Why Do People Rarely Hear "Indonesian Coffee"?

Why Do People Rarely Hear "Indonesian Coffee"?

Have you ever wondered why Indonesian coffee is not as widely recognized as other types of coffee? Well, I have. 

Let's take some time to talk about one of the world's greatest hidden treasures: Indonesian Coffee. 

Last month, we had a visitor from Indonesia. Wulan is a family of coffee farmers from Jepara, Indonesia, and she came here for a vacation. We took her around to experience what San Francisco is famous for: Ghirardelli Square, Golden Gate, and of course... Good coffee.

When she ordered coffee from this famous coffee shop, the barista told her that Sumatera coffee was from Africa. Being from a coffee farmer family, she couldn't ignore the misinformation and explained to him the fact that Sumatera coffee is actually from Indonesia. 

When Beaneka Coffee participated in the SF Coffee Festival 2021, I met many coffee enthusiasts, yet they had never heard of Indonesian Coffee. As they learned more about us, they were surprised that their morning coffee is actually from Indonesia, such as Bali Kintamani, West Jawa, Sumatera Aceh Gayo, Toraja, and many more. It is easy to find Indonesian coffee at your closest grocery store aisle, but why do people rarely hear the word "Indonesian Coffee"?

Indonesian coffee is typically named after its origins. But first, we need to talk about the Coffee Belt to understand why. 

The coffee bean belt is where the world’s coffee is grown. The coffee belt lies between the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn, 23.5 degrees north and south of the equator (see the picture above). Indonesia is one of the countries in the sweet spot for coffee production.

Coffee trees like hot, damp climates and nutrient-dense soil. Also, they do better at higher elevations. Luckily, Indonesia has all the requirements to grow the finicky crop that doesn’t do well when the conditions aren’t right. Also, the higher the coffee farm is, the better the quality of the coffee produced.

Here is the thing: Indonesia is located widely across the coffee belt, creating ideal conditions for growing coffee in multiple regions and islands. Hence, people named the coffee after the area where it grows.

Here are the Indonesian coffees from prime coffee-growing regions and their characteristics: 

1. Sumatera Aceh Gayo
Considered one of the most premium coffee beans in the world, Aceh Gayo has a delicate aroma, pleasant notes of citrus, and a low bitter taste. The area's unique growing conditions contribute to various rich characteristics, a strong body, and complex flavors of the coffee

2. Sulawesi Toraja 
Toraja coffee is well-balanced with undertones of ripe fruit and dark chocolate. As a result, this coffee tends to be relatively low-toned yet vibrant. Grown at high altitudes, when brewed, Toraja coffee results in a creamy and rich that combines perfect balance with a unique earthy taste.

3. Jawa (usually known as Java)

Jawa coffee has an earthy flavor profile, herbaceous nuances lingering finish, and less acidity. In addition, it has that smoky twists that make it distinctive. Overall, it has a sweet impression with a very smooth and grounding flavor. Our Jawa coffee beans are sourced from the western part of Jawa, and it has been our customers' favorite. 

4. Bali.
Not only beaches and cultures, but Bali also offers delicious coffee with an extremely smooth body, lighter taste, and sweet flavor. The uniqueness of this coffee – citrusy aroma, full-bodied, and fruity taste. Our Bali Kintamani coffee is the best seller and received many compliments at the SF Coffee Festival 2022. 

5. Flores
Coffee from this region where the Komodo Dragons live has a distinctive chocolatey, floral, woody taste. It's also sweet and has balanced citrusy notes with incredible smoothness along with a rich body.

6. Timor-Leste.
Timor-Leste (also known as East Timor) is located in the south of Indonesia and west of Papua New Guinea. East Timor coffee offers a moderate to full body, an expansive flavor, and bright yet low-toned acidity.

In the past, Indonesian coffee had a bit of a bad rap. This was mainly because Indonesia used to produce a large amount of Robusta coffee. As Robusta is often considered to be a lesser bean when compared with Arabica, most coffee enthusiasts do not consider Indonesian coffee to be seen as high-end coffee.

Recently, Indonesian coffee farmers have received more government support and training to elevate specialty coffee production. As a result, the rise of Indonesian specialty coffee has uplifted local coffee drinkers' standards. 

One of our primary goals is to share the Indonesian specialty coffee movement in the United States, and we'll keep moving forward one step at a time. 

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