Indonesia is known as the world's largest Robusta exporter. Yet, it is also home to the largest variety of Arabica specialty coffees. There are at least 20 internationally recognized Arabica specialty coffees from different localities across the country.
The world's largest archi-pelago is bestowed with diverse geographical con- ditions and micro-climates which are ideal for coffee cultivation. Additionally, each region has its own local wisdom in nurturing coffee. This is why each of the Indonesian Arabica specialty coffees has inimitable unique- ness. They are all distinct. Not one of them shares same characteristics. Let us now take a brief look on some of the most famous Indonesian Arabica specialty coffees.Aceh GayoGayo coffee originates from the Gayo Highlands in Aceh, the northernmost tip of Sumatra Island. It grows in the fertile volcanic soil around Laut Tawar Lake (“Fresh Water Sea”), near the city of Takengon. Gayo coffee has a full body, mild acidity, strong floral and herbal notes, fruity and savory.Sumatera MandhelingMandheling coffee derives its name from the Mandailing Tribe who live around Lake Toba in North SumatraProvince. It has been in coffee lovers’ shopping list for centuries as a prime choice for Espresso blending. Mandhe- ling coffee is characterized by its strong body, complex spicy flavor, light acidity and pleasant aftertaste.
Since the 17th century, Java coffee has gained such reputation that the term “Java” has become a slang word for “coffee” in many countries. It is prized as one component in the traditional "Mocha Java" blend, which pairs coffees from Yemen and Java. Once grown in West Java, nowadays it is mainly grown in the Ijen Plateau in East Java. It is a gentle coffee with lovely fragrance, medium body, high acidity, balanced flavor with traces of cocoa and nuts that offers herbal spicy aftertaste.
Tana Toraja, a must visit tourist desti-nation in South Sulawesi, is not only renowned for the funerary rituals conducted by the locals, but also for its premium coffee. The rocky high- lands of the heavenly kings contain fertile and ferrous soil that produce strong fragrances, medium body, high acidity coffee that has a balance hint of fresh fruits, nuts and spices.
At the slopes of Mount Batur in the Isle of Gods, there lie fields of Kinta-mani coffee. It is characterized by its medium body, medium-to-high acidity, floral fragrance and a somewhat lemony flavor. It is the first of Indonesian local coffee to obtain “geographic indication” certification
In the Flores Island, next to the home of the Dragons of Komodo, the Bajawa people have been cultivating coffee at the feet of Mount Inerie for decades. The active volcano provides mild climate and prolific soil that creates a rich coffee with thick body, mild acidity, woody fragrance and cocoa flavor.
Baliem Valley is home to Dani, Yali and Lani people who live in harmony with nature. The valley is part of the Jayawijaya Mountains whose tops are covered by eternal tropical snow. From the bottom of the valley, a new kind of premium coffee has recently reemerged. The coffee trees were actually planted by the Dutch a few centuries ago. The plantation was abandoned and became part of the rainforest. It was rediscovered and revitalized in 2007. The coffee is named after Wamena, the largest city in Baliem Valley. It has thick body, low acidity and chocolate flavor with hints of tobacco.
The list of Indonesian Arabica specialty coffees continues with Lintong from North Sumatera, Mangkuraja from Jambi, Preanger from West Java, Kalosi from Celebes, and so forth. In addition to these Arabica specialty coffees, there is also a growing num- ber of fine Robusta in Indonesia such as Lampung from Lampung Province, Dampit from Malang (East Java), Pupuan from Tabanan (Bali)
There is also the so-called “Luwak Coffee”, whose coffee beans are fer- mented in Luwak’s digestion. Luwak is a common civet found in many parts of Indonesia. They only pick ripe berries for their diet. They eat and digest the sweet fruit layer, but leave the seeds to be excreted in the form of parchment. Luwak Coffee is con- sidered as an extraordinary coffee and is the most expensive coffee in the world.
Are you tempted to get a taste of these rich flavored premium coffees? Well, don’t just sit and imagine. Do enjoy a relaxing cup of any Indonesian specialty coffee whenever you have the chance.