When you think of Indonesian coffee, you don’t necessarily think of speciality crops, based on a Western interpretation of flavour. However, things are changing and we’re excited to share our first Indonesian coffee with you – Barokah from Western Sumatra.
When we’re looking for delicious new coffees, we first look to countries, regions, farms with the terroir to grown incredible crops. Terroir, in combination with variety, is the most powerful force that shapes the potential of a coffee’s flavours. Simply the land that the coffee grows on, its geology, its soil and its climate are what make the coffee what it is. That is not to say we cannot influence, enhance or ruin a coffee but location will always be a coffee’s most impactful element to shape its potential. This means that some areas are better, some regions and some countries are better. Just better suited for delicious coffee. [Of course, this doesn’t mean that good coffee can’t happen in many places but great coffee, well, that’s much more difficult.]
There are areas of Indonesia that certainly have the terroir we look for to achieve incredible coffee. Indonesia also has a deep history in coffee growing; the Dutch East Indies Trading Company first introduced coffee to Indonesia in the 17th century, planting Typica and Bourbon in North Sumatra. The archipelago is now the third biggest coffee grower in the world. Aside from terroir and history, there are also varietals unique to Indonesia, such as Longberry, which is thought to have originated from Ethiopia due to its similarity to Longberry Harrar (a natural mutation of the Typica variety). These different variables come together to create flavour profiles which we’ve not experienced from anywhere else in the world. Unique flavours such as banana custard from Longberry. This is hugely exciting for us as we look to showcase diversity in flavour.
However, despite the terroir, history and varietals lining Indonesian coffee up for success, the historic challenge has been the general approach to processing, which doesn’t yield what our Western palettes have been trained to judge as speciality grade – namely a clean finish. The majority of the coffee in Indonesia is processed through a wet hulled process – Giling Basah. Read more about this process at http://bit.ly/PerfectDailyGrind_WetHulled The end cup result, in our experience, is less clean, more woody, dry and leathery. The thing about Indonesian ‘speciality’ is that it does exhibit good sweetness, acidity and fruit flavours, however, they are tarnished by the negative aspects that pervade the cup.
However, that’s changing as more producers are using a washed processing method, to achieve a cleaner finish and cater for Western speciality palates. The potential for tremendous, unique coffee from Indonesia is huge, so this is incredibly exciting.
We’re excited to be showcasing our first Indonesian coffee and supporting the work being undertaken at the Barokah Cooperative in West Sumatra.