Indonesian Coffee: Sulawesi, Java, Flores, Bali, and East Timor
The word single-malt whiskies are not rare anymore in the beverage world and that’s how the coffee is from East Timor, Indonesia. It’s nothing like the coffee from Latin America and East Africa which are high grown, wet processed, and have intense fruity notes like berries or floral notes like jasmine. Instead of all that, Indonesian coffee is more nutty, wood aromatic, earthy, a bit chocolatey, has a hint of cocoa or dark chocolate.
The most famous, common, and known coffee in Indonesia is from Sumatra. With its mild fermented richness, earthy profile, oh it has driven people crazy. It’s not the only island in Indonesia which produce coffee though. Exotic destinations for the foreign tourists like Bali, Flores, and Toraja are also growing their own traditional coffee. Besides all of the exotic islands, the oldest island to ever grow coffee in Indonesia is Java island.
Wonderful Impact From a Small Turnout
The coffees may have very long histories, but none of them appealed more than North American Robusta coffee to some people. One roasting place or one company might have different origins and you can try all of those to satisfy your curiosity! Or just simply take samples from them!
The Varieties of Coffee Processing
We can say that the most dominant role in a coffee industry is the processing method or techniques people use after they coffee cherries are picked or how they remove fruit residues and simply dry the beans. The distinctions are often created by the botanical variety, by altitude and climate soil. Yes, the method is important, but the land where the coffee is grown is also important and understanding the total difference among all of the cups are as important.
There are four methods which are commonly used in Indonesia, but the most common method used in Indonesia would be Giling Basah. It’s a traditional method in Indonesia that has been used for a very, very long time. Some people call it the semi-washed method. The result caused by this method will impact the acidity of the coffee very much.
However, in most Europian countries, people use the natural or dry processing method a lot more than other processing. This method will allow the coffee to simply dry in the fruit, the coffee fruit or cherry will not be removed from the coffee bean first. Unlike the pulped natural, which the skin of the coffee fruit is gonna be removed, but the beans would be dried with the pulp still attached to them. Coffee from Flores would usually be so good with this kind of method.
A Plain Variation With a Huge Impact
With the method wet hulling or wet processing, the outer skin and fruit pulp will be removed and the beans will be dried to 12% moisture with their skin still attached to them and the beans would be stored in a parchment, they would say. It’ll be removed just before the beans are going to be shipped.
On the other hand, with Giling Basah method, the skin is still gonna be removed while the coffee is going to be dry when the moisture has reached up to 18%. Later on, the beans would be dried up to 12% or to 13%, so it will be dried in two stages, before and after the parchment skin is removed.
This is a very common procedure in Sumatra, Sulawesi, and East Timor displayed by their characteristic profiles. Every coffee beans from Indonesia has a similarity. The similarity of them, is they’re earthy of they have a hint of earthy no matter where they’re grown. You can sense it sharply when you have it in your cup.
Most speciality coffee could be found in Sulawesi. In old times, the Dutch colonial used to call it the Celebes. Toraja is one of the main growing cities in Sulawesi, or Kalossi is how the Dutch used to call it. Because of the mountains near the south of Sulawesi island, a traditional way to process the coffee would be wet processed and it’s the most distinctive in Sulawesi. The land is Sulawesi feels like it was made for humans to grow coffee. In fact, there are a lot of smallholders who in Sulawesi and they could process their very own coffee in various methods.
Sulawesi coffee is like the combination of earthy tones and fermented dried fruits or sometimes it could be mushroom-like, some people call it “foresty” or “pondy”. With its full and rich body, it could bring out a chocolate flavour and raisins.
Coffee from Java
Coffee is also called Java and it’s called Java because it’s the oldest coffee exporters in the whole world. Coffee from Java first hit Europe in a huge amount around the 17th century, breaking the monopoly of coffee which was held by Yemen’s mocha coffees at the time. Java coffee became very famous in the United States and Europe with the name Java, instead of coffee. It became a slang. However, the coffee industry is going through a lot of changes since the 19th century. Unique methods and different coffee processing have grown and become more modern at times.
Bali and Flores
Bali is known for its beauty, some people call it paradise. It’s all over the internet, blogs, YouTube, even travel magazines. Most coffee from Bali which has been exported to another island or country would be going through the usual wet processing method. There was a test that has been conducted. Four samples of Bali coffee were split up, two of them were dry-processed which means the whole coffee fruits or cherries would still be attached. The result is outstanding.
Flores can be considered as a pretty large island in the whole world, but to Indonesia, it’s a small sized island compared to other islands like Java, Sumatra, Sulawesi, and Kalimantan. Flores coffee could be processed with different kinds of the method in Indonesia. The characteristic of Flores coffee would be foresty dark chocolate.
East Timor is separated from Indonesia long ago, but according to geography, they’re really close, hence the result of the coffee grown in East Timor would be similar. Wet hulling method for Flores coffee could be a great fit rather than any other processing method.
If you’ve finished reading this article from island through the island, you might have the guts to try different kinds of coffee now and explore more. Also, understand the details behind every process for they have a big potential to affect the result of the coffee.