CHARACTERISTICS OF JAVA ARABICA COFFEE
A good Java coffee exhibits
- a relatively heavy body, though lighter than some other Indonesian coffeesand also less acidic.
- somewhat rustic in the overall flavor profile
- a lingering finish and herbaceous subtleties in the aftertaste.
A fine Java coffee has a low-toned richness that is typical of Indonesian and New Guinea coffees, but with a full body that is clean and thick, and a medium acidity(brighter than New Guinea coffee) along with earthy qualities, but less earthy than some other Indonesian coffees such as Borneo, Sulawesi and Sumatra.
While the finish of Java may be a bit quicker than some other Indonesian coffees, it often contains a slightly spicy or smoky twist. Java coffee leaves a sweetimpression overall, very smooth and supple.
JAVA ARABICA COFFEE GROWING AREAS
The finest Java coffee comes from plantations on the five largest estates established by the Dutch government in the 18th century when Java was part of the Dutch East Indies.
The largest coffee estates on Java, encompassing more than 4,000 hectares of coffee plantings, are Djampit, (the biggest producer) Blawan, Pancoer, and Kayumas. Coffee has been growing in this area since the 17th century and has historically been enjoyed by people all around the world.
After harvest the coffee fruit (cherry) is fermented and washed using the wet-process, which removes the pulp.
EARLY JAVA COFFEE PLANTATION STOCKS
During the 1880s when the island of Java was leading the world in coffee production, Java’s coffee crops were devastated by a rust plague. This plague occurred first in Sukabumi and then throughout Central Java and areas of East Java. Many plantation stocks were lost.
Java’s coffee plants were mostly of the varietal Arabica (Coffea arabica var. Arabica) at the time of the rust plague.
After the plague the Dutch first planted Liberica (Coffea liberica) and then Robusta (Coffea canephora var. robusta), a species highly favored for its ability to resist disease, though considered inferior to the finer Arabica coffee beans when it comes to producing a fine cup of brewed coffee with a wide range of flavors and aromas.
While most java coffees imported into the United States and Canada are Arabica, the higher price reflects the agricultural situation, where approximately 90% of the coffee crop is Robusta.
JAVA’S OLD COLONIAL PLANTATIONS
The old colonial era plantations on Java now grow just a small percentage of the island’s coffee, though these revived old estates grow most of the island’s premium gourmet Arabica varietal coffee.
Overall, only about ten percent of Indonesia’s coffee production is Arabica, but this ten percent includes some of the world’s finest gourmet coffees.