Lintong accurately describes only coffees grown in a relatively small region just southwest of Lake Toba in the district of Lintong Nihuta. Small plots of coffee are scattered over a high, undulating plateau of fern-covered clay. The coffee is grown without shade, but also without chemicals of any kind, and almost entirely by smallholders. Each of the small farmers produces coffee on less than a hectare of land. They may bring some of their coffee to sell at the weekly market in Lintong, but companies also go directly to the farmers to purchase most of it at a better price. Because of its dark bluish color, the coffee is also well known as “Blue Batak” (Batak is the ethnic group that inhabits the region). Notes of chocolate are evident in the finish. High-quality Lintong differentiates themselves from other Sumatran coffees in their clean mouthfeel and slightly brighter acidity.
In contrast with Mandailing, Lintong has a medium body but retain notes of dark chocolate and fresh earth. The coffee’s taste recalls sage, tobacco, cedar and herbs, but these earthy flavors are balanced by chocolate tones. It is a fairly robust cup with a low to medium level of acidity and a syrupy mouthfeel.