Do you ever wonder how people ask for something in unfamiliar words and end up getting coffee? Coffee has a lot of synonyms so when you hear people in front of your line asking for a cup of Joe, a fresh brew, some mud, some dirt, or even Java, a name of a place. Don’t be confused!
Originally, the word coffee comes from the Ethiopian province of Kaffa where coffee was grown and named the plants after the place, Kaffa. In Arabic, it means a drink from berries. So why does coffee is also called Java?
Java is an island
Java is not just a term or a slang for coffee, Java is actually the name of an island in Indonesia. It’s one of the biggest five islands in Indonesia, known as one of the oldest places to grow coffee for centuries since the 1600s. Coffee plantation suits the island because of its climate, fertility of the land and because it’s close to a lot of mountains. Lands in Indonesia have the ability to grow coffee, but they didn’t have any coffee before the Dutch came and told them to plant the coffee. Once the coffee cherries are riped, the Dutch will send them to Amsterdam for samples and start selling them.
During that time, there were not a lot of coffee to consume and Java was the biggest coffee producers. That’s why people call coffee as Java.
How did it work?
How did the Dutch bring coffee to Indonesia and why Indonesia produced coffee for the Dutch? It’s because the Dutch ruled Indonesia for over 350 years and implemented a forced labour system with minimum wage. But, by the 19th century, Java was the top producer of Arabica coffee all over the world until coffee rust hit the island in the late 1880s which brought the market to disaster.
To keep the production going, the Dutch replaced Arabica coffee to Robusta coffee which is stronger, easier to plant, and more resistant to coffee rusts or pests, but the quality was lower than the Arabica coffee at the time.
Java Island this present day
The island of Java gained independence in 1949 and is the most developed island in Indonesia. Traditionally, Java is dominated by an elite class, whereas the lower classes work in agriculture. Although Java is modernizing, only 75% of the island has electricity.
Java has become the most developed island in Indonesia and has a lot of developed industries rather than having agriculture workplace. There are also a lot more railways in Java built by the Dutch to transport coffee from places to places during the occupation. On this day, Java still produces coffee to contribute Indonesia’s coffee export all over the world, making Indonesia the fourth largest coffee producer in the world following Brazil, Vietnam, and Colombia.
Arabica coffee from Java
This coffee is wet processed (washed). This means that selectively picked green coffee cherries are washed right after harvest while still moist to remove the coffee’s fruity material. This process produces a very clean taste; however, it causes the coffee to lose a lot of its body.
Of course, Java grows Arabica coffee as well. They’re planted about 1,400 meters above the sea with washed processing method, making the coffee has a thick body, strong nutty aroma and low to medium acidity.
What is monsoon?
Monsooning or monsoon is a process where the unroasted green coffee beans are exposed to the warm air of the rainy season and the process itself can last up to three years. Monsooned coffee beans are expected to create an excellent cup of coffee because of the long process. Although the acidity in monsooned coffee is not really high, the sweetness and earthy characteristic can show up more.
Java as a computing language
The word Java is not only associated with coffee, but also with a computing language but what does coffee has to do with computing language? The inventor of Java computing language is James Gosling, his product was named Oak because there was an oak tree near his office that could obviously be seen. After the trademark issue came up, he had to change the name in 1995 and a suggestion came up from one employee with the word Java.
The company thought it would not work at first, but the word Java did make it to the list along with DNA and Silk. After all, they chose the word Java because it sounds dynamic, easy to remember, and unique just like coffee that appeals to everyone.
Do you use any other terms for coffee?