Indonesian Coffee: Why it’s the Best & Where Can You Find It?

Indonesia is one of the world’s top coffee-producing countries, with multiple coffee-producing islands. Several Indonesian coffee brands symbolize a variety of distinct areas. When it comes to Indonesian coffee, it might not be easy to know where to begin!

History of Indonesian coffee

Initially, the Dutch Colonial Government cultivated coffee as far south as Sukabumi and Bogor and in the vicinity of Batavia (Jakarta). Later, coffee plantations were planted in East, West, Central Java, Sumatra, and Sulawesi. Large amounts of wooded land were removed and farmed to build the plantations. Throughout the nineteenth century, the expansion of coffee plantations was responsible for developing many infrastructures in Central Java. Many trains and roads had to be built to convey the beans from the island’s interior to various ports for export.

Agriculture in Indonesia

Ranking third in the world, Indonesia is a prodigious exporter of agricultural products such as coffee. After an oil slump created a severe disruption in the economy (at the time, it relied on oil exports), a government drive in the 1980s led to a concentration on developing items for export. In addition to coffee, Indonesia exports various other items known to Americans and Canadians, including cardamom, tea and tobacco, cinnamon, cloves, cane sugar, nutmeg, and palm oil.

Coffee tree densities range from 1,100 to 2,000 trees per hectare (107,639 square feet). Coffee trees are frequently shaded. They produce “shade-grown” coffee, which develops more slowly due to a lack of sunshine, allowing the roots to provide more nutrients to the green coffee beans within the coffee cherries before they are completely ready for harvesting.

Processing

Indonesian coffees are processed in a method known as giling basah, also known as the Semi-Washed/Wet-Hulled Process, in other world areas. After the coffee is selected, it is de-pulped and quickly dried. Rather than drying the coffee to 11 or 12% moisture content, as most other techniques do, the semi-washed procedure dries the coffee to 30-30% moisture level. The coffee is then hulled, which strips the parchment and exposes the green coffee beans beneath. These raw beans are then dried again till they are dry enough to be kept without spoiling. Semi-washed coffee has less acidity and more body than ordinary coffee.

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Flavor

Indonesian coffees have a dark and powerful taste profile with a strong earthiness. Tasting notes from the semi-wash procedure include earthy, spice, mustiness, tobacco, wood, and leather. They frequently have a long-lasting aftertaste that reminds you of unsweetened or dark chocolate. Because of its reputation for responding well to darker roasting, the Sumatran area is now the most favored Indonesian area. Sumatra is home to two of the world’s well-known and high-quality coffees: Mandheling and Ankola. Smoky or roasted tastes with a lot of complexity are common. These coffees frequently cause division since many coffee connoisseurs feel the tastes overpower the cup.

Growing conditions and challenges

Indonesia has a high humidity level. This humidity impacts the coffee manufacturing process since it contributes to the quantity of moisture in the coffee beans.

The Giling Basah procedure effectively speeds up the coffee production process, allowing farmers to get paid for their beans sooner rather than later. It provides the most efficient way for drying coffee beans in such a humid atmosphere.

Due to the persistent high humidity, the growers would have to employ a natural method to dry the cherries out, which would take longer than intended. For Indonesian coffee producers, wet hulling is the most feasible alternative.

S795

S795 is one of Indonesia’s most popular coffee types. According to most people, it contains distinct flavor characteristics of brown sugar and maple syrup when brewed. The variety was incorporated into the Indonesian coffee industry by India in the 1970s. It is prevalent in both Toraja and Bali (where locals also call it Jember).

While it has different taste nuances, it is sometimes viewed as providing a lower-quality cup than the Catuai type. S795 is a cross between Kent (an Indian spontaneous mutation of Typica) and the liberica species, which thrives at considerably lower elevations than the arabica plant.

It is also why S795 is an excellent choice in Indonesia’s diverse microclimates. Liberica also contributes to the lower acidity of this coffee. It is more laid-back. However, farmers should be mindful that S795 does not have a very high yield despite its dependability.

Tim Tim 

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Timor Timur is an area in Indonesia’s southern region that used to be a part of the country (now East Timor and Timor-Leste).

Tim Tim, also called Hibrido de Timor, is a naturally occurring hybrid between robusta and arabica. It was discovered in the early twentieth century. It rose to prominence in the 1950s due to its strong resistance to coffee leaf rot and other diseases.

Usda 762

USDA 762, which is now grown in Java and Sumatra, was incorporated into the Indonesian coffee industry in the 1950s as a chosen Ethiopian variety. It was discovered in the Mizan Tafari area, close to where Geisha was discovered. As a result, USDA 762 has been confused for Geisha in several coffee-growing locations in Indonesia.

USDA 762 and Geisha were both born in the same area of Ethiopia. Both, however, evolved differently throughout time.

USDA 762 was notably common in the twentieth century in Ijen, East Java, a prominent volcanic growing zone in Indonesia. Because of its limited resistance to coffee leaf rust, it was first introduced in Indonesia.

However, the introduction of hardier robusta hybrids has rendered its usage as a resistant variation to coffee leaf rust practically obsolete. USDA 762 is now mostly produced at higher elevations in Indonesia, where resistance to coffee leaf rot is not as important.

Kartika

Kartika is an Indonesian word that refers to Kopi Arabika Tipe Katai (which is interpreted as Catuai arabica coffee). Kartika, a regional form of the Catuai varietal, is also subject to coffee pests, rust, and other diseases.

Kartika was planted for the first time in Indonesia in 1987 as part of a large variety test undertaken by the Portuguese Centro de Investigacao das Ferrugens de Cafeirro. Due to its high-quality taste profile, it was quite popular initially.

Andungsari 

Andungsari (also referred to as Andong Sari and Andung Sari) is a dwarf coffee plant similar to Kartika. The Indonesian Coffee and Cocoa Research Institute first developed it via a selection of Catimor plants. Andungsari thrives at elevations over 1,250 m.a.s.l.

It offers a high yield (2.5 tonnes per acre) and a great cup profile. This cultivar is now commonly farmed in Kayo Aro, Sumatra’s province of Jambi.

Indonesian coffee’s future prospects

According to the Indonesian Coffee Exporters Association (AEKI) statistics, Indonesian farmers want to grow Indonesia’s coffee plantations while revitalizing old estates through intensification initiatives in collaboration with the appropriate ministries. By increasing land, Indonesia’s coffee output is expected to reach around 900,000 to 1.2 million tons per year during the next ten years. Investment in the country’s coffee business is required as both domestic and global demand rises. In addition to boosting the number of beans, technological advancements are projected to improve their quality.

Growing regions

Here are a handful of the most well-known coffee-producing Indonesian islands, along with brief descriptions.

Bali 

Bali

The westernmost of the Lesser Sunda Islands, wedged between the Indian Ocean and the Java and Flores seas, is located east of Java. Bali also produces some of the world’s most sought-after coffee: kopi luwak, or civet coffee, due to its breathtaking scenery and diverse wildlife. Balinese coffee is rich, with a hefty, velvety body, low acidity, and powerful woody tones that surge underneath delicately spiced citrus tones. It is grown close to the Mount Batur volcano in north-eastern Kintamani.

The island of Flores

The island of Flores

It is a little jewel of an island, named for its gorgeous underwater gardens, with beautiful mountain ranges reaching 7,500plus feet above sea level, rich volcanic ash soil, and an ideal environment for cultivating great coffee. Flores, one of Indonesia’s Lesser Sunda Islands, is just 360 miles long, and coffee is one of the island’s main agricultural products. The coffee plant introduced to Flores by Portuguese traders has been cross-bred with seeds from the Indonesian island of Java to produce a bean with distinctly floral, sweet chocolate, and earth flavors. Flores coffee is farmed organically and sustainably on tiny farms 5,500 feet above sea level.

Java

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Small farms currently dominate the home of Indonesian coffee, with massive colonial-era plantations generating only a quarter of the island’s arabica exports. Javanese coffee trees absorb the minerals and beautiful aromas of their soil as they grow naturally in eastern Java, along the rising volcanic Ijen Plateau, to make a beautifully rich, full-bodied coffee featuring spicy chili overtones and dark chocolate undertones. Javas have a molasses-like texture and are also mildly acidic when compared to other Indonesians.

Papua

New Guinea

It is Papua New Guinea’s Indonesian (western) half. Papua, formerly known as Irian Java, has two main growing regions: the Baliem Valley in the middle highlands and the Kamu Valley in the Nabire Region. Papua coffee is velvety with a rich chocolate base, syrupy mouthfeel, and sweet spiced-maple top notes farmed organically beneath a natural shade cover 4,500plus feet above sea level.

Island of Sulawesi

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Celebes is another name for it. It is the eleventh-largest island in the world and one of four of the Greater Sunda Islands. Sulawesi has a distinctive form, with four peninsulas extending to the south, southeast, east, and north, all united by Central Sulawesi. While each of these peninsulas has impressive mountain ranges, most Sulawesi’s arabica coffee is grown in the Tana Toraja highlands (located west/southwest of Central Sulawesi). Over 95 percent of Sulawesi’s arabica coffee is cultivated organically on tiny, family-owned farms in Toraja. Sulawesi coffee is smooth and earthy, with deep, subtle spice, sweet nut tones, and a sparkling finish.

Sumatra

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The biggest of the Sunda Islands, and the world’s sixth-biggest island, is also Indonesia’s leading producer of arabica coffee. Sumatran coffees are highly sought after and appreciated worldwide for their rich, low acidity, creamy texture, and deep, almost bitter chocolate, sweet fruit, chili, tobacco, cedar, and earth flavors. Sumatra is great for producing coffee because it is so diversified, with pristine old-growth forests, high volcanoes, stable microclimates, rich soil, and the variety required to make a naturally eco-friendly, nuanced cup. On Sumatra, there are two main coffee-growing regions: the northern Gayo area, which is focused on Aceh, and the mid-north region of Lintong, which lies southwest of Lake Toba.

Which Indonesian coffee is the best?

Choosing which bag of wonderful beans to purchase for your daily coffee habit might be difficult. There are a plethora of possibilities available, each with its own unique set of excellent traits.

It is possible to narrow down your selections, but you have already won half the battle if you have decided to sample some Indonesian coffee beans. Here are a few tips for you to consider.

Browny Indonesian Sumatra mandheling organic coffee

Browny Indonesian Sumatra Organic Roasted Coffee Whole Beans - Premium Artisan Dark Roast in 16oz (1 Pound)
223 Reviews
Browny Indonesian Sumatra Organic Roasted Coffee Whole Beans - Premium Artisan Dark Roast in 16oz (1 Pound)
  • Dark Roasted Coffee Beans
  • Organic Sumatra Mandheling Arabica Gr. 1
  • Harvested in Raja Sumatra, INDONESIA
  • Strong Rich Flavor but Not Bitter, Absolutely Delicious
  • Roasted in Queens, NY

With its rich flavor and robust body, this fair trade, dark roast, organic Sumatra Mandheling coffee stays loyal to its roots. Browny Coffee roasts these beans in Queens, New York.

This coffee is cultivated rich in volcanic soil and has a warm tropical environment, which aids in developing the beans’ characteristics. This wonderful coffee may be described as earthy, herbaceous, and lively.

Volcanica 100% pure Sulawesi coffee, Celebes Kalossi

Sulawesi Coffee, Celebes Kalossi, Whole Bean, Fresh Roasted, 16-ounce
3,239 Reviews
Sulawesi Coffee, Celebes Kalossi, Whole Bean, Fresh Roasted, 16-ounce
  • 100% Pure Sulawesi Coffee, also known as Celebes Kalossi Coffee, with a heavy body and creamy texture.
  • The taste is a lighter version of the Sumatra Mandheling Coffee and is less pungent and less heavy for an amazing unique.
  • Medium roasted whole beans allowing the true flavor characteristic to come through for a remarkable taste.
  • Fresh roasted the immediately packed and sealed to assure freshness.
  • 100% Customer Satisfaction Guaranteed.

Like Browny Sumatra coffee, this coffee is cultivated in volcanic locations that supply abundant nutrients to the soil and, thus, to the beans. Volcanica Coffee Company is unusual because its coffees are sourced from volcanic places, hence the smart name.

This coffee is made entirely of Arabica trees that are over 250 years old. In terms of substance and scent, these beans are slightly lighter than Sumatra beans. The medium roast also contributes to the lighter flavor and feel of this coffee.

Java dutch estate Smokin beans coffee

Asia/Indonesia, Java Dutch Estate (2-Pound Bag) Premium Arabica Coffee Freshly Custom Roasted Today (Espresso Roast/Whole Bean) Customized Roast Or Grind Is Available By Messaging Us At Time Checkout
6 Reviews
Asia/Indonesia, Java Dutch Estate (2-Pound Bag) Premium Arabica Coffee Freshly Custom Roasted Today (Espresso Roast/Whole Bean) Customized Roast Or Grind Is Available By Messaging Us At Time Checkout
  • Java Dutch Estate: Chocolaty body with pleasant fruity nuances, spice, cinnamon, clove, clean finish
  • Fresh Off The Roaster: We only roast your order once the order is placed providing top premium taste
  • Fast Shipping: Orders are quickly roasted & shipped (most same day: M-F with 2-5 day delivery time)
  • Specialty Coffee: Our premium beans are carefully sourced for their exceptionally fine taste quality
  • For Ultimate Coffee Connoisseur: Passionate roasting expertise = Perfectly developed energetic beans

Cloves and cinnamon dominate the flavor of these 100% Arabica coffee Java beans. They have a full body and minimal acidity, which is a hallmark of Indonesian coffee beans. This would be a wonderful coffee for at-home brewing experiments since you can alter the roast as well.

Mocha java from the bean coffee company

The Bean Coffee Company Organic Mocha Java, Medium Roast, Whole Bean, 16-Ounce Bag
63 Reviews
The Bean Coffee Company Organic Mocha Java, Medium Roast, Whole Bean, 16-Ounce Bag
  • Mocha Java medium roast is full-bodied, with rich, delicious complexity
  • Medium Roast coffees has a fuller body appearance, with a blended balance of acidity and body that begins to give away to the aromas
  • Certified Organic by CCOF and USDA; 100% Arabica beans roasted in the USA; bag of one 16-ounce bag
  • Coffee beans are hand roasted in small batches to ensure the freshest coffee possible
  • Store coffee in an airtight container away from light, heat, and moisture; 2 tablespoons of fresh ground coffee per 6-ounce filtered water

The Bean Coffee Company’s Mocha Java mix is a fantastic representation of the Mocha Java mix we previously described. This Indonesian coffee is robust and full-bodied, yet its strength is beautifully balanced by acidity, making it taste fresh and fragrant.

Volcanica Sumatra gayo coffee

Sumatra Gayo Coffee, Whole Bean, Low Acid, Fair Trade, Fresh Roasted, 16-ounce
3,239 Reviews
Sumatra Gayo Coffee, Whole Bean, Low Acid, Fair Trade, Fresh Roasted, 16-ounce
  • A fine Indonesian coffee that is delightfully smooth, described as sweet and clean with low acidity
  • Authentic Sumatra Coffee, Fair Trade Certified, Rainforest Alliance Certified
  • Medium roasted whole beans allowing the true flavor characteristic to come through for a remarkable taste.
  • Low Acid Coffee, Medium Roasted, Whole Bean Coffee, Fresh roasted then immediately packed and sealed to assure freshness.
  • 100% Customer Satisfaction Guaranteed

Sumatra is Indonesia’s most well-known coffee-producing island, and Volcanica’s Sumatra Gayo is the best there is. This thick, syrupy coffee symbolizes Indonesia’s deep, earthy essence and differentiates itself with its unusual spicy character. It is one that seasoned coffee lovers will like, but if you are not quite at the expert level, do not worry! The more you drink Gayo coffee, the better it gets.

Coffee from Bali blue moon

Fresh Roasted Coffee, Organic Bali Blue Moon, Medium Roast, Kosher RFA, Whole Bean, 32 Ounce
2,309 Reviews
Fresh Roasted Coffee, Organic Bali Blue Moon, Medium Roast, Kosher RFA, Whole Bean, 32 Ounce
  • PREPARE YOURSELF - ORGANIC BALI BLUE MOON IS OVERWHELMINGLY RICH with Syrupy Dark Chocolate Notes, A Creamy Mouthfeel and a Spicy Finish. Our All-Time Best Seller!
  • SINGLE-ORIGIN FROM THE KINTAMANI HIGHLANDS, BALI. USDA Organic. Rainforest Alliance Certified. Bourbon and Typica Varietals.
  • COFFEE FOR EVERYBODY - sustainably sourced and Proudly Roasted, Blended, and Packaged in USA.
  • All Our Coffees are Roasted in Our Environmentally Friendly Loring Roaster.
  • AVAILABLE IN WHOLE BEAN AS 12 OZ, 2 LB, and 5 LB Bags.

Bali Blue Moon coffee from Fresh Roasted Coffee will show you that Bali has much more to offer than beautiful beaches. A wide range of tastes, including vanilla, dark chocolate, spice, and earth, are expertly intertwined into a creamy, rich taste. The spice component of the profile lingers and complements a beautiful smooth finish. That earthy personality we keep emphasizing has been toned down in this profile, perhaps in exchange for, you guessed it, spice! Bali coffee is a perennial top-seller since it is one of the greatest Indonesian coffees on the market! You will understand after you try it.

If you click on the Amazon link or Add to Cart and make a purchase, we earn a commission at no additional cost to you. Last Update: 2021-09-22

nv-author-image

Self-proclaimed coffee drinker. I would, on a typical day, start my day by grinding my coffee with a manual grinder and use a French Press as a starter (2 cups), then a pour-over in the afternoon (4 cups). I had my fair share as a barista but I prefer to drink it, not serve it.