"sharing the black coffee"


History of Indonesian Coffee

Smell of black coffee (illustration)

Smell of black coffee (illustration)

Coffee became famous in Indonesia since 1696, when the Mayor of Amsterdam, Nicholas Witsen ordered the commander of the Dutch troops on the Malabar Coast, Adrian Van Ommen, to bring the beans to Batavia (former name for Jakarta). Arabica coffee was first cultivated and developed in a place in the east Jatinegara, which initially using Kedaung private land (which is now known as Pondok Kopi). A few years later, arabica coffee spread to various areas in West Java, such as Bogor, Sukabumi, Banten and Priangan, until then spread to other areas, such as Sumatra, Sulawasi, Bali and Timor.

Shortly afterwards, coffee became a very reliable trading commodity by the VOC. Exports of coffee first performed in 1711 by the VOC, and within 10 years of the export increased to 60 tons / year. Therefore, the Dutch East Indies became the first plantation place outside Arabia and Ethiopia that makes VOCs have monopolized the coffee trade from 1725 to 1780.

To support the production of coffee, VOC already made a one-sided agreement with the local authorities, where the natives obliged to grow coffee that must be submitted to the VOC. This agreement called Koffiestelsel (coffee system). Therefore, this system also, high-quality coffee beans from the land of Java, can overwhelm the European mainland. Java coffee at the time was so famous in Europe. Thus, the Europeans call it not a cup of coffee, but a cup of java. Until the mid-19th century, Java coffee was the best in the world.

Coffee trading system had continued, although ultimately the VOC was dissolved, and the Dutch East Indies ruled by the Dutch government. When Hermann Willem Daendels (1762-1818) became governor, he built a road from west to east Java, namely Anyer-Panarukan. The goal, to facilitate transportation Dutch soldiers and correspondence in Java. The other reason, of course, to speed up the beans from the eastern end of Java to reach the port of Batavia, and then shipped to the Netherlands for sale to Europe.

Suffering caused koffiestelsel then continues with cultuurstelsel (forced cultivation system). Through the forced cultivation system that was created by Johannes van den Bosch (1780-1844), the people obliged to grow the government’s export commodities, including coffee from one fifth area of land under cultivation. Or, worked for 66 days in the government-owned plantations. As a result, there was a famine in the land of Java and Sumatra in the 1840s. However, due to the culture system, Java became the largest supplier of coffee beans in Europe. Between years 1830-1834, arabica coffee production reached 26,600 tons in Java. 30 years, then the coffee production had increased to 79 600 tonnes.

Java coffee production reached its peak in the 19th century that in the year 1880 to 1884 reached 94 400 tons. At that time, coffee played a much more important role than cane sugar. If the value of coffee exports on average between the years 1865-1970 reached 25.965 million guilders, then in the same period the average value of exports of sugar cane just reached 8.416 million gulden.

Java coffee downfall began when the disease struck coffee in 1878. Each plantation throughout the country affected by pests and diseases caused by Hemileia coffee Vasatrix. This disease killed all arabica plant, which grown in the lowlands. Arabica coffee is left, just growing in the land as high as 1,000 meters above sea level.

Fading the triumph of the Java coffee, then filled by the Brazilian Arabica coffee and Colombia who continued to rule until now. Nevertheless, arabica coffee crop residue was found in a bag of coffee producer in Indonesia, among others Ijen plateau (East Java), high soil Toraja (Sulawesi), and the upper slopes of Bukit Barisan Mountains (Sumatra), as Mandailaing, Lintong and Sidikalang (Sumatra), and the Central Highlands (Aceh).

To address these vicious pests, then the Dutch government planted coffee Liberika more resistant to pests. Unfortunately, this variety was not so long popular and also pests. Then Robusta coffee was introduced in Indonesia in the early 1900s to replace Liberika and arabica coffee, which was destroyed because of pests. Robusta coffee is more resistant to pests, considered as an appropriate alternative, especially for coffee plantations in the lowlands. Currently, coffee production in Indonesia is ranked fourth largest in the world.