Among various other natural treasures of Indonesia, coffee as one of the most consumed goods all over the planet has found its place in the economy of this country. Providing a suitable location and a pleasant climate, Indonesia is positioned in the top of the list of coffee producers and exporters all over the planet.
How did coffee come to Indonesia?
The truth is, coffee actually does not have Indonesian origins – Arabica coffee was brought to this part of the world in the 17th century, in the time when this area was dominated by the Dutch. The goal of bringing coffee to Indonesia was to break the Arab dominance on coffee market.
First areas of Indonesia to be covered with coffee plants were Batavia in Jakarta, as well as Bogor and Sukabami. The islands of Java, Sulawesi and Sumatra were also some of the initial spots for plantation. The coffee plantation, its sale within the borders of the country, as well as exportation influenced the development of transportation all over the country. Both road and water traffic started to rapidly improve in order to provide efficient transportation of this good that had a constant increase in demand. Having a good transportation system (especially when it comes to rail transportation) provided bringing many valuable commodities to Indonesia, such as sugar, tobacco, pepper and tea.
Coffee was also produced in the area of the islands that were under the Portuguese domination, and even though they also were importing Arabica coffee, the seedlings were slightly different than those brought by the Dutch. When the territory was affected by intensive coffee rust (especially in the area of Java), many of the producers stopped producing coffee and started plantation of tea and rubber trees. However, the Dutch didn’t want to give up on coffee so they just changed the type of the coffee that they were importing so started producing Liberica coffee. However, it wasn’t really a successful solution and their last try was the Robusta coffee. This coffee has preserved its role in the national economy of Indonesia to this day.
Javanese Coffee Production
As one of the largest islands of the country, Java represents the most important coffee producer, as well, and it is widely known for the plantation of Arabica coffee. This island is referred to as one of the areas that provide the finest coffee of the world. The coffee from Java can be stored and preserved up to three years and it only improves its quality.
Coffee Production of Sulawesi
Famous for its dry method of processing Arabica coffee, the most important coffee plantations are located in the area of Toraja Mountains. Coffee producers in this area claim that its quality is owed to the traditional ways of the plant cultivation – plantations are usually small and private and the beans are picked and sorted by hand, providing the highest quality of the final product. Arabica from Toraja is mostly exported to Japan since it is really popular there. It is one of the most expensive types of coffee and it cannot be easily found on the market since the procedure of its cultivation is pretty complicated.
Coffee Plantation in Sumatra
Sumatra is also one of the large producers of coffee in Indonesia, but unlike Java and Sulawesi, it is not focused on the production of Arabica coffee only. The type of coffee that is usually cultivated in the area of Sumatra besides Arabica (that is commonly known as Ankola on the market) is Mandheling coffee. Both of the coffees are cultivated either in the western or in the central areas of the island. They are dry-processed and widely famous for its special, rich and strong flavor.