Indonesia

Indonesia is the fourth largest coffee producer in the world. Famous for ‘Java coffee’, trees were first introduced to Indonesia from the Netherlands in the seventeenth century. The first coffee from Java Island was sold in Amsterdam in 1712. However, in 1877 all the plantations were wiped out by coffee rust (disease). Robusta trees from Africa were then sent to replace them. In present times, less than 25% of all Indonesian coffee exported is arabica beans, making it one of the most important producers of robusta in the world. In 2007, Indonesia produced 14 million bags of coffee. Over 30% of which is consumed locally. More than 90% of Indonesian coffee is grown by small holdings averaging one hectare or less. All Arabica coffee from Indonesia is handpicked and after harvesting, there are a variety of ways for Indonesian coffees to be processed, each method influencing the final flavour and aroma in the cup. Only a few farmers in Sulawesi, Flores and Bali use the most traditional method of all, dry (natural) processing. But most farmers on the islands of Sulawesi, Sumatra, Flores, and Papua use an unusual process, called "giling basah" (or wet hulling). This method is where farmers remove the outer skin from the cherries (mechanically) using a rustic pulping machine, called a "luwak". The coffee beans, still coated with mucilage, are then stored for up to a day. The mucilage is then washed off and the coffee is partially dried for sale. Collectors and processors then hull the coffee in a semi-wet state, which gives the beans a distinctive bluish-green appearance. This process reduces acidity and increases body, resulting in the classic Indonesian cup profile. Larger processing mills, estates and some farmers' cooperatives on Sumatra, Java, Sulawesi and Bali produce ‘fully washed’ coffee. The best growing areas throughout the Archipelago are on the islands of: Java, Sumatra, Sulawesi and Floe. Java coffee is subtly aromatic and produces relatively low acidity, but is smooth and well balanced. Sumatra, has a heavier body and is generally preferred in the speciality industry. Indonesian coffee, in Arabica form, is quite strong and rich with a syrupy mouth feel.

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