Java’s Coffee

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December 6, 2012 by rezkyadityaputra

Java is a clean cup for an Indonesian, a fully wet-processed coffee that has the Indonesian body and thickness in the cup without earthy or dirty flavors. Our experience is that early lots of Timor and Java can be the finest while in Central Americans you usually need to hold out for the mid-crop to late-crop samples. In the case of Sumatra and Sulawesi, it seems that the second to third wave of arrivals can be the best. Of course, these truisms are made to be broken… that’s why samples and cupping are always the key.

The problem is that a low acid coffee can taste quite flat, or incomplete. It’s no wonder that an average quality Java is considered a “good blender” and not a true, stand-alone single origin coffee. We don’t look for average quality though – we look for stand out coffees. The Government Estate coffees are quite mild, but I usually find a lot that has a bit more going on, usually a Djampit or Blawan lot. In the past we liked the Kayumas best since it exemplifies both the thick oily body of a Java with some other nice flavors.

But now we are getting coffee from a project I visited in West Java, called Java Sunda, not that far from Bandung. The cup has been very promising.

“Government Estate” Java comes from 4 old farms (Kayumas, Blawan, Djampit, Pancoer) that date back to Dutch colonialism, and “Private Estate” Java. Government Estate is invariably preferred as higher quality coffee. I usually have a strong preference when I get all the Gov’t. Estate samples in and blind cup them.

All main estates are located in East Java in the vicinity of the Ijen volcanic complex. The arabica coffee plant was brought to Indonesia around 1696 and has been commercially cultivated until today. The Government body (called the PTP XXVI Plantation) grows about 85% of the coffee in East Java, close to Bali on the Ijen area. The range of altitudes suitable for coffee production is 3,000 to 6,000 feet with most growing in the plateau region at 4,500. Djampit and Blawan are the largest estates, while Pancoer is 1110 Hectares and Kayumas is 725 Hectares. Blawan is huge: 2268 Hectares. There is an old cultivar that can be found, called Java Typica. But there is a lot of catimor-derived cultivars. One is ironically called USDA, named after those who developed and endorsed it, as well as Kartika cultivar.

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