Coffee Ulee Kareng: The Iconic Coffee from Aceh
Coffee can be divided into two different types and those are Arabica and Robusta coffee. Both types of coffee are grown and cultivated in Aceh, Indonesia by the local people. We’ll found the Arabica coffee mostly in the highlands area, like Takengon, East Aceh. However, people somehow prefer developing Robusta coffee rather than Arabica coffee in Pidie district, especially in Tangse and Geumpang area.
Because of its natural condition in Aceh, including the nice and supportive weather for the coffee plantation there, it really helps the coffee to evolve into high-quality coffee beans, not only that but also profitable. Indonesia is the third largest coffee exporters in the world and Aceh Gayo coffee is not something new anymore. Aceh Gayo is commonly known and is one of the biggest producers of coffee harvest in Indonesia. It could reach up to 40% Arabica coffee out of 100% of the total coffee harvest.
Gayo is one coffee country. It’s a coffee plant and in mid-year, it will bloom and the plantation area will be filled with white flowers with the fragrance of coffee.
There are a lot of varieties in Indonesia and at the colonial times, the Dutch told that Arabica coffee is made for noble, blue blood people while Robusta coffee is for other kinds of people and by saying other kinds of people, I think you know what I mean. Because of that, back then people in Europe don’t really know about Robusta coffee because the Dutch only exported Arabica coffee.
Coffee is growing and developing really quick after it’s introduced to a community and how they recognised the pleasure of Arabica coffee. The demands are rising quickly and they had to reduce the exports for domestic needs from time to time.
Arabica coffee would taste lighter and softer than Robusta coffee. People who usually have stomach problems or sensitive stomachs would prefer Arabica coffee because it’s not as strong as Robusta. One of the reasons why Arabica is commonly used in a lot of coffee shops is because it’s more friendly to the stomachs and doesn’ taste as bitter. The acidity can be handled very well.
Other than the Arabica and Robusta differences, coffee types play a huge role in this too. Different coffee from different regions has different levels of acidity, bitterness, and sweetness. Different regions have their own characteristics and uniqueness. Some coffee might be good for the local people’s tongue in Asia, but it might not be good for people in Europe because they have different cultural tastes and whether you notice it or not, it plays a role.
Back to Gayo coffee. Some coffee might leave you a bitter aftertaste and ruined your whole day, but it won’t be like that with Gayo. It has a great aroma and the bitterness is still at our tolerance level. This coffee from Aceh pleases people all over the world. Even some people argued that this is much better than Blue Mountain coffee from Jamaica.
Coffee Ulee Kareng
There’s a very traditional and unique coffee in Aceh and it’s called Ulee Kareng. It will complete your visit to Aceh if only you try Ulee Kareng. It has a very dense colour and the coffee beans are produced from Lamno, Aceh. They produce the coffee in a small to average batch according to the market demands. The coffee would be processed in a strangely unique way by the local people. They will filter the coffee powder into a cup.
Ulee Kareng is more than just a cup of coffee, it’s becoming the icon of Aceh in Indonesia. It’s pretty famous because there were many foreign workers to help construct and build back Aceh after the horrible Tsunami.
To get quality and unique taste terrible, the coffee beans Aceh through a long process. First of all, usually, roasted coffee beans for 4 hours. After reaching maturity 80%, the coffee beans are mixed with sugar and butter with a certain dose. Then the coffee beans that have been cooked finely ground. This process evokes strong coffee aroma, the taste is clean and not acidic.
This only makes coffee from Aceh more interesting than other coffee. The coffee will be brewed with water until it’s boiling and will be filtered repeatedly, for a few times and poured from a kettle to another kettle. The coffee grounds won’t be noticeable anymore because it’s been filtered until it’s clean.
You can try this if you visit Aceh! Not just the coffee, but enjoy the cultural traditions while you’re there.