The Jakarta Post
Picturesque views from Lencoh village in Boyolali, Central Java. (JP/Stefanus Ajie)
Nestled on the slopes of Mount Merapi in Boyolali, Central Java, Lencoh village offers refreshingly cool weather.
The village is particularly popular among hikers seeking to conquer Merapi's peak via the New Selo trail. Some villagers offer their homes as hiking posts, providing food, accommodation and porter and guide services.
Homestay Ksatria owned by Iswondo is one of the most popular hiking posts in Lencoh village as it not only provides accommodation, but also delicious coffee.
Full grown Lencoh coffee cherries.(JP/Stefanus Ajie)
Kopi Liar (literally meaning 'wild coffee') Lencoh has become a new attraction for the small village. It is named so since coffee plants in Lencoh grow wild, spread across the village and not cultivated in any particular plantation. The plants are said to produce high quality Arabica coffee nevertheless, with a nice aroma and fruity flavor with medium level texture and acidity.
The coffee itself reportedly began growing from beans given by the government in the early 2000s. At the time, the villagers preferred to plant tobacco as it was considered to have higher economic value. Thus the coffee was mostly planted in the villager's front yards. Fortunately, Lencoh's geographically-friendly position, 1500 meters above sea level, and volcanic soil made it the optimal place for coffee cultivation.
Lencoh coffee later began increasing in popularity after coffee community enthusiasts from Yogyakarta and Surakarta visited the village to conduct workshops on how to process the coffee beans. The workshops included the very important advice to only harvest full grown dark red coffee cherries, not the unripe green or yellow-colored fruit, a practice that increased the coffee's price from only Rp 20,000 (US$1.5) to Rp 100,000 per kilogram.
Iswondo's Lencoh coffee is popular among hikers of Mount Merapi. (JP/Stefanus Ajie)
Iswondo, who has been marketing Lencoh coffee for more than four years, has started to face difficulties answering the market's high demand, which mostly comes from coffee shops in Yogyakarta, Surakarta and Magelang. But he always tries to save some for his guests, the Merapi hikers, who stay at his house.
"Enjoying a cup of Lencoh coffee in the cold weather of Merapi slopes has become a favorite activity for the hikers who stay here, especially foreign visitors. Some of them even purchase the coffee as a souvenir," he said. (kes)
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