Indonesia’s national motto is ‘Bhinneka tunggal ika’ which means ‘Unity is Diversity’. Nothing could be more fitting for the world’s largest island complex, as unique as it is diverse in people, language and culture. Indonesia is an archipelago comprised of 17,500 islands, of which more than 7000 are uninhabited, located off the coast of mainland Southeast Asia. Indonesia has over 300 different ethnic groups and over 600 distinct languages. Due to the consistent monsoon climate, an even distribution of rainfall, a diverse range of mountainous landscapes and rich volcanic soil, there are unique growing conditions throughout the archipelago for all types of smallholder agriculture.
The first coffee planted in Indonesia arrived from Yemen in 1696 under the supervision of the Dutch East India Company, who introduced Typica varieties into cultivation and subsequently managed the first exports out of Java to Europe in 1711. Towards the end of the 19th century the Dutch had expanded coffee cultivation in Sumatra, Bali, Sulawesi and Timor, establishing plantations on the Ijen Plateau in Java. Indonesia found independence from the Dutch and took control of coffee production in 1949.
|Annual production:||6.5 million bags|
|Altitude range:||1000 - 1600 masl|
|No coffee farmers:||2,000,000|
|Harvest times:||Sulawesi: May to November Java: July to September Sumatra: November to June|
|Key growing regions:||Java (Ijen Plateau), Sumatra (Mandheling, Lintong and Gayo), Sulawesi (Enrekang, Toraja, Kalosi, Mamasa and Gowa), Flores and Bali (Kintamani)|
|Typical varieties:||Typica, Caturra, Bourbon, Catimor, Linea S, Jember, Hybrido de Timor, Ateng|
|Processing type:||Washed or Wet-Hulled (Giling Basah)|
Today Indonesia is the fourth biggest coffee producer in the world and most coffee grown is by smallholder producers who have on average 1-2 hectares of land. Coffee is cultivated most notably on Java, Sumatra and Bali, which make up the Greater Sunda Islands, a southward extension of the Asian continent which creates Indonesia’s recognisable arc, and Sulawesi to the North, sandwiched between Papua New Guinea and Borneo. There are over 100 active volcanoes scattered throughout the islands which create highly fertile soils for agriculture.
Much of the coffee being produced in Indonesia today is wet processed, however many coffee producers still use the ‘giling basah’, the wet hulling method. The coffee cultivated in Indonesia originates from the Typica and Bourbon varieties planted by the Dutch during the 18th century, however interest in disease-resistance in more recent years has created a shift towards different varieties such as Hibrido de Timor, more locally known as Tim Tim, Linie S varieties such as S-288 and S-79, developed in India from Bourbon cultivars, Catimor and Caturra. The Indonesian Coffee and Cocoa Research Institute, located in Jember, Java, assists coffee producers throughout Indonesia in supplying training, seedlings and processing equipment, as well as conducting research in variety development and land mapping to develop new areas of cultivation.