The Jakarta Post
Indonesian coffee farmers seem to have enjoyed a bumper harvest this year, if participation in the third biennial Indonesia Specialty Coffee Auction is anything to go by. The committee of the auction, organized by the Specialty Coffee Association of Indonesia (AKSI), received 144 samples of fresh coffee from local small-scale farmers in 13 regions ' a big jump from 62 in 2012 and 30 in 2010. Certified Q and R coffee graders will select the top 30 samples prior to the auction, which will take place using the English 'open outcry' system on Oct. 10 at JIExpo in Kemayoran, Central Jakarta. The benchmark score for the auction is 84.
The coffee tasting, known as cupping, will be carried out by Q and R graders on Oct. 8 and 9.
'From the increasing number of entries we can see how the industry is developing,' said auction organizing committee chairman Irvan Helmi, the owner of Anomali Coffee.
The entries consist of 105 lots of Arabica, 17 Robusta and 22 Luwak coffee from Aceh, North Sumatra, West Sumatra, Lampung, Bengkulu, West Java, East Java, Bali, Lombok, Flores, Toraja and Enrekang in Sulawesi and Wamena in Papua.Each lot weighs between 600 kilograms and 1.5 tons.
Lots smaller than the international standard are intended to give a sense of preciousness that may jack up the price.
'In the last auction, Toraja Sapan coffee was sold the highest with a price of US$45 per kilogram, nine times higher than market price,' said Resianri Triane, an auction organizer.
The buyer was Steven Kil, a supplier from South Korea.Resianri is in charge of collecting the samples and enlisting the assessors from the US, Australia, South Korea, Singapore, Taiwan and Indonesia.
'The samples come from small groups of farmers and suppliers. What's particularly interesting is the large number of first-time participants.'
In a coffee-tasting held for media on Aug. 28, auctioneer Rocky Rhodes brewed four samples, which he said were not typical Indonesia flavors.
'Indonesian coffee is generally categorized as heavy-bodied, low in acid and with an earthy flavor. But these four cups are just something else.'
The variants included Acehnese coffee, which Rhodes said had a citrus note, the fruity Yellow Catura from Flores and Solok, which is making its debut at the auction.Another newcomer is Benteng Alla coffee from Enrekang, South Sulawesi, which, despite already being exported to Australia, tends to be overshadowed by its neighbor, Toraja coffee.
Rhodes, who has been involved in the improvement of coffee in Indonesia since 2009, said that there was only one thing coffee farmers should do to upgrade their produce and their livelihood.
'I have traveled to meet the farmers and told them to selectively pick the ripe berries instead of the current practice of strip-picking.
'The buyer will pay them more and the product will have a more complex flavor profile to make it more attractive to the world market.'
- Photos by JP/Jerry Adiguna
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