As one of the world’s largest coffee exporters after Brazil and Vietnam, Indonesia serves as an interesting coffee destination with plantations spreading from Aceh to Papua.
Below are some of the things to know about Indonesian coffee.
Characteristics of coffee beans
Coffee beans in Indonesia basically consist of arabica, robusta and liberica, according to Indra Febriansyah, co-owner of Moodbooster Coffee.
“Each of the coffee bean types have their own characteristics — either from the bean’s shape, size, aroma, flavor, location and the height of the plantations,” Indra said.
According to Anindita Sekar Jati of Tanamera Coffee Indonesia, the quality of the coffee is determined by several factors, among them being natural and postharvest factors.
“Every region has different geographical characteristics, from its soil to temperature to water quality,” said Anindita. “In terms of flavor, each coffee has its own taste note. There are certain terms to explain a coffee’s character, such as fruity, clean, nutty and smooth.”
Which coffee you should drink
Sadat, a barista at Tanamera Coffee Indonesia, suggested you try Malabar Natural originating from West Java. It has a fruity, sweet aroma with caramel and fruity flavors.
Those who enjoy chocolatey-smelling coffee can also try Toraja. Originating from South Toraja, South Sulawesi, this type of coffee has caramel and nutty flavors with citric acidity.
Indra also recommended Aceh gayo coffee, which is commonly used in most coffee shops. “Aceh gayo [coffee] is often used for milk coffee […]; you can expect an acid flavor coming from the coffee, but it can test [your] taste on whether [you] prefer a more acid or earthy-flavored coffee,” Indra explained.
Balinese coffee is also a must-try as it has a fruity note that provides a refreshing taste.
But those who are still exploring their taste in coffee should give those from West Java a try. “These coffees’ acid flavor is not too dominant, yet not too earthy,” Indra said.
Ways to enjoy your coffee
The Aeropress machine is one of the tools available for the manual-brewing technique. (Shutterstock/File)
“There are many ways to consume coffee; [you] can use an espresso machine or use manual brew[ing technique],” Indra said. “It depends on your own taste.”
If you want to try manual coffee brewing methods, you may need to prepare some tools, like V60, Chemex, Aeropress, Siphon or simply just use kopi tubruk (literally translated as “collision coffee”) method; although you may still taste a little bit of the coffee grinds.
There is also the widely known French Press which, for Sadat, already gives a satisfying result. But if you want your coffee to be even clearer, he suggested using a filter.
Compared to the manual brewing technique, an espresso machine will result in a stronger espresso shot.
“But of course there’s a particular skill that needs to be learned when using an espresso machine and manual brewing technique,” Indra stated. “The simplest way would definitely be kopi tubruk — it suits our archipelago taste, right?”
Make your own coffee
For those interested in making their own coffee, Indra suggested purchasing a manual coffee grinder and then brewing it using one of the manual brew techniques, such as V60 (pour over).
“It also means that you need to buy a dripper and filter. Some shops that specialize in coffee sell a starter kit for manual brewing,” he added.
Best time to enjoy a cup of coffee
For Sadat, drinking coffee can be done between 7 a.m. and 8 p.m., depending on each person’s caffeine needs.
“People ideally drink coffee in the morning to make them more energized, while in the afternoon there are people who drink coffee to be more relaxed,” said Sadat, adding that many people choose to sip espresso in the morning and gulp down manual-brewed or filtered black coffee in the afternoon.
Meanwhile, Indra said the best time to fulfil your caffeine dose was between 10 a.m. to 12 p.m., as you may not want to drink coffee directly after waking up in the morning so as to avoid getting addicted to starting every day with the beverage.
It is also recommended to have a cup of espresso that is low in calories.
“[But] if you prefer to have milk in your coffee, then it is advised to drink cappuccino because it has lower ratio of milk compared to a latte,” Indra explained, adding that people who want to keep their body in shape may consider using low-fat milk.