Chief Coffee-Producing Areas in Indonesia
Since Indonesia is not just one land but a series of islands of highly-varying sizes, understanding coffee production in Indonesia is as complex as the geography of itself. That said, it’s worth exploring some of the largest and most popular coffee-producing areas in Indonesia so that you can understand the differences between the single origin coffee produced in each area.
- Sumatra: The largest coffee producer in Indonesia (and the largest island wholly under Indonesian control, as Borneo and New Guinea are shared with other countries), Sumatra coffee is typically produced at the farm level using the wet processing method. A number of Arabica coffees come from the high-lying areas in Sumatra, such as the high plateau of the District of Lintongnihuta.
- Sulawesi: The world’s eleventh-largest island is a long, curving island between Borneo and the Maluku islands. It has a number of jutting, thin peninsulas that poke into the sea, giving it a lot of low-lying farm area. Additionally, Sulawesi is a geologically old island – dating back some 100 million years – which gives its soil a particularly rich high-iron quality. The high-altitude area of Tana Toraja is known for its Arabica, but Sulawesi coffee in general is known for its Giling Basah processing method, or wet hulling. More about wet hulling in a little bit.
- Java: Even people who aren’t “into” coffee probably know the name of Java, and with good reason: Java is one of the primary components of “Mocca Java,” which pairs Indonesian coffee with Yemeni coffee if you recall the section on Mocha earlier on in this guide. Additionally, Kopi Luwak, a coffee we’ll explore in further detail as well, comes from this section of the Indonesian archipelago.
- Bali: A very small section of the Indonesian landscape, Bali is a favorite of those single origin coffee seekers who want to ensure that they receive Fair Trade coffee, which is coffee trading that places an emphasis on the overall equity of distribution, meaning that the “little guy” who does much of the labor in coffee production is not left out of the price loop.
- Papua: As New Guinea is the second largest island in the world (second only to Australia, which is so large that it is also a continent), Indonesia’s section of New Guinea – called Papua – is a significant piece of the Indonesian landscape. It is divided up into two provinces: Paupa and West Papua. Coffee here is also wet hulled, and this area of Indonesia is believed to be on the rise thanks to the large amount of area that is well-suited for shade-grown coffees. Additionally, because pesticide is not used in this area of Indonesia, people who want organic coffees are interested in looking at Papua-grown coffees.
- Sumbawa: An island in and of itself, much of the coffee from Sumbawa is actually marketed as “Tambora” because of Mount Tambora and the fact that its elevation gives rise to some excellent coffees. Like many places in Indonesia, this area also has a rich history that dates back to Dutch traders planting coffee when exploring the islands of Indonesia in the 18th and 19th centuries.
- Flores: Flores Island is a long island in the southern region of Indonesia. The name “Flores” actually refers to flowers, but it is actually the ash of the nearby volcanic activity that makes the nearby soil so fertile for coffee, similar to much of the coffee in Hawaii. However, many people do swear that they can pick up on the subtle floral taste of Flores coffee.
Of course, each region of Indonesia comes with its own unique properties including altitude, soil, and climate factors that will weigh heavily into the types of single origin coffees produced in each location.