STiR Tea & Coffee Industry International

Volume 3, Number 3

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50 STiR tea & coffee industry international ndonesian coffees are diverse, fascinating and exotic, particularly when contrasted to classic South American wet-processed coffees. Some would say they're an ac- quired taste. If that is so, it's time more folks acquired an appreciation of these great coffees. There was a time when some batches of Indonesian wet-hulled coffee were per- ceived as tainted, moldy or over-ripe. However, what used to be considered faults of Indonesian coffee is no longer typical of the origin. Farmers and exporters now pay close attention to the market, grower organizations encourage education and field training and make the most of improvements in technology. The result is a novel and more palatable range of cup profiles, without defects. "In 15 years of cupping I've tasted my share of Indonesian coffees. There was a point when we found defects in the cup, so we stopped buying them. Recently, though, we've come across some great Sulawesi, and so we're back in the game," writes Bob Benck, coffee buyer, Batdorf & Bronson, Olympia, Wash. This origin is not widely known beyond specialty coffee circles, in part because Indonesian robusta (which makes up 75% of exports) is often added to generic coffee blends, made into soluble coffee or used in bottled coffee drinks; likewise, a significant portion of Indonesian arabica is blended with other origins. It is only partially visible in the market. Background In the 17th Century, a Yemini coffee seedling was sent to the Dutch East Indies via Aceh, an Arab entrepôt on the northern tip of Sumatra. After an abortive first attempt, the young crop took root south of the Dutch capital, Batavia, the first coffee to be suc- cessfully grown outside the Middle East! Indonesia has a burgeoning population, a vigorous free economy and an expanding consuming class that will increase to 145 million by 2030. The economy generated $870 billion last year and is expected to grow by 6% in 2014. Add its rich, varied coffee resource and improved cup quality and one can see there are excellent business opportunities including: • High-margin organic, fair trade, shade-grown and GI certified coffees for export • A growing value-added capability for branding, blending and packaging • Domestic retail small cafés and international franchises Coffee Archipelago By Frank Miller I

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