Located on the coffee belt –the equatorial regions where coffee grows best– Indonesia is the fifth-largest coffee producing country in Indonesia. Coffee plantations –for Robusta and Arabica coffee farming– are spread across Indonesia’s main islands, such as Sumatra, Java, Sulawesi, Papua, Flores, and Bali. Being one of the largest islands in Indonesia, Sumatra contributes a very large proportion of the country’s coffee production, about 74.2% of the total crop.
Although Robusta coffee dominates 70 to 80% of total coffee production in Indonesia, Indonesian Arabica coffee beans have become premium gourmet coffees, recognized internationally by coffee connoisseurs across the globe. High-quality Indonesian Arabica coffee has been exported to various countries such as the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, Sweden, Japan, Korea, UAE, Saudi Arabia, Malaysia, and many other countries. Aceh Gayo, Sumatra Mandheling, Bali Kintamani, Toraja Sulawesi, and Java Preanger are a few Indonesian Arabica coffees that are widely known around the world. There are over 20 different varieties of Arabica coffee grown commercially in Indonesia.
Arabica coffee grows well in Indonesia because its highlands meet the climate and soil conditions required to grow Arabica coffee plants. The Arabica coffee farming is mainly located in mountainous regions near the equator, between 1000 to 2000 meters above sea level, and thrives in volcanic soil. That is why, Indonesia –with its 17,000 mountainous islands, 120 active volcanoes, heavy rains, fertile volcanic soil, and ideal temperatures– make one of the world’s most ideal locations for Arabica coffee farming. Java, Sumatra, and Sulawesi are three main islands where Arabica coffee is cultivated extensively. But there are also other regions that grow high-quality Arabica coffee beans, including Bali, Flores, Timor, and Papua. We will touch on some of these regions below.
As one of the largest islands in Indonesia and the sixth-largest island in the world, Sumatra is also Indonesia’s leading producer of Arabica coffee. Known for its unique and complex flavor profile, Sumatra coffee is marked by a thick, creamy texture. It is often described as earthy and spicy with notes of dark chocolate, and tobacco. It is also known for its low acidity and full body, making it an excellent choice for those who are susceptible to acidic coffee.
Java is the first island to cultivate coffee. During the colonial period, the Dutch colonialists began to grow coffee on Java Island in the 1700s. Java Arabica coffee has an aroma of fine spices with medium thickness, acidity, and a balanced taste.
Most of Sulawesi’s Arabica coffee grows in the Tana Toraja highlands. Over 95% of Sulawesi’s Arabica coffee is grown naturally in Toraja on small family grounds. Sulawesi coffee is smooth and earthy with deep, soft spices and sweet nutty tones that close to a bright finish.
Renowned for its stunning natural beauty and rich cultural heritage, Bali also cultivates some of the world’s most sought-after coffee beans. Grown next to the Batur volcano, northeast of Kintamani, Balinese coffee flavor is complex with a hefty, silky body, coupled with low acidity and strong woody tones that rise beneath gently spiced citrus tones.