Multimedia: Lintang Coffee Millers of Sumatra
Over the past week I have been up to my chest in tea plants and knee deep in coffee beans. I have slid muddy slopes on my butt down too many times to count and dug dirt out of my camera more than I care to think about. But I gotta say, it has been a great time. I have been able to get plenty of creative images for my client and I feel I have stretched my creativity and that is always a good thing.
Most of the trip has gone as planned. All but yesterday, when 10 minutes turned into the scariest part of the trip, on our way back to Palembang. We were only a few hours into our 10 hour trip back to the big city when we came around a bend in the road and found four large bamboo trees placed across the highway. Having lived in some pretty rough areas for most of my adult life, the first thing I thought was: bandits! Our driver gets out of the car just as I was telling him to continue to drive on over the trees, but he didn’t hear me and jumped out and started moving them off the road. About the same time a small van pulls up close behind us and four men jump out. They walk up to the bamboo and then look around. At first I thought they were just like us, travelers stopped by the road block. But then I see one of them has a pistol stuck in his pants behind his back. I suppose he might have been a plain clothed security officer of some sort. But the chances of a security officer appearing just at that moment is about like winning the lottery. About this time our driver finishes moving the large bamboo poles and and the man with the gun seems to show no interest in us. My heart is pounding as we drive off. Apparently, we were either not who they was looking for, or we were too much of a risk for them. Anyway I look at it I thank the Lord for watching over us.
The multimedia slide show below is on the Lintang Coffee Millers of Sumatra. The coffee millers hull the cherry, thus leaving the familiar much loved coffee bean. These millers spend all day hauling 220 lbs (100 kg) sacks of dried coffee cherries from trucks into their shop, up a ramp, dump them into a hopper, where they get sucked down through the hulling machine that removes the skin and fruit, and leaves the raw bean. This is just one step in the process of how we end up with rich dark Sumatran coffee. I hope you enjoy this peak at the Lintang Coffee Millers of Sumatra.