Dig Deep into Indonesian Coffee: Gayo Coffee Beans
In our previous blog, we have taken a glance at Indonesia’s most popular coffee beans. In this post, we will take a closer look at one of the most prominent coffee beans from Indonesia. Gayo coffee is an Arabica coffee variety which is the leading coffee commodity from the Gayo Highlands from Central Aceh region in Sumatra Island, Indonesia. Gayo Highlands is the biggest producer of Arabica coffee beans in Asia. Here we will talk about the geographic and climate background, the coffee bean characteristics and what the future holds for this vibrant Indonesian coffee bean variety.
Where The Gayo Coffee Beans Come From
The coffee plantation in this region has been cultivated since 1908 during the Dutch occupation, consisting of Bener Meriah Regency, Central Aceh and a small part of the Gayo Lues region. These three areas are located at an altitude of 1,200 meters above sea level, and combined they make up the largest coffee plantation area in Indonesia, which is over 90,000 hectares.
Coffee has become the backbone of Gayo’s economy since 1930, contributing between 50% to 90% of a typical family’s income in the area. The coffee plantations are owned by around 66,000 farmer families and small individual estates, with less than 10% are controlled by the local government. The coffee crops are grown organically throughout the mountain range without the use of fertilizers, and mostly in the shade to reduce the intensity of the sun. Gayo coffee beans are also known as “green beans” for being an environmentally friendly coffee.
The high altitude, cool wet climate, fertile volcanic soil and the cultivation method, all contribute in producing the unique characters and flavor of Gayo coffee that cannot be found anywhere else.
Gayo Coffee Beans Characteristics
Gayo coffee beans are known throughout the world for their distinctive flavor with a complex aroma and flavor as well as strong consistency. Graders often consider the taste of Gayo coffee tends to be nutty as well as buttery, strong spicy aroma with low acidity and considerable sweetness, and a clean aftertaste. Because of its strong characters, this particular coffee bean variety is popular to use as a mixture for house blend coffee in cafes to enhance aroma and body to the blend.
The other general characteristics are:
- Bean variety: Arabica
- Water content: 12% to 13%
- Green bean defect: less than 5%
- Aroma: Fruity
- Acidity: Low to Medium
- Body: High
- Flavors: dark bitter chocolate, orange, banana
What The Future Holds for Gayo Coffee Beans
The exceptional characteristics of Gayo coffee beans has made it a great favorite in the international market. It is traded under several names in the market such as Mandheling Coffee, Sumatra Mandheling, Retro Mandheling, Sumatra Gayo, Mandheling Gayo, Super Gayo, and Gayo Mountain Coffee. Some of the producers have obtained certifications for the coffee industry like Organic, Fairtrade, Utz Certified, Rainforest Alliance, C.A.F.E. Practices and Bird Friendly in order to meet the demands from developed countries for organic and sustainable products.
At the moment, the high demand for organic coffee makes Gayo coffee very popular, making it one of the most sought after coffee beans in the world. Even during the Covid-19 pandemic, Gayo coffee beans are still being exported to the USA and Europe, adjusting to the market shift of consumption pattern from cafes to households and the increased usage of the e-commerce platform. Association of coffee producers also play a big part in developing the quality of the coffee as well as the welfare of their members. Any increase in the price of coffee in the world market will have a significant effect on the economy in Central Aceh and surrounding areas, as the local population almost entirely depends on the coffee industry.