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Hutan Project Update 2022

2021 saw the launch of an exciting new coffee from Koperasi Redagang Kopi (KOPEPI) Ketiara co-operative in Sumatra, the Sumatra Hutan coffee.

DRWakefield has been importing coffee from Ketiara for many years now. The co-op was founded by Rahmah Ketiara back in 2008 and has developed a well-earned reputation for producing excellent Fairtrade and organic coffee, with all the coffee they grow being dual certified. The money they receive from the Fairtrade Premium on their coffee goes directly towards projects or causes that support their local community.

Ketiara is always looking to improve and innovate and is community-minded at its core. It ensures to pay high prices for coffee, meaning producers come back year after year. But on top of this, the cooperative offers training to producers on how to apply organic fertilisers and have even held aerobic fitness classes. By focusing on supporting and empowering women in the community, an incredible 75% of the co-op are women.

The latest Ketiara project is the Hutan Project. Developed together by Rahmah and DRWakefield, the project aims to preserve and protect the local forest. Ketiara is in Aceh province in northern Sumatra and borders the Leuser Ecosystem, a forest with some of the richest diversity on the planet. It is now the only place where the Sumatran elephant, rhino, tiger and orangutan can still be found in one area. However, this forest is under threat from deforestation for the cultivation of palm oil, hence the project has been aptly named ‘Hutan’, which is the word for ‘forest’ in the local Bahasa language.

The Hutan coffee is not only Fairtrade and organic certified, meaning the community benefit from the Fairtrade Premium and the local environment benefits from the lack of chemicals used in production, but it also includes a specific ‘Hutan Project Premium’. This premium is 10 c/lb on all the Hutan coffee. This money is set aside, going directly into the Hutan fund. Within the project’s first year, $1,587 was raised through DRWakefield sales. The money was solely spent on protecting the forest. So far this has been done through planting a variety of indigenous trees. The total number of trees planted so far is 1,079. Whilst certainly impressive from just one year of the project, Rahmah and Ketiara are aiming much higher, with a final goal of planting 1 million trees over a number of years.

The trees planted are a mix of shade and fruit trees and were all hand-chosen by Rahmah. They are native to the area and have been planted across five different local villages: Tapak Moge, Umang Village, Wih Masin Village, Paya Beke Village and Mah Bengi Village.

So far, 454 Mindi trees have been planted, the highest number of species planted. Mindi is more commonly known as chinaberry or Indian lilac and is part of the mahogany family. It’s a very fast-growing tree and so is perfect for providing shade, creating good conditions for coffee, which naturally grows in forest environments.

20 Trembesi trees have also been planted. Trembesi is also known as the rain tree as its leaves fold up during rainy weather. It grows to a height of 15-25 metres and has a wide, symmetrical canopy that often resembles an umbrella. This canopy provides excellent shade, making it ideal for cultivating coffee under.

The remainder of the trees planted this year have all been fruit trees, and include the following: 250 Tamarillo trees, 106 Mulberry trees, 90 Avocado trees, 74 Banana trees, 50 Orange trees, 30 Durian trees and 5 Fig trees. All these trees bear fruit which provides producers with an additional sustainable source of income and improves the area’s diversity.

Not only does Hutan coffee support this fantastic project, but it tastes equally good! The profile is sweet, tropical and complex. It has a chocolatey body with notes of pineapple, lemongrass, berries, and brown sugar in the cup and scores 85-86. ­­

Hutan coffee is currently sold out, but the 2022 crop is due to arrive in the summer and will be available in the UK and EU.