At 9,892 miles from Atlanta, Indonesia is the furthest we are traveling on this virtual “Bean Belt” trip. Up to now, we have been to India, Central America, The Caribbean, South America, and Africa and the Arabian Peninsula. If you are wondering what this series is about, check out our introduction, Travel The World With Coffee.
Air travel to Indonesia, including layovers, takes approximately 45 hours. For us, it will just take a second. You know the drill. Grab your favorite brew, get comfortable, and let’s go!
Indonesia is a transcontinental island nation located in Southeast Asia and Oceania. With more than 17,000 islands, it is the largest island country and the largest archipelagic country in the world. One of its islands, Java, is the world’s most populous island worldwide and is home to more than half of the inhabitants of Indonesia. As an island nation, there are only a few countries that border the actual land. Papua New Guinea, East Timor, and Malaysia share a border with Indonesia. The rest of the neighboring countries, Singapore, Vietnam, Australia, Palau, the Philippines, and the Indian territories of Andaman and Nicobar.
For 350 years, Indonesia was under Dutch colonial rule with bouts of Portuguese, French, and British rule throughout those years. During World War II, Indonesia was occupied by Japan, effectively ending Dutch rule. They finally won their independence after World War II. The capital of Indonesia is Jakarta, found on the island of Java. The highest peak in the Indonesian mountains is Puncak Jaya. It is found in Papua and is 16,024 feet high. The largest lake, Lake Toba, is found in Sumatra and has an area of 442 square miles. Indonesia is located at the convergence of the Pacific, Australian, and Eurasian tectonic plates. This causes quite a few earthquakes and numerous volcanoes. There are an astounding 150 active volcanoes if not more. The volcanic ash from these volcanoes makes the land fertile.
Lying along the equator, Indonesia enjoys an even climate, though you will see variations from island to island as well as in varying altitudes. Indonesia experiences a dry season, from April through October, and a wet season, from November through March. The climate is tropical with both rainforest and monsoon microclimates depending on where you are. Temperatures average around 82F along the coast, 79F inland and in the lower portions of the mountains, and 73F in the higher mountain regions. In some of the highest altitudes, above 9,000 feet, subpolar climates with occasional frost and snow are common. In Papua, the snow-capped peaks experience tundra conditions. Humidity in Indonesia is high, often in the 70% to 90% range. Rainfall in Indonesia is also tied to altitude with lowlands receiving 70 to 125 inches annually while in the highlands an average of 240 inches can be found.
The people of Indonesia are quite diverse. There are 300 native ethnic groups speaking more than 700 languages and dialects. English is spoken in the larger cities and most people are able to speak it in the further reaches. The high diversity of these islands can be seen in the differing art, architecture, music, cuisine, and other cultural areas. Popular souvenir items are folk crafts that have distinct looks depending on which island they are from. There is a lot to do to spend time in Indonesia. From the breathtaking coral reefs to family-friendly theme parks to awe-inspiring temples, you will certainly find something fun to do.
Coffee is grown on many Indonesian islands. CoffeeAM carries coffees from the islands of Sumatra, Bali, New Guinea, Java, Timor, and Sulawesi. We will take a brief look at each island and the coffee that comes from them.
Just off the coast of Malaysia is the island of Sumatra. This long island is surrounded on three sides by the Indian Ocean with the Malacca Strait on the fourth separating it from the mainland. Sumatra is the largest producer of Indonesian coffee. Coffee from Sumatra has a unique earthy flavor brought out by a darker roast. The Sumatra Mandheling
is grown in the northern portion of Sumatra near Lake Takengon. It is known for its smooth full-bodied flavor and exhibits notes of syrup and dark chocolate with undertones of floral herbs and stone fruits. This coffee is also available in Certified Organic
, and Swiss Water Decaf
. Our best-selling Sumatra Black Satin
is a unique brew. With smoky aromas and mild earthy flavors with a black pepper finish, this coffee is an ideal choice for your espresso drinks.
Southeast of Sumatra is the island of Java. Yes, this is indeed where we got the name of java for coffee! Growing coffee on Java was problematic in the beginning. Originally brought here because coffee couldn’t grow in France, the first crops were washed away. The next crops, grown a few years later, succumbed to leaf rust which nearly wiped out the entirety of the plants. The Dutch planted a different varietal that was resistant to leaf rust and the plants thrived. There are two CoffeeAM coffees from this island. Our Java “Dutch Estate”
has a heavy body, is well-balanced, and is absolutely delicious with chocolatey undertones and a slight spiciness. Our Mocca-Java
blend begins with a Java grown bean which is mixed with our Ethiopian Yirgacheffe for a pungent brew. Choose this for a rich, savory cup with notes of bittersweet chocolate and hints of smokiness. Perfect for a relaxing afternoon.
The tiny island of Bali is found in the string of islands stretching eastward from the southeasternmost tip of Sumatra. Surrounded primarily by the Bali Sea, a small portion of the island juts out into the Indian Ocean. CoffeeAM is proud of both Balinese coffees in our portfolio. Try our Bali “Blue Moon”
, one of our best-selling coffees, for a decadent way to wake up. This 100% organic coffee is silky smooth with chocolate, syrup, and vanilla notes you’re sure to fall in love with. Our Bali “Paradise Valley”
is planted, harvested, and processed all by hand. This coffee has a mild intensity that is earthy and smooth with hints of chocolate that make it an easy sip.
Timor is found near the easternmost section of the line of Indonesian islands and is north of the Northern Territory of Australia. West Timor is a part of the Republic of Indonesia while the eastern portion of the island is known as the sovereign states of East Timor. CoffeeAM is happy to present our Timor Coffee
, grown organically by growers who have banded together to improve their production capacity, working the mills to process their harvests. The flavor of this excellent coffee is spicy and herbal and is perfect for any time of day.
The island of New Guinea is the easternmost island we will be visiting on this trip. Western New Guinea is part of the Republic of Indonesia. Like the island of Timor, Western New Guinea shares the island with Papua New Guinea to the east. The entire island of New Guinea is the second-largest island in the world. It is the only island of Indonesia to be in Oceania while the rest of the country is in Southeast Asia. Our Papua New Guinea
coffee is grown at elevations above 5,000 feet along the riverbank of the Wahgi River. The coffee trees share the area with albizia trees (we know them as mimosas) which give this brew a fruity essence and a sweet smoothness you are sure to enjoy.
Our last stop in the tropical islands of Indonesia is Sulawesi. This island is unique in that it is made of four peninsulas. It is to the east of Borneo and south of the Philippines. From this island comes our Sulawesi
coffee. A direct descendent of coffee varietals found in Yemen, this coffee is distinct from the other Indonesian coffees we have already looked at. It is a full-bodied brew with cinnamon and spice flavors and a smooth finish you will return to time and again.
With that, we finish our tour of the Indonesian islands. With all the choices available from this tropical paradise, it may be difficult to narrow it down to one. Our Indonesian Coffee Sampler
has half-pound bags of four of our Indonesian coffees. Enjoy our Organic Bali “Blue Moon,” Java “Dutch Estate,” Sulawesi, and Sumatra Black Satin and discover your newest obsession today. Next week, join us for the final trip in this travelogue series, Hawaii
. See you then!