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Indonesian Coffee. Indonesia is currently the fourth largest producer of coffee in the world. Coffee in Indonesia began with its colonial history, and has played an important part in the growth of the country. Indonesia is located within an ideal geography for coffee plantations. The longitude and latitude of the country means that the island origins are all well suited micro-climates for the growth and production of coffee, resulting in widespread environmental degradation and the destruction of tropical rainforests that have the highest concentration of endemic species in the world.
In 1696, the Dutch brought coffee to Batavia, in what is now Java. Batavia soon became the main supplier of coffee to Europe. Over the past 312 years, the names “Java” and “Sumatra” have become virtually synonymous with flavorful coffee. Connoisseurs of specialty coffee also know the names Bali, Lintong, Toraja, Kalosi, Gayo, and Mandheling. Beyond these well known regions, coffee from new areas, such as Wamena and Moanemani in Papua wait to be discovered.
In the early days, the prominent coffee under Dutch rule was Coffea arabica. The coffee was introduced to the archipelago via Ceylon (modern day Sri Lanka). The Dutch Colonial Government initially planted coffee around Batavia (Jakarta), and as far south as Sukabumi and Bogor, in the 17th century. Coffee plantations were also established in East Java, Central Java, West Java and in parts of Sumatra and Sulawesi. Coffee at the time was also grown in East Indonesia- East Timor and Flores. Both of these islands were originally under Portuguese control and the coffee was also C. arabica, but from different root stocks. The coffee in Eastern Indonesia was not affected to the same degree by rust, and even today, some coffee in East Timor can be traced back to the 16th and 17th century.
Robusta coffee (Coffea canephora; syn. Coffea robusta) is a variety of coffee which has its origins in central and western sub-Saharan Africa. It is a species of flowering plant in the Rubiaceae family. Though widely known as Coffea robusta, the plant is scientifically identified as Coffea canephora, which has two main varieties – Robusta and Nganda. It is mostly grown in Vietnam, where French colonists introduced it in the late 19th century, and also in Africa and Brazil, where it is often called conillon. Approximately 20% of the coffee produced in the world is robusta.
Robusta is easier to care for and has a greater crop yield than the other major species of coffee, Coffea arabica, and, because of this, is cheaper to produce. Since arabica beans are often considered superior, robusta is usually limited to use as a filler in lower-grade coffee blends. It is also often included in instant coffee, and in espresso blends to promote the formation of “crema”. Robusta has about twice as much caffeine as arabica.
Coffee arabica is a species of Coffee originally indigenous to the mountains of Yemen in the Arabian Peninsula, hence its name, and also from the southwestern highlands of Ethiopia and southeastern Sudan. It is also known as the “coffee shrub of Arabia”, “mountain coffee” or “arabica coffee”. Coffea arabica is believed to be the first species of coffee to be cultivated, being grown in southwest Arabia for well over 1,000 years.
It is said to produce better coffee than the other major commercially grown coffee species, Coffea canephora (robusta), but tastes vary. C. arabica contains less caffeine than any other commercially cultivated species of coffee.
Kopi luwak (Luwak Coffee / Civet Coffee), or civet coffee, is one of the world’s most expensive and low-production varieties of coffee. It is made from the beans of coffee berries which have been eaten by the Asian Palm Civet (Paradoxurus hermaphroditus) and other related civets, then passed through its digestive tract. A civet eats the berries for their fleshy pulp. In its stomach, proteolytic enzymes seep into the beans, making shorter peptides and more free amino acids. Passing through a civet’s intestines the beans are then defecated, keeping their shape. After gathering, thorough washing, sun drying, light roasting and brewing, these beans yield an aromatic coffee with much less bitterness. This coffee is widely noted as the most expensive coffee in the world with prices reaching $160 per pound.
Kopi luwak (Luwak Coffee / Civet Coffee) is produced mainly on the islands of Sumatra, Java, Bali and Sulawesi in the Indonesian Archipelago. It is also produced in the Philippines (where the product is called motit coffee in the Cordillera, kape alamid in Tagalog areas) and also produced in East Timor (where it is called kafé-laku). Weasel coffee is a loose English translation of its Vietnamese name cà phê Chồn, where popular, chemically simulated versions are also produced. However, Vietnam has 2 farms with 300 wild civets in Dak Lak. The farmers collect the coffee seeds and produce only 300 kg of authentic Vietnamese chon coffee. The civets live in the wild and are fed beef. The processed civet beans are imported to the UK to the farmers’ sole UK supplier.