region grows coffee beans high up, between 4,200 and 5,200 feet, making them some of the loftiest in the area!

This area is famous for its aged coffee, which is quite special. These beans are kept for months or even years before they hit the market. This aging gives the coffee a unique taste and extra depth. What makes these beans really stand out is how rare they are. Storing them for so long without them going bad is tough and costly, which is why they often come with a hefty price tag.

What Is Sumatran Coffee Like?

Explore the unique tastes, smells, and features of Sumatra coffee with us.

Is Sumatra coffee good?

Do you enjoy unique coffee flavors? Sumatran coffee might be for you! It’s known for its earthy, spicy taste, often with hints of moss and mushrooms. Some even find notes of chocolate or licorice in their cup. Dive in and explore! 

Sumatran coffee’s unique taste comes from its special wet-hulling and drying method. This process tones down the usual coffee flavors, making it stand out from the rest. Dive into its distinctiveness!

Sumatran coffees are rich and smooth, with a thick, syrupy feel. They’re also low in acidity, making them a favorite for those who enjoy a hearty cup.

Is Sumatra coffee a dark roast?

Sumatran roasters often go for a dark roast to highlight what makes their coffee special. This method emphasizes the coffee’s rich, full body without making it too acidic. So, if you love a bold and smooth cup, Sumatran dark roast is the way to go! 

Does Sumatra coffee have more caffeine?

Nope, Sumatran coffee doesn’t pack more caffeine punch than other Arabica beans—both hover around 1.5% caffeine. In the coffee world, that’s pretty standard. Robusta beans, on the other hand, are the real caffeine champs with a hefty 2.7%. So, despite what you might hear, Sumatran coffee isn’t a caffeine powerhouse.

Is Sumatra coffee good for espresso?

A starbucks cup surrounded by coffee beans, likely including some Sumatra coffee beans.

Definitely! Espresso often goes hand-in-hand with dark roasts, and Sumatra coffee, known for its rich dark roast, is a favorite. Starbucks, a big fan, has been mixing this coffee into their espresso for ages. In fact, they’re the top buyer of Sumatran beans, making these beans a perfect match for espresso lovers. So, if you’re into espresso, Sumatran coffee might just be your new go-to.

Best Sumatra Coffee Beans

Overall best Sumatran coffee beans: Volcanica Sumatra Mandheling Reserve

  • Sumatra Coffee is known for its smooth chocolate flavor with earthy undertones.
  • Among the world's finest coffees displaying rich flavor, extraordinary full body and distinctively vibrant, low-key acidity.
  • USDA Organic Certified, Fair Trade Certified, Rain Forest Alliance, and Certified Shade Grown.
  • Dark Roast, Whole Beans, Fresh roasted then immediately packed and sealed to assure freshness.
  • 100% Customer Satisfaction Guaranteed.

Sumatra coffee, famous for its low acidity, rich taste, and full body, comes from North Central Sumatra, specifically an area called Sumatera Utara.

These beans are dark-roasted, a classic style for this region’s coffee. They have a rich, chocolatey taste with hints of earth, and leave a sweet, fruity aftertaste like brown sugar and wine-dried fruits.

Volcanica’s beans are not just any beans. They’re fair trade certified, Rain Forest Alliance approved, and shade-grown. Enjoy your coffee knowing it’s good for the planet and its people. 

Best medium roast Sumatra coffee beans: Koffee Kult Sumatra Mandheling

  • Sumatra Mandheling Coffee: A premium reserve Indonesian coffee beans grown in Sumatra, Indonesia.
  • Fresh Roasted Coffee Beans: Our whole bean coffee are roasted in small batches for maximum freshness and flavor.
  • Dark Roast: This single origin arabica coffee is rich and full-bodied with a bold flavor profile and low acidity.
  • Whole Bean or Ground: Choose between whole bean or ground coffee to suit your brewing method.
  • Aged Sumatra Coffee: Our Sumatra Mandheling Coffee is roasted for a unique and distinct flavor, coffee beans Sumatra reserve.
  • Fair Trade and Organic: We are committed to ethical and sustainable sourcing practices INCLUDING organic Sumatra coffee.
  • Flavor Notes: Hints of chocolate, earthy tones, and a smooth finish from this coffee sumatra.
  • Perfect for Espresso or Drip Coffee: This versatile Sumatra whole bean can be used for both espresso and drip coffee. Sumatra ground is great for pour overs and cold brew.
  • Premium Quality: Our Sumatra coffee beans are hand-selected and roasted with care. Hand packaged right after roasting to ensure freshness.
  • Satisfaction Guarantee: If you're not satisfied with your purchase, we offer a full refund.

Dive into the unique world of Koffee Kult’s Mandheling coffee beans! Unlike the usual dark roast from Sumatra, these beans are medium-roasted, offering a fresh twist. You’ll enjoy a smooth, medium-bodied coffee with just the right touch of acidity. Prepare for a delightful sip filled with hints of syrup and baker’s chocolate, capturing the essence of this famous region.

Koffee Kult stands out because they send out their beans super fast, within 24 hours of roasting. This means you get the freshest beans possible, offering you a true taste of what Indonesian coffee is all about.

Best Sumatran peaberry coffee beans: Volcanica Sumatra Gayo Peaberry

  • A rare Indonesian coffee that is delightfully smooth with a rich heavy body, low acidity and exotic flavor with an intense syrupy aftertaste
  • Fair Trade and Rainforest Alliance Certified to protect the earth and people
  • Medium roasted whole beans allowing the true flavor characteristic to come through for a remarkable taste.
  • Low Acid Coffee, Medium Roasted, Whole Bean Coffee, Fresh roasted then immediately packed and sealed to assure freshness.
  • 100% Customer Satisfaction Guaranteed.

If you’ve followed my blog, you know I love talking about peaberries. New here? Let me introduce you to these unique coffee beans you shouldn’t miss.

Most coffee cherries hold two beans, but about 5% are unique, carrying just one. This solo bean, known as a peaberry, gets all the nutrients to itself, making it denser, rounder, and more flavorful than its two-bean siblings. It’s a special kind of coffee bean that stands out for its rich taste. 

Imagine mixing the special peaberries with the towering heights of the Gayo region – you get an amazing coffee! It tastes like caramel, peach, chocolate bits, and a hint of wisteria flower. This combo of flowery and fruity is rare for Sumatra coffee. But peaberries? They always add a rich, bold, and unique twist no matter where they’re from. 

Best reduced caffeine Sumatran coffee beans: Fresh Roasted Coffee Sumatra Half-Caf

  • This coffee is a half and half blend of our Organic Fair Trade Sumatra and our Organic Fair Trade, Water-Processrd Sumatra Decaf. Both organically grown, chemical free coffees combine to form a rich and bold decaf coffee with no astringent decaf flavor.
  • Unlike some other coffees you could choose, this is not a blend. This bag contains 100% Arabica coffee from Sumatra, no additives, artificial flavors or preservatives.
  • USDA Organic, Swiss Water Processed. Fair Trade Certified. Decaffeinated. Single-Origin From Bener Meriah, Aceh, Sumatra. Catimor, Ateng, Timtim, and Bourbon Varietals. Wet Hulled-Semi Washed & Sun dried.
  • Swiss Water processed, Rainforest Alliance, Fair Trade, and USDA Organic certified. A 50/50 blend of our full strength and Swiss Water Decaf. The Swiss Water chemical-free process removes 99.9% of the caffeine while the RFA seal ensures regular auditing to meet strict standards of sustainability. Fair Trade Certification guarantees a minimum market price plus additional premiums for development projects. Organic certification ensures that your coffee is regulated at each stage of production and
  • Coffee For Everybody whether you’re a casual coffee drinker or a third wave connoisseur. Fresh Roasted Coffee is family-owned, sustainably sourced and proudly roasted, blended, and packaged in the United States of America. We offer more than 80 varieties of whole bean and ground coffee, coffee pods, and unroasted coffee.
  • At Fresh Roasted Coffee. We’re committed to sustainability from sourcing to roasting to packaging. There’s also nothing artificial in these single-origin selections - no additives, no fillers, no flavorings.
  • 100% Arabica Coffee. Certified Orthodox Union (OU) Kosher. Approved for use in standard drip coffee makers as well as espresso machines, automatics, pour overs, Aeropress, French press, moka pot, and percolators.

Earlier, I mentioned Sumatra coffee isn’t packed with caffeine. But, if you’re aiming to cut down your caffeine even more, Fresh Roasted Coffee has a great half-caf option worth trying. 

What gives half-caf its name? It’s a perfect mix of Fresh Roasted Coffee’s Sumatra beans and their Swiss-water decaf. Both are USDA organic, fair trade, and Rainforest Alliance certified. A guilt-free blend!

This medium roast from Goya / Aceh boasts a creamy, earthy taste with rich chocolate hints, just what you’d expect from the area. Perfect for coffee beginners!

Best Sumatra decaf coffee beans: Volcanica Sumatra Mandheling Reserve Decaf

  • Sumatra Mandheling Decaf Coffee Flavor Notes: Mellow, Earthy, and Sweet & Subtle
  • Decaffeination by the Swiss Water Process: 100% chemical free process that delivers coffee that is 99.9% caffeine-free while protecting the unique origin characteristics this Sumatran Mandheling coffee.
  • Medium roasted whole beans allowing the true flavor characteristic to come through for a remarkable taste.
  • Fresh roasted then immediately packed and sealed to assure freshness.
  • 100% Customer Satisfaction Guaranteed.

Searching for a low-caffeine pick? Let me share a decaf choice that’s so tasty, it even wins over a decaf skeptic like me.

Discover the decaf delight of the top-rated Sumatran coffee beans! These beans go through the Swiss Water Process, an all-natural way to remove nearly all caffeine without losing the unique flavors. Enjoy your coffee, minus the buzz!

Discover rich, dark-roasted single-origin beans with hints of sandalwood, nuts, and earth, true to Sumatran tradition.

Volcanica Sumatra Mandheling 

  • Sumatra Coffee is known for its smooth chocolate flavor with earthy undertones.
  • Among the world's finest coffees displaying rich flavor, extraordinary full body and distinctively vibrant, low-key acidity.
  • USDA Organic Certified, Naturally low acid coffee.
  • Medium roasted whole beans allowing the true flavor characteristic to come through for a remarkable taste.
  • 100% Customer Satisfaction Guaranteed.

Volcanica decided to step up its medium-roast game, not wanting to miss out on the fun. Much like its darker cousin, the Volcanica Sumatra Mandheling Reserve, this medium roast has its unique twist. The real surprise comes in its flavors – imagine tasting hints of toffee, lemongrass, and dried fruit in your cup, a delightful twist from the usual flavors of this region’s coffees.

Cooper’s Cask Coffee Organic Dark Roast Sumatra

  • Organic Sumatra Coffee, Whole Bean Dark Roast, 2 lb: A dark roast with an amazing taste profile! Cooper's Cask Coffee is a USDA Certified Roasting Company.
  • Amazing Taste Profile: This organic Sumatra bean has a smooth woody earth, dark chocolate and a touch of dark cherry. A well round, rich and smooth dark roast.
  • Quality Sourced Beans: Each lot is cupped, and we are constantly improving our roast profiles to provide the best coffee possible.
  • Cooper's Promise: We’ve spent thousands of hours working on our craft. Therefore, we are confident that you will enjoy our coffee. If for any reason you do not love it, simply let us know, and we will issue a refund or replacement free of charge.
  • Roasted by Cooper's Cask Coffee - A Small Batch Roasting Company - We are a small batch roaster. Roasting in small batches gives us the ability to maintain full control of the roast profile. This allows us to create amazing taste profiles for you to enjoy.

Cooper’s Cask offers top-notch coffee: 100% USDA organic, fair-trade, and crafted in small batches by expert roasters for true coffee lovers.

Dive into this coffee’s world and taste the magic. Imagine sipping on dark chocolate, feeling the earthy wood notes, and catching a hint of dark cherry. It’s smooth, rich, and perfectly balanced – everything a great Sumatran coffee should be.

Grounds and Hounds Sumatra Single-Origin

Grounds and Hounds isn’t just about great coffee; they’re on a mission to help pets. They donate 20% of their profits to support pet rescue programs. Plus, all their coffee beans are 100% organic and fair trade certified.

Having a strong mission is great, but it’s not the only thing that gets a coffee noticed. Take Grounds and Hounds Sumatra for example. This coffee is a standout from its region, boasting very dark-roasted beans that deliver a bold, rich, and smoky taste. You’ll catch hints of cocoa and pie spices in every sip, and its aroma? It’s like breathing in the sweet scent of toasted marshmallows and maple syrup.

Volcanica Sumatra Gayo

Yes, we’re talking about Volcanica again! They just keep impressing with their amazing coffee. This pick, like their others, is both fair trade and Rainforest Alliance certified. You’re in for a treat!

This medium roast, like peaberry but less intense, bursts with flavors of peach, wisteria, chocolatey cacao nib, and sweet caramel. Dive into its unique taste! 

Camano Island Coffee Organic Sumatra

Camano Island’s beans are not just delicious; they’re also fair trade, organic, and grown in the shade. Enjoy your coffee guilt-free!

Their dark roast boasts a smoky taste, hints of dried fruit, caramel, and nuts. It’s rich and syrupy, true to the region’s best traditions.

Fresh Roasted Coffee Sumatra Mandheling

  • Love the bold, rich and earthy flavor of Sumatra Mandheling coffee but looking for an even more intense experience? Our 100% Dark Sumatra coffee brings out syrupy, spiced notes that make the profile of this Indonesian coffee exceptionally captivating.
  • Love the bold, rich and earthy flavor of Sumatra Mandheling coffee but looking for an even more intense experience? Our Dark Sumatra coffee brings out syrupy, spiced notes that make the profile of this Indonesian coffee exceptionally captivating.
  • Single-Origin From Bener Meriah, Sumatra. Bold Body, Medium Roast. Ateng, Tim Tim, and Bourbon Varietals, Grown 1,200-1,500 masl. Wet Hulled & Sun-Dried.
  • Coffee For Everybody whether you’re a casual coffee drinker or a third wave connoisseur. Fresh Roasted Coffee is family-owned, sustainably sourced and proudly roasted, blended, and packaged in the United States of America. We offer more than 80 varieties of whole bean and ground coffee, coffee pods, and unroasted coffee.
  • Fresh Roasted Coffee is roasted on Loring SmartRoasters to reduce our carbon footprint and provide superior flavor. Fresh Roasted Coffee nitrogen flushes every bag to remove flavor-stealing oxygen and keep your coffee at its freshest and best tasting for as long as possible. Fresh Roasted Coffee bags are resealable and feature a one-way degassing valve.
  • At Fresh Roasted Coffee We’re committed to sustainability from sourcing to roasting to packaging. There’s also nothing artificial in these single-origin selections - no additives, no fillers, no flavorings.
  • 100% Arabica Coffee. Certified Orthodox Union (OU) Kosher. Approved for use in standard drip coffee makers as well as espresso machines, automatics, pour overs, Aeropress, French press, moka pot, and percolators.

Get ready for a puzzle! Even though “Mandheling” is written in large letters on the package, the beans inside are from Lintong. It’s a mystery I’m still trying to solve. If you know why, I’m all ears!

I’ve discovered that their dark-roasted coffee is wonderfully rich and bold, with delicious dark chocolate notes. Plus, it’s sustainably sourced, and they roast it in an eco-friendly way. However, despite the name, there have been some reports of the beans not being very fresh when they arrive.

Prefer something lighter? Try the medium roast option!

Starbucks Sumatra Dark Roast

  • PREMIUM WHOLE BEAN COFFEE—Starbucks delivers exceptional coffee cup after cup with this 12-ounce bag of Sumatra dark roast whole bean coffee—6 bags each
  • STARBUCKS SINGLE-ORIGIN SUMATRA COFFEE—This full-bodied single-origin dark coffee has notes of rich herbs and rustic spice
  • FRESH TASTE—Starbucks adheres to the highest quality standards—shipping you the same carefully roasted 100% arabica coffee beans we brew in our cafés
  • MAKE IT YOUR OWN—An everyday cup no matter how you brew it, Starbucks whole bean coffee can be ground and used for a variety of brewing methods, including drip brewer, coffee press, pour-over and moka pot
  • ETHICALLY SOURCED—Starbucks is committed to 100% ethical coffee sourcing in partnership with Conservation International

Starbucks might not often top my favorite coffee lists, but it’s no shock they shine here. Why? Because they’re the biggest buyers of Sumatran coffee. This rich coffee helps make their espresso blends taste just right. While you can find it ground in some places, I say go for the whole beans. Trust me, it’s worth it.

Discover the secret behind the iconic Starbucks latte flavor – it’s all about the dark-roasted, single-origin Sumatra beans! With their rich, earthy aroma and hints of spice and herbs, these beans are the key to making your homemade latte taste just like the real deal.

Klatch Coffee Sumatra Mutu Batak

I’ve kept an exciting choice for the end. These beans are medium-roasted and blend flavors of chocolate, cedar wood, and unexpectedly, bell peppers. It’s not the usual Sumatra coffee you might know, and that’s precisely Klatch Coffee’s aim. For those looking to explore unique Sumatra coffee beans, this one promises a delightful adventure.

Final Verdict

It’s mossy. It’s earthy. It’s deliciously unique. It’s Sumatran coffee.

Are you a Starbucks lover dreaming of making your favorite espresso at home? Or maybe you’re exploring the world’s top coffee spots? Sumatran coffee, a gem from Indonesia and the fourth-largest coffee producer, is a must-try. With this guide, you’re all set to discover the finest Sumatran coffee beans. Dive in and enjoy!

Have you tried any coffees from this list yet? Or do you know a fantastic Sumatran coffee roaster I missed? Share your finds! Also, I’m on the hunt for the next coffee-producing country to explore. Drop your suggestions below!

The best Sumatran coffee beans

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