Asia is a treasure trove of diverse cultures, traditions, architecture, food, and more. In recent decades, the coffee scene in Asia has blossomed, with many countries moving into the “third wave” of coffee.
In this article, find out which Asian countries have begun to show a change in their coffee taste profiles and which have remained unfazed by the influx of international coffee chains and the speciality coffee scene.
It’s common knowledge that most of the coffee beans produced commercially come from two varieties: Arabica and Robusta. But did you know that there are actually other lesser-known varieties of coffee bean? One of them is Liberica, which accounts for less than 2% of commercially-produced coffee worldwide. In this article, we’ll tell you all you need to know about the world’s rarest type of coffee.
What’s so special about Liberica?[caption id="attachment_7483" align="alignnone" width="1200"] A Liberica coffee bean (middle) flanked by Arabica beans. Liberica beans are larger and irregular in shape compared to Arabica beans. Photo from Fernando Medrano[/caption] Originating from Liberia in West Africa, the Liberica coffee plant produces larger, irregular-shaped cherries compared to Arabica plants. It’s said to have a floral and fruity aroma, but when made into coffee, has a full-bodied, woody taste.
Like every morning across Southeast Asia and most parts of the world, the day begins at a common gathering place — the local coffee joint.
On one end of the neighbourhood, a horde of early morning workers flock to the nearest kopitiam to begin their day with an extra jolt of energy. They would shout their order to the hawkers — a choice of kopi (black coffee with condensed milk), kopi o (black coffee with sugar), kopi c (coffee with evaporated milk and sugar), or kopi o kaw (extra strong).
Take a turn to the next block and you’ll chance upon a row of artsy cafés, drawing in the ever-curious coffee aficionados every day. Baristas clad in crisp uniforms take the place of hawkers in a Pagoda singlet, sock-like sieves are replaced by state-of-the-art machines with glossy levers and handles, and the menu now includes a fancy selection (Piccolo Latte, anyone?).
Travel to other parts of Southeast Asia and you’ll see that starting the day with coffee is a tradition that still holds strong. So how does the coffee culture evolve around Southeast Asian countries? Let’s find out.
Singapore — Kopi
Posted: October 31, 2018
Think of Indonesian coffee and chances are the first thing that comes to mind is kopi luwak, aka civet coffee made from beans plucked from the faeces of Asian palm civets. Find out why kopi luwak is said to be the coffee bean for crazy rich Asians. But there are bigger, more popular varieties that originate from Indonesia, particularly from a region named Kintamani in everyone’s favourite island getaway: Bali.
Kintamani Coffee: OriginsKintamani Coffee comes from an area that's located in the northern highlands of Bali. This is a place that has all the factors needed for that perfect coffee production process, including a highly favourable climate and rich volcanic soil. The lands between two main volcanoes, Batukaru and Agung, is where most of the Kintamani coffee cultivation is carried out. The Balinese brew is a 100% Arabica, single-origin specialty coffee with an incredibly smooth body. Its signature taste really shines thanks to the handful of family farmers in Kintamani who take the time to pick the coffee cherries one by one from their coffee trees, many of which are decades-old.
The ‘Tri Hita Karana’[caption id="attachment_7800" align="alignnone" width="1500"] Go organic and try Kintamani Coffee today. Photo from Peter Secan[/caption] There’s something really intriguing about coffee grown by these family farmers in the Kintamani region, and it’s all got to do with the ‘Subak Abian’ farming system. The Subak Abian refers to a way of farming (or a ritual or system, if you will), an
From Bali Kintamani to Mandheling, there’s much to explore and savour in the world of Indonesian coffee. The culture behind Indonesia’s coffees is much like the colours on an artist’s palette: each region has single-origin coffees that exhibit vibrant and distinctive tasting notes.
Coffee in IndonesiaIndonesia has a storied love affair with coffee, which dates back to the early Dutch colonial period in the late 1600s and early 1700s. The Dutch imported coffee seedlings and established plantations throughout the major islands. Although Indonesia is today one of the world’s largest coffee producers, the archipelago nation gets little recognition for its high-quality Arabica coffees. Its location along the Ring of Fire gives Indonesia the ideal micro-climate conditions to cultivate complex, specialty Arabica coffees on its fertile mountain and volcanic slopes. If you love coffee, continue reading to get acquainted with some of Indonesia’s most popular varieties.
Kintamani, Bali[caption id="attachment_6652" align="alignnone" width="2500"] The rolling hills of Mount Batur, a volcano on the island of Bali.[/caption] Bali Kintamani coffee is typically grown in the fertile volcanic soil of Mount Batur, in the island’s central Kintamani region. The volcanic activity in Kintamani also gives rise to natural spas and hot springs that are po