The Dutch governor in Malabar (India) sent a Yemeni or arabica coffee (Coffea arabica) seedling to the Dutch governor of Batavia (now Jakarta) in 1696. The first seedlings failed due to flooding in Batavia. The second shipment of seedlings was sent in 1699 with Hendrik Zwaardecroon. The plants grew, and in 1711 the first exports were sent from Java to Europe by the Dutch East India Company, known by its Dutch initials VOC (Vereeningde Oost-Indische Company), such that 2000 pounds were shipped in 1717. Indonesia was the first place, outside of Arabia and Ethiopia, where coffee was widely cultivated.
Coffees from Sumatra are known for smooth, sweet body that is balanced and intense. Depending on the region, or blend of regions, the flavours of the land and processing can be very pronounced. Notes of cocoa, tobacco, smoke, earth and cedar wood can show well in the cup. Occasionally, Sumatran coffees can show greater acidity, which balances the body. This acidity takes on tropical fruit notes and sometimes an impression of grapefruit or lime.
Today, more than 90% of Indonesia’s coffee is grown by smallholders on farms averaging around one hectare. Some of this production is organic and many farmers’ cooperatives and exporters are internationally certified to market organic coffee.
Coffee is produced in small size farms and is process by the system “Gilling Basah” (wet hulling). The coffee has a very characteristic bluish color, which is attributed to the processing method. Sumatran coffee is a beautiful deep blue-green color with the appearance of jade.
Sumatran coffees capture the wild jungle essence of this tropical Indonesian island, often with an earthy, deep, complex, full-bodied coffee that exhibits low-acidity smoothness and a touch of forest floor funk. A great Sumatran is creamy, sweet, with a touch of butterscotch, spice, and mustiness.