Indonesia is one of the biggest coffee producers in the world, even before Africa and America. There are many different kinds of coffee from Indonesia, even from different islands, and different regions.
The Dutch Colonial Government had launched plantations all around the city by 1699, and by 1711, the first major commercial exports were underway. Java quickly became one of the biggest coffee producers in the world—and Europe’s preferred source for beans.
Coffee plants were brought by the Dutch traders and colonialists back in the late 1600s. The coffee was first planted in Java, all around the city of Batavia (which what we call Jakarta now), the plantation all around the city started in 1699 and in 1711 the coffee was finally ready to be exported. Within a few months, Java became one of the biggest coffee exporters in the whole world, known for its delightful earthy taste.
Not long after Java, Sumatra, Sulawesi, Bali and Timor were exporting coffee beans all over the world too. Because of the high demand, the Dutch made the locals worked really hard until they starved and often dead.
Infrastructure was build, roads railways, and shipping lines connect Indonesia to many islands and countries around. Because of the infrastructure, Java coffee was finally blended. Eventually, Java coffee was blended with Yemen coffee that results taste like chocolate. That’s why it’s often called Mocha Java. The taste is significantly different and more expensive than Java or Yemen coffee itself.
However, around 1860 until 1880, coffee rust happened and destroyed almost all of the plantations in Asia. The planted coffee was Arabica coffee and they can’t stand coffee rust. To keep the profit going, the Dutch brought Robusta coffee which is stronger and more resistant, easier to plant, and usually taste darker. In 1942, the Dutch were no longer in Indonesia because they were affected by Germany. Japan came and ruled until 1945 when they surrendered to the United States.
After the Dutch and Japanese left, coffee plantations in Indonesia was supported by the government and done by some group of small coffee farmers all over Indonesia. After a few more years, Arabica coffee was planted again in Java and Sumatera.
After the coffee has been grown, the farmers pick the coffee cherries and do the Giling Basah method which is not so different than the washed or natural process. Some people call this method as semi-washed. The semi-dried coffee beans will contain 30-50% moisture which will have the ability to highlight the earthy and spicy characteristics of the coffee.
Characteristics of Indonesian coffee is usually very varied, from low to high acidity, level of brightness, and aroma. However, most Indonesian coffee is usually earthy, strong, spicy with a hint of sweetness.