INDONESIA: A RARE COFFEE DELIGHT
From untouched beaches with crystal clear waters, to densely forested volcanic mountains where the sounds of bubbling lava synchronize with the tigers’ roars, Indonesia invokes a combined sense of awe, fear, and wonder for its moving nature.
Indonesia’s climate and archipelago geography makes this divine place ideal for producing coffee. Known for its dark and earthy flavor profile, a taste of Indonesian coffee reminds you of the land’s gravitating environment.
The Dutch introduced coffee to the islands of Indonesia when they arrived in the 16th century. Dutch-owned plantations exploited the labor of Indonesian people, leaving them in poverty, starvation, and destitution.
The plantations broke up in the 1860s and 1870s in the wake of the coffee leaf rust epidemic that devastated Indonesia’s coffee market. With many of the Dutch estates gone, Indonesian coffee farmers gained control of small plots of their land, leading to the predominance of smallholder growers. Today, Indonesia is the fourth largest coffee-producing country in the world.
Indonesian Coffee Culture
Since its founding in the 17th century, coffee has been a staple in Indonesian life. Drinking at least a cup of coffee a day has become an established tradition that the people of Indonesia cannot skip. The country’s strong coffee culture is most tangible on the morning streets.
On almost every street corner, you’ll find “warung kopi,” translating to coffee stands, bustling with customers who offer a selection of coffee candies, instant coffee, plain brewed coffee, and many more to choose from.
Sumatra, one of the largest islands in Indonesia, is known for its earthy, savory, and herbaceous coffees. The island’s climate, combination of grown varieties, and a unique processing method called Giling Basah are just a few contributing factors for producing such distinct coffee. Giling Basah is a wet-hulling method that emphasizes the body and mutes the acidity of Mount Leuser-grown coffee.
Coffee farmers in Sumatra typically harvest their coffee cherries, depulp them by hand, and allow them to dry for short periods of time. The farmers then bring the cherries to the coffee marketplace or collection point where the beans are bought at anywhere from 30 to 50 percent moisture. After the coffee is hulled, it is then dried to 11 to 13 percent moisture, making it ready for export.
The resulting tasting notes of Sumatra’s coffee, one of the rarest in the world, range from black spice, wood, and chocolate – a richness that lingers on the back of the palate.
Explore our Indonesian coffee here!
Header Photo Credit: Rashel Ochoa