Changing of the guard. Of Indonesia’s 17,000 islands, 6,000 are inhabited, and only a haldful are familiar to the world of coffee– Sulawesi, Flores, Bali, Java and Sumatra. Coffee has deep roots in the history of Indonesia; the term ‘Java’ is a nod to first coffee plantations planted on that island by the Dutch in late 1800’s. Other than the balkanization of plantations into smaller family farms, and the continual creation of new varietals, coffee is grown much the same way it was two centuries ago. However, recently, old traditions are being questioned by younger generations who are facing new realities brought on by education, the Internet, and the rise of specialty coffee markets around the world. Communities are organizing to break the entrenched ‘tokeh’ system of selling through loan-sharking middle-men, and are taking ownership of their coffee through to the cup instead of stopping at the scale.
And this is the story of Indonesia; an ancient story of the relationship between coffee, climate and culture. It is a story whose authors are in the process of writing a new chapter: check in with us season after season to taste new iterations of old traditions.