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Irham Yunus, along with his family, owns several farms in the Takengon and Atu regions and runs the Jagong mill on the island of Sumatra, Indonesia. Irham and his wife have four children: two daughters are doctors and their son is a general contractor. Their other daughter, Ina Ramadhani, has followed her father into the family coffee business where her cupping skills have helped her take charge of the quality control and export duties for the family’s business. Ina interviewed her father for this edition of the Royal Blog.

If you’re at SCA Expo this year, you can visit Ina and Irham at our booth (#1913) during our Producer Showcase on Saturday, April 21st from 10:30 – 12:30. Come and visit, and try the excellent coffees they are showing this year!

 

Please introduce yourself and provide a brief description of how you start working in coffee?

I am Mr. Irham Yunus, the owner of the Jagong Mill, which was established in 1979. We started to export for ourselves in 2006.

 

What is your favorite part about harvesting coffee?

I enjoy harvesting lots of good quality coffee.

 

How has the business changed over the years?

The business is more difficult because there are a lot more competitors and multinationals buying directly from farmers.

 

How many permanent employees do you have?

We employ 120 year-round employees at our mill in Jagong and 210 seasonal workers, and also work with 639 farmers with a total of 711 hectares of coffee.

 

 

Describe the successes and challenges you have experienced from working in the specialty Coffee market? 

We are proud of the brand we have built and the profits we have generated but we are most proud of the work we have done with producers to help them process good quality coffee. We have to be careful not to make processing mistakes because we cannot sell coffee that tastes bad. There is also always a worry that we will have coffee available that we cannot sell. Bad weather has also caused troubles for processing coffee.

 

What is the most expensive part of coffee production? 

Hand picking coffee and the drying process.

 

What would you like roasters and consumers to know about your coffee?

That our coffee is washed with a clean water source and that we only process ripe cherry.

 

What is your opinion about the prices of coffee in the international market?

The international prices are lower than the local price in Takengon, which makes it difficult to decide to sell based on the international market price. Sumatran coffee has its own price that is better than the New York market price.

 

How do international market prices affect your ability to produce coffee? 

Good coffee revenues enhance our ability of adapting and improving farming operation towards more favorable social, environmental, and sustainable conditions such as paying higher wages, installing irrigation systems, building water reservoirs, terrace maintenance etc.

 

What do green coffee buyers want to know when they visit you?

They want to know how the coffee tastes, how it was processed, what varieties we have, and if we have single origin lots.

 

How is climate change influencing the coffee production?

Since 2010 the harvest season has been difficult to forecast. Twenty years ago the rainy season came regularly but now when a rainy season is expected we actual get a dry season.

 

Please share with us the current state of your harvest and any event that may impact your coffee production or quality of your coffee.

The main harvest comes later now. In the past it started in September and now it starts in October.

 

Anything else you would like to share?

We hope to have more success in the future with Royal Coffee.