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My Favorite Bold Coffee #8 – Sumatra

For the past 30 years, I’ve started each day with a coffee press of Sumatra or, when it’s available, Aged Sumatra.

Sumatra was the first Starbucks coffee I ever tasted. I encountered it on my first visit to the Pike Place store in 1981. It was distinctive, unmistakable…Sumatra.

I described that first sip in my book Pour Your Heart Into It. What I wrote then still describes how I feel about this coffee today.

“As we spoke, the counterman scooped out some Sumatra coffee beans, ground them, put the grounds in a filter cone, and poured hot water over them. Although the task took only a few minutes, he approached the work almost reverently, like an artisan. When he handed me a porcelain mug filled with the freshly brewed coffee, the steam and the aroma seemed to envelop my entire face. There was no question of adding milk or sugar. I took a small, tentative sip. Whoa. I threw my head back, and my eyes shot wide open. Even from a single sip, I could tell it was stronger than any coffee I had ever tasted. Seeing my reaction, the Starbucks people laughed, ‘Is it too much for you?’ I grinned and shook my head. Then I took another sip. This time I could taste more of the full flavors as they slipped over my tongue. By the third sip I was hooked.”

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