Indonesia & New Guinea
IIndonesia is the world's third largest
producer of coffee. However, only 10% of the crop is arabica, and the number of quality
beans available for the specialty coffee industry is limited. Even though they are a small
percentage of total production, arabica coffees from this region are considered some of
the best in the world, and are prized for their richness, full body, long finish,
earthiness and gentle acidity.
Click on a name of a Country on the map above
for more information about that growing region.
Two of the world's best and most famous coffees come from Sumatra: Mandheling and Ankola.
Both are dry-processed coffees grown in west-central Sumatra near the port of Pandang at
altitudes of 2,500 to 5,000 feet. Mandheling is known for its herbal aroma, full body, low
acidity and rich and smooth flavor. Though these coffees are difficult to find, they
remain moderate in price.
Sulawesi or Celebes
Once known as Celebes, the island of Sulawesi in the Malay peninsula produces some of the
world's finest coffee. Celebes Toraja, grown in the mountainous area near the center of
the island, is one of the most famous. Coffees from Sulawesi are processed using the dry
method and possess an intriguing combination of sweetness and earthiness. They are low in
acidity with a deep body resembling maple syrup. These coffees are more expensive than
Sumatran coffees because of small yields and the fierce demand for this coffee in Japan.
Early Dutch explorers brought arabica trees to Java, which became the world's leading
producer of coffee until rust wiped out the industry. The acreage was replanted with
disease-resistant and less desirable robusta stock. With the support of the Indonesian
government, arabica is once again being grown on some of the original Dutch estates.
Estate Java is a wet-processed coffee that is more acidic, lighter in body and quicker to
finish than other coffees in the region. Smoke and spice are flavors often associated with
this coffee's acidity.
Some Javanese coffee is stored in warehouses for two or three
years and is referred to as Old Java. This aging process causes the coffee to lose acidity
and gain body and sweetness.
Papua New Guinea, which occupies the eastern half of the island of New Guinea, is usually
where coffee labeled New Guinea is grown. Coffee is cultivated by peasants on small
plantations in the mountain highlands, and processed using the wet method. Two of New
Guinea's most famous coffees are Sigri and Arona. These coffees are less acidic and
aromatic than the best coffees of Sulawesi and less full-bodied than the best Sumatrans,
but nonetheless they are well-balanced with a fruity aroma and earthy body.
Hawaiian coffee is grown primarily on the the islands of Hawaii and Kauai, with the
coffees of the Kona region of the island of Hawaii being the most highly prized. Kona
possesses the perfect environment for growing arabicas. The best estates grow beautiful,
large, flat beans, which produce a medium-bodied brew, with buttery, spicy
characteristics. Consumers should beware that many coffees being sold as Kona blends may
contain only 10% Hawaiian coffee, typically blended with Latin American coffees. Kona
coffees demand a premium price, and the flavor characteristics of many lower priced Latin
American coffees are considered superior.
TOP OF PAGE