Indonesia: between beauty and coffee

We started our coffee adventure in the beautiful Indonesia. This country is absolutely amazing, with its over 17.000 islands, its wild jungles, its heartbreaking sceneries, rice fields, mountains, volcanos, temples, lovely people and last, but not least, its coffee. 

Being located near the Equator and having numerous mountainous regions, these two factors create a perfect climate for coffee growth and production. No wonder Indonesia is the fourth largest coffee producer in the world.

Even so, in the past four years Indonesia reported yearly decrease in production volume and shrinkage of plantation areas, main reason being seasonal changes, combined with frequent volcanic eruptions (in 2013 there were 1.24 milion ha of plantations, while 2016 decreased to 1.22 milion ha). These facts prompted the government to rejuvenate 8850 ha of unproductive coffee plantations and open 200 ha of new ones in Central Kalimantan. Because this rejuvenation will not show instant results, as coffee plantations normally takes three years to harvest, the government will apply different programs to improve the situation: they are in the process of registering more coffee products under the geographical indication (GI) scheme and as specialty coffee with Intellectual Property Rights to the Law and Human Rights Ministry. They also support more farmers to plant Arabica coffee plants, as they only account for 30% of total plantations, the rest being Robusta. Arabica, GI and specialty coffee are priced higher than Robusta. Arabica is planted at high altitudes between 600 and 2000 metres above sea level, while Robusta is planted on low lands, between 200 and 800 metres above sea level. This makes Robusta being bitter, having low acidity and generally lower quality than Arabica.
Within the specialty coffee scene, Indonesia is very well known for its quality beans. Specialty Coffee Association of Indonesia listed the below profiles by production region, altough there is a big diversity within these regions:

– Sumatra: intense flavour, cocoa and earthy notes;

– Java: heavy body, lasting finish and herbaceous notes;

– Bali: sweet, with nut and citrus notes;

– Sulawesi: good and sweet body with spicy notes;

– Flores: heavy body, sweet, chocolate and tobacco notes;

– Papua: heavy body, chocolate, earthy and spicy finish.

We were lucky enough to taste all these coffees in our trip across Indonesia and in the following posts we will tell you about our experiences from few amazing specialty coffee shops that we visited. Stay tuned and take part in our story.

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