Indonesia and Timor Coffee
Learn About Indonesia’s Regions
Bali is a small island primarily known for its reputation as a tourist Mecca. Coffee is produced here in the Kintamani highlands, amidst three volcanoes: Gunung Agung, Gunung Batur, and Gunung Bratan. The other major crop here is oranges, for which Bali is locally famous.
Smallholders are the most common type of producers here, and they all participate in the subak, a cooperative agricultural water management system developed in the 9th century. This system follows the philosophy of Tri Hita Karana: Harmony with God, Harmony among people, and Harmony with the environment. It also happens to function as a completely organic Integrated Pest Management system by holding fields fallow periodically.
Traditionally, most coffee here was fully washed, but we primarily carry wet-hulled and natural process coffee from Bali. Flavors here can vary widely from clean citric acidity and thick sugars to wild tropical fruits and berries.
Flores, or East Nusa Tenggara, is famous for the Komodo Dragon, and for having a completely different set of endemic flora and fauna. This arid island gets enough precipitation for coffee production at high elevations, but is generally more arid. Other major products include palm oil, candlenut, and cacao. Smallholders are the rule here, from Ruteng to Bajawa. Wet-hulled and semi-washed coffee is collected from producers by exporters with trucks and cash in hand, though there are notable exceptions. Especially near Bajawa, farmers have started cooperatives that provide technical and financial assistance. Flores coffee can have deep sweetness, crisp citrus acidity, and even a touch of white pepper spiciness.
Java is the most populous island in Indonesia, and has produced coffee for the longest. Rich volcanic soil aids strong flowering and fruiting, and consistent heavy rainfall during monsoon season helps lend hydration for strong growth.
Most coffee we offer from Java is fully washed arabica from the plantations formerly run by the Dutch colonial government, and now run by the Indonesian state-owned plantation holding company, PTPN, and their network of smallholder farmers.
Java is also a hotbed for entrepreneurs trying new varieties and processing methods, though mostly for the local market. We look forward to seeing developments and unique processing from Java in the near future.
Look for clean coffees with mellow citrus acidity, medium body, and sugary sweetness. But remember: there’s always an exception to the rule!
Sulawesi is geologically distinct from much of the rest of Indonesia in that it is not primarily volcanic, and is the result of collisions of tectonic plates. The megaliths found here are a sign of this geology, and the soil here is only partially comprised of volcanic remains. The area is home to some coniferous forests, some areas with slightly acidic soil – perfect for growing coffee.
This orchid-shaped island is known for high quality washed coffees produced in the central highlands of the Toraja region. Some semi-washed coffees are available from the Enrekang/Kalosi region, and new production is ramping up in the southern Gowa regency. Parchment coffee is collected from smallholders at weekly markets, and readied for export at dry mills.
High quality coffee from Sulawesi has bright acidity, reminiscent of East African coffee at times. Look for subtle tropical notes like mango and passionfruit as well.
Sumatra is a very large island; the length is comparable to the entire west coast of the United States, from Seattle to Tijuana. With rich volcanic soil throughout, this island is perfect for coffee cultivation. It also straddles the equator, providing an almost continuous harvest season for coffee.
The home of wet-hulled coffee, Sumatra produces coffee with unique flavor profiles and regional distinction. Aceh and North Sumatra are in the Northern Hemisphere, and produce distinct regional coffees. West Sumatra, Jambi, Riau, and Bengkulu are in the Southern Hemisphere and also produce arabica, but are perhaps less well known.
A majority of arabica producers here are smallholder farmers, and many belong to cooperatives that provide financial and technical assistance to their members.
Look for coffees heavy with herbal notes, raw sugar sweetness, an abundance of body, and occasional complex tartaric acidity.