Indonesian Coffee is mainly Robusta, which was planted into Indonesia in the early 1900s after the world-wide blight. This enabled Indonesia to start to produce bulk coffee again.
Arabica beans are grown at high altitude and some of the world's best coffees come from these plantations, where the volcanic soil is rich and the air cool. Indonesian Arabica coffees can be distinguished by their mellow, full-bodied, and slightly earthy taste. Even a high roast Indonesian coffee does not develop any of the harsh character one expects from high roast Brazilian or Central American coffees.
There are a number of regional coffees with their own special characters:
- Sumatra: these coffees can be amongst the world's best. These are heavy and full in the mouth, with a syrupy flavour that is stimulating. Blue Lingtong is grown at high altitude in Sumatra, on the narrow margin between lava rock and high wasteland. The coffee has a thick, rich body - almost like Colombian - but with a sweeter, smoother, less acidic taste.
- Celebes Kalossi: this remarkable coffee comes from Celebes (Sulawesi), one of the smaller islands in Indonesia. It has a smooth nectar with a hint of spicy chocolate which seems to exude beauty.
- Old Brown Java: also known as Old Simbola and Government Java, Old Brown Java has epitomised unbeatable quality in coffees for over 200 years. Old Brown Java is stored for seven to twelve years in large pits before being exported, so by the time the sandy-coloured beans have been dug up and sifted, they have lost their acidity. Old Brown Java is rich and has an oak-like spiciness, with a hint of tobacco in its flavour.