A Short History
The Dutch brought the first coffee plants to the Indonesian archipelago in the late 17th century. Always keen on gaining a commercial advantage, the VOC (VOC = Verenigde Oostindische Compagnie) decided to grow and produce their own coffee, aiming to undercut the Arabs who at that time dominated the coffee trade.
As it turned out, Indonesia has an ideal climate for growing and producing coffee and Indonesia hosted the first coffee plantations outside of Arabia and Ethiopia. The VOC acheived their goal and sustained a lively trade in the Indonesian coffee’s which were favored in Europe. The term “a cup of java” originated from this period.
Coffee was originally planted on Java, but then was expanded to Sumatra and Sulawesi. Sadly, in the 18th century huge areas of forested land were sacrificed to the plantations. A massive infrastructure was needed to to transport coffee to the ports. This was put to good use in the 19th century when this infrastructure became widely used for other commodities, resulting in sweeping economic development.
In this time Indonesia established itself as an important player in the international trade market.
In the late 1800’s the Indonesian coffee industry (along with “neighbors” Sri Lanka and Malaysia) fell victim to a devastating fungus called “coffee rust”. Widesweeping annihilation of entire plantations resulted and the Indonesian coffee industry came to a grinding halt.
Luckily not all coffee plants were lost. Some types of plants were resistant to the fungus. But some farmers abandoned the coffee business and replanted their plantations with less disease-prone rubber or tea trees.
Coffee has regained it’s ground in Indonesia. Today Indonesia ranks among the top in the world for coffee export after Brazil, Vietnam and Colombia.
Historical records from Dutch times indicate that coffee was grown on a large scale on Bali in the central lakes area, where Munduk Moding Plantation is situated. Until the 1980’s, the hill stations of Gobleg and Munduk were recognized as the most productive areas on the island to grow coffee.
After the harvest, the coffee was transported to the villages at lower altitudes on horse back or dried by the farmer in a big open field. When coffee prices fell dramatically in the 1990’s, many farmers abandoned coffee, switching to other cash crops that brought higher revenues. Soil erosion and falling water tables followed suit.
Munduk strives to facilitate a rebound in coffee farming in the Gobleg/Munduk area, with the goal of benefiting the economy as well as environment. learn more
Throughout the island of Bali, organic farming principles are standardly practiced, although many of the small farmers who do no belong to cooperatives haven’t obtained certification. The coffee we purchase from Wanagiri cooperative is certified, while the coffee grown on Munduk and the small farmers in our neighbor is not certified, although indeed organic.
Bali distinguishes itself from other coffee growing regions in Indonesia through their Integrated Farming method. Directly associated with the term “Sustainable Farming”, integrated farming allies itself with Tri Hata Karana, the philosophy which guides the Balinese throughout their lives. Tri Hata Karana is a governing principle in all deeds and actions, which strives to create and maintain harmony between humans, God, and nature through non violence.
Organic, sustainable farming practices are the means to realize this harmonious existence. By taking consideration of the health of farm animals, facilitating recycling of water and soil regeneration, using only animal based fertilizers and exercising consideration for those who work the farms, the farms function as holistic entities.
General cupping notes
In general terms, Indonesian coffees are known to have a heavy body and low acidity with long aftertaste. Flavors range from earthy to herbal, which for some is challenging. At a darker roast, dark/bitter chocolate tones can be found.
In general, when comparing Bali coffee to other Indonesian coffees, Bali coffee exhibits similar body, but less earthiness. Standing alone, acidity is more present but not sharp. Sweet fruit tones give the first flavor impression, and roasted nut, herbal tones and spicy aroma’s can also be detected.
Curious? Order your Munduk Coffee today!
In order to guarantee a top quality coffee product, Munduk processes the newly harvested coffee cherries herself. We use only fully ripe, red cherries and remain vigilant during the entire process, implementing several quality control cycles. In order to minimize potential quality problems, Munduk Coffee has invested heavily in the infrastructure for drying her coffee.
To briefly describe the processing method: the flesh of the cherry is removed from the coffee “seed”. The seeds are then removed from the hull and dried. Once dried, the coffee is bagged and shipped.
How this process is executed, has dramatic effect on the the resulting coffee product.
This processing method originates from the time when coffee was first discovered in Ethiopia. Traditionally, the ripe cherries were spread out on the ground to dry in the sun, with periodic turning of the coffee to expose it to the sun on all sides…and to prevent rotting of the fruit.
This method, as you can imagine, presents several challenges: sudden rainfall, animals, the earth itself.
Time is a make or break factor in the quality of the end product, as the fruit must dry before rotting or molding occurs.
Our rain sheltering, raised drying beds, vigilant turning of the drying cherries and extensive hand sorting has resulted in a top quality Dry Processed coffee with a heavy body, red fruit sweetness, and smooth complex flavor. Darker roasts bring out a smooth chocolate cognac laced finish.
Fully Washed/Wet Process:
In this method the flesh of the cherry is completely removed before the drying process. This process results in a coffee that is cleaner, brighter, and fruitier, but with the unmistakeable Bali coffee body.
Lighter roasts emphasize high toned fruit sweetness whereas darker roasts bring out chocolate and caramel notes.
The Wet Hull or Giling Basah processing method is used traditionally in Indonesia, primarily in the past in Sumatra. The beans, as with the Honey Process, still have some of the flesh of the cherry clinging to them during the drying process. However, the beans are sent through the hulling machine where the parchment surrounding the actual coffee bean is stripped off while the coffee is not yet completely dried (25-35% moisture content). The whitish green beans are then spread out in the sun until they reach an 11-14% moisture level.
Giling Basah coffees have terrific body and an herbal sweetness and respond well to light as well as dark roasts.
In honey processing the skin and some of the pulp of the coffee cherry is removed. What remains, is some of the sticky pulp, or “honey”. The coffee is then dried in the sun with still some of the sweet “honey” on the beans.
The crisp, bright sweetness of our Honey Processed coffee will surprise you. The body you expect from an Indonesian is present, as well as spice and earth/wood elements in the flavor.