Indonesia aims to perk up quality of coffee being grown

A worker harvests Arabica coffee cherries in a plantation in West Java. Arabica coffee is popular with coffee drinkers worldwide but Indonesian coffee plantations are not growing enough. Some 90 per cent of the coffee produced in Indonesia is the Rob
A worker harvests Arabica coffee cherries in a plantation in West Java. Arabica coffee is popular with coffee drinkers worldwide but Indonesian coffee plantations are not growing enough. Some 90 per cent of the coffee produced in Indonesia is the Robusta variety, which is easier to grow but has a neutral to harsh taste compared with the sweeter Arabica.PHOTO: REUTERS

The world's fourth biggest coffee producer wants farms to grow the more popular Arabica beans

Indonesian government adviser Lin Che Wei was having drinks at a Singapore outlet of The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf chain earlier this year when he noticed a signboard that said: "Only 1 per cent of the world's best coffee beans fit our standard - mostly Arabica."

To him, the sign sums up the challenge Indonesia's coffee farmers are facing: They need to move away from the widely planted Robusta coffee beans to the more popular Arabica to take advantage of the surge in coffee drinking worldwide.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 28, 2018, with the headline 'Indonesia aims to perk up quality of coffee being grown'. Print Edition | Subscribe