Indonesia, the world’s 4th largest coffee producer, is now adopting an ambitious plan to export its own range of finest coffee varieties to high-income countries of Qatar and Australia.
With an annual production of around 660,000 metric tonnes, the Indonesian archipelago is home to some of the globally renowned coffees including the famous Kopi Luwak or civet coffee, one of the most expensive in the world.
Indonesia has more than 13,000 islands and numerous mountainous regions making it an ideal location for coffee plantations producing over 30 varieties of coffee. A recent Indonesian delegation has presented over 5 coffee varieties during the Indonesia Coffee Culture 2018 event organised by Indonesian Embassy in Qatar. The 5 famous varieties include Aceh Gayo (from West Sumatra); Mount Kerinci (Sumatra), Java Preanger (West Java), Bali Kintamani (Bali) and Toraja (South Sulawesi). Every region in Indonesia cultivates a different coffee variety with its own distinctive taste.
At present, the US, Japan and some European countries are the major markets for Indonesian coffee. Indonesian coffee is also exported to the GCC mostly to Dubai and Saudi Arabia, but not much yet to Qatar. Indonesian coffee businesses can now utilise IQBC (Indonesia Qatar Business Council), which was only recently established in 2017, to assist them to explore business opportunities in Qatar. On the sideline is a plan to organise an Indonesia-Qatar trade expo in November to promote Indonesian products to Qatar.
Indonesian coffee producers are also eyeing the lucrative Australian market with their recent participation in Melbourne International Coffee Expo (MICE) in March. Two Indonesian companies, Opal Coffee and Q Coffee claimed to have secured US$500,000 in total transaction during the 4-day exhibition. The 2 companies used to buy coffee from local farmers across Indonesia. Opal Coffee had also exported instant drip coffee to Australia, which were distributed in Sydney and Melbourne. Australia is a lucrative market for Indonesian coffee with total coffee exports reached US$23.6 million in 2017, which represented a huge 36.2% increase from 2016.
In a separate development, the Indonesia Department of Agriculture, Food and Fishery has also unveiled that the coffee production in the plantation slopes of Mount Merapi, Sleman District, Yogyakarta, is of high quality compared to other coffee. “The grade (quality) of coffee from the Merapi slopes has reached 8.5, whereas, in general, the grade of coffee is from 7 to 7.5,” said Head of Horticulture and Plantation Office of Agriculture, Food and Fisheries Sleman, Edi Sri Harmanto.
According to Harmanto, Merapi coffee has advantages over other coffee, in terms of more refined taste and aroma as it is grown near the volcanic area of Mount Merapi. The last time it erupted was in 2010, as such the plantation area now is only 350 hectares with current production of 500kg per month, sufficient only to meet domestic demands. Hermanto added, “Currently, only 25% of Merapi coffee is distributed in hotels and cafes in Yogyakarta. Hopefully, if the coffee plantation area has been recovered, then we can initiate the expansion of this commodity to both domestic and international (export) markets.”