WELCOME TO the HEAVEN OF SPECIALTY COFFEE
Stretching from the island of Sumatra to the island of papua, Indonesia is filled with thousands of islands. Most of them have the potential to produce a high quality Coffee. Thanks to its geographical condition and climate, naturally, Indonesian coffees have a high standard of quality that are preffered by the global consumers. Traditionally, specialty coffees are of Arabica breed. The recently uprising premium Robusta coffees are termed as “fine” Robusta.
Some well known coffee producing areas are Sumatra, Java, Sulawesi, Bali, Flores, and Papua. Each island has their own characteristics, producing their own unique cup of coffee. Going deeper, each island is also having various areas which also produce coffees with their own specific attributes. Some of the areas are even the home to their own coffee cultivars as the result of centuries of interaction between the plant and its environment.
Sumatra is located in the northwestern Indonesia, it has the earliest harvest season. The harvest season is usually occurs around November – March, so any buyers should expect most of product should be ready to be shipped by April. There are several speciality grade coffee produced in this island, including Aceh Gayo, Mandheling, Lintong, Solok, Kerinci, Semendo, Bengkulu, and Lampung.
Sumatran coffee has a unique flavour characteristics, it is strong and balanced. Making it suitable to be made as a base for wide array of coffee drinks ranging from espresso and all of its mixed beverages, to the speciality single origin coffee. These feats had boosted its popularity among the world’s population, making it one of the most popular coffee accross the globe.
Java, is an island well known for its coffee since the colonial era, making it the oldest coffee producer in Indonesia. Its popularity is well preserved so that people used to use the word java to refer as coffee. It is the island where all it started, where the Dutch introduced arabica coffee for the first time in Indonesia, where its then devastated by the rust leaf disease, where people were used to be enslaved in the plantation, and now, where most of Indonesian coffee inspirations came from. Java is the most populated island in the country, thus, creating a potential market, which since the last decade has been moving Indonesian coffee growth to the point that it has never been before.
Java is divided into three areas: West java, Central Java, and East Java. All of those areas produce distinctive characteristics of coffee. West Java coffees tend to be more fruity with just enough body and strong caramel sweetness. Central Java coffees tend to be more balanced and spicy, with relatively strong earthiness. While East Java coffees tend to be more well balanced, with distinctive floral aroma and a little bit of spice at the end.
The vast and mountain rich area of the once known as Celebes, an area known for its environmental diversity, home to the most highest ground coffee plantations in the country. The Eastern, Western, Northen and Sourthern part of the island have a quite distinctive characteristics, thus, producing varied unique coffees. Most of the production came from Toraja, an area in the Southern part of the island. On one hand, the thick forest and high slopes in the plantation contribute to the cleanliness of the environment. On the other hand, it limits the access to the place, boosting up the transportation costs.
Sulawesi coffees are characterized with its fruity undertone, which is mixed with strong chocolatey flavour. Toraja Kalosi is the cultivar that is famous for its distinctive features of the strong body and low acidity, which is similar to those coming from Sumatra, but with less complex earthiness, and offers more cleanliness and freshness, creating a well balanced cup. It is also unique due to its feature that can maintain its original characteristics even when its roasted with dark profile.
EAST NUSA TENGGARA COFFEE
This region produces unique cup of coffee which shared much similarities with those grown in Java. The first coffee planted in this region is Bourbon cultivar, which was introduced by the Dutch around four centuries ago, and still producing coffee with its own uniqueness as the result of centuries of interaction with the island’s environment. The coffee produced in this area is famous for its single origin complexness, which makes it a little bit unsuitable to be roasted with dark profile, since the original taste tend to fade away. It is known for its cleaner after taste, despite the full body characteristics and its complexity.
East Nusa Tenggara coffees are characterised with sweet, fruity, complex acidity, and hint of flowers. The coffee also tend to have not so thick body, making it very suitable to be manually brewed. The islands grown various cultivars from Yellow Bourbon, Yellow Cattura, Timor, Arabusta, and Cattimor, which is a hybrid from Yellow Cattura with Timor Coffee. This rich varieties is however, are still not well documented. Most of the times, one plantation produces various coffees, making it hard to distinguish.
The home to the famous Mount Agung, one of the most challenging active volcanoes in the country, which also hosts the coffee plantation in this island of the goddess. Coffee is produced in the Kintamani region, which located between the Batukaru and Mount Agung. Bali coffee is known for its fruitness, which tend to have orange and sweet citrus flavour, combined with strong chocolate flavour that will not go unnoticed.
Bali coffee is known as Kintamani. It is known for its rich taste and delicious aroma. Its considered as a delicacy in most parts of the world. Arabica Kintamani has less acidic content and has a huge demand globally. In practice, most of coffee plantations in Bali has some orange trees, which contributed to the authentic orange aftertaste of Kintamani coffee. On top of that, the well-balanced body and earthy flavour are the features that can be found in Bali coffee.
Bali Kintamani coffee comes from an area in the northern highlands of Bali. It is grown in the fertile volcanic soil of Mount Batur, on an island in the central Kintamani region. Bali’s specialty coffee beans are known for their characteristic bright clean taste with elevated fruity notes. The brew’s caffeine levels are naturally low.
The vastness of its region combined with low population makes the island of Papua full of mystery. Many of its regions are still unexplored until this day. Many areas of mountains are covered with think forest, enriching its biodiversity and preserving its environmental cleanliness. This geographical features are also determining the varied cup qualities of its coffees. However, its remoteness still makes it difficult to explore the full potential for coffee growing areas. There are two main coffee growing areas in Papua. The first is the Baliem Valley, in the central highlands of the Jayawijaya region, surrounding the town of Wamena. The second is the Kamu Valley in the Nabire region, at the eastern edge of the central highland, surrounding the town of Moanemani. Both areas lie at altitudes between 1400 and 2000 meters, creating ideal conditions for Arabica production.
Papua produces high quality arabica. Its unique flavor and delightful aroma has its origins in the Jamaican Blue Mountain cultivar, which are known to yield the world’s most celebrated coffee. The traditional flavors were embellished with floral and fruity hints from the clean environment of Papua, giving rise to a trully wonderful coffee. The only downside of this region is its limited infrastructures and access to good processing practices due to its remoteness. Still, the coffees are really good.
Luwak is Civet (Paradoxurus hermaphroditus) in Bahasa. Its originated from Indonesia, and being produced mainly in islands of Sumatra, Java, Bali, Sulawesi and East Nusa Tenggara. It is a coffee that sourced from partially digested coffee cherries, which have been eaten and defecated by the Luwak. The cherries are fermented as they pass through a civet’s intestines, and after being defecated with other fecal matter, they are collected (Mahendradatta & Tawali, 2002). This is why coffee luwak is a form of processing rather than a variety of coffee. Its invention took place in the colonial era, where the growers had no access to the beans they produced so they collected beans from the feces of wild luwak in the plantation and started to process and brew it. Luwak coffee was used to be collected from the wild, which makes sure its optimal quality. However, when the producers knew how much it can sell, they started to put the civets in captivity, some even do this by ignoring their welfare, continuously feeding them with any coffee cherries, producing ‘fake’ civet coffees.
It is known to produce the most unique flavour, enhancing the original taste of any coffee varieties, while lowering its acidity to the level which is impossible to be found naturally. The secret lies in the ‘post harvest handling’ done by the civet. The civet will instinctively pick only the fruits with the right ripeness to be eaten, then the process is done in his belly along with other food that entered. During digestion, digestive enzymes and gastric liquids permeat through the cherries and break down storage proteins, yielding shorter peptides. This alters the composition of amino acids and impacts the aroma of the coffee. In the roasting process, the proteins undergo a non-enzymatic Maillard reaction (Marcone, 2004). The beans begin to germinate by malting, which reduces their bitterness (Marcone, 2007). It might be unappealing knowing that this unique delicacy, which creates the most expensive coffee in the world, came from the feces of a civet. However, the processes after that made sure the hygienity of this coffee. The beans go through washing and drying process before it get milled. Then, the high temperatures involved in the roasting process can surely remove most of the unwanted germs.
Source: Kopi a cup of greatness (Ministry of Agriculture of Republic Indonesia)