(THE JAKARTA POST/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - As one of the world's largest coffee exporters after Brazil and Vietnam, Indonesia serves as an interesting coffee destination with plantations spreading from Aceh to Papua.
Below are some of the things to know about Indonesian coffee.
Characteristics of coffee beans
Coffee beans in Indonesia basically consist of arabica, robusta and liberica, according to Indra Febriansyah, co-owner of Moodbooster Coffee.
"Each of the coffee bean types has its own characteristics - the shape, size, aroma, flavour, location and height of the plantations," Indra said.
According to Anindita Sekar Jati of Tanamera Coffee Indonesia, the quality of the coffee is determined by several factors, among them being natural and post-harvest factors.
"Every region has different geographical characteristics, from its soil to temperature to water quality," said Anindita. "In terms of flavour, each coffee has its own taste note. There are certain terms to explain a coffee's character, such as fruity, clean, nutty and smooth."
Which coffee you should drink
Sadat, a barista at Tanamera Coffee Indonesia, suggests trying Malabar Natural originating from West Java. It has a fruity and sweet aroma ,with caramel and fruity flavours.
Those who enjoy chocolatey-smelling coffee can also try Toraja. Originating from South Toraja, South Sulawesi, this type of coffee has caramel and nutty flavours with citric acidity.
Indra also recommends Aceh gayo coffee, which is commonly used in most coffee shops. "Aceh gayo coffee is often used for milk coffee. You can expect an acid flavour coming from the coffee," Indra said.
Balinese coffee is also a must-try as it has a fruity note that provides a refreshing taste.
But those who are still exploring their preferences should give those from West Java a try. "These coffees' acid flavour is not too dominant, yet not too earthy," Indra said.
Ways to enjoy your coffee
"There are many ways to consume coffee. You can use an espresso machine or a manual brewing technique," Indra said. "It depends on what you like."
If you want to try manual coffee brewing methods, you may need to prepare some tools, like V60, Chemex, Aeropress, Siphon or simply just use the kopi tubruk (literally translated as "collision coffee") method; although you may still taste a little bit of the coffee grinds.
There is also the widely known French press, which, for Sadat, already gives a satisfying result. But if you want your coffee to be even clearer, he suggests using a filter.
Compared with the manual brewing technique, an espresso machine will result in a stronger espresso shot.
Make your own coffee
For those interested in making their own coffee, Indra suggests buying a manual coffee grinder and then brewing it using one of the manual brew techniques, such as the V60 (pour over).
"It also means that you need to buy a dripper and filter. Some shops that specialise in coffee sell a starter kit for manual brewing," he added.
Best time to enjoy a cup of coffee
For Sadat, drinking coffee can be done between 7am and 8pm, depending on each person's caffeine needs.
"People ideally drink coffee in the morning to make them more energised, while in the afternoon, there are people who drink coffee to be more relaxed," said Sadat, adding that many people choose to sip espresso in the morning and gulp down manual-brewed or filtered black coffee in the afternoon.
Meanwhile, Indra said the best time to fulfil your caffeine dose is between 10am and noon, as you may not want to drink coffee directly after waking up so as to avoid getting addicted to starting every day with the beverage.
It is also recommended to have a cup of espresso that is low in calories.
"But if you prefer to have milk in your coffee, then it is advisable to drink cappuccino because it has lower ratio of milk compared with a latte," Indra said, adding that people who want to keep their body in shape may consider using low-fat milk.