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2321 Davis St., Unit C
North Chicago, IL


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What's up with the Indonesians?

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What's up with the Indonesians?

Carrie Masek

Mid-fall through winter is Indonesian season for coffee. Usually by December, we have the new crop for all our favorite Indonesians, if not in our warehouse, then purchased and on their way. If you go to our website, you'll see that this year is different. We have run out of one of our favorite Indonesian coffees and are still waiting for the new crop on others. What's happening? We called our importers to find out what's up with the Indonesians. Their answer? Blame the weather.

It's no secret that weather around the world has been getting wonky, too hot and dry in some places, too wet in others, and that doesn't even count the wild fires and hurricanes! These weather shifts and extreme weather events are difficult on everyone, but especially hard on farmers, and can be devastating to coffee growers. This season, the weather in eastern Indonesian and surrounding areas was particularly bad at a particularly sensitive time. Excessive rain decimated the coffee crop coming from some of our favorite estates and co-ops and delayed the availability of others.

Here's a quick run down on our favorite Indonesian coffees, if we can get them and when.

Organic Bali Kintamani: The crop was small, but the quality is excellent. We bought enough to last until next season. New crop Organic Bali Kintamani is in stock and available now.

Organic Dragon: According to the importers, bad weather in late summer ruined most of the coffee coming out of Flores, the island of Komodo Dragons. The little that is available doesn't meet our standards, so we're waiting until next year's crop. We are currently out of Organic Dragon.

Organic Java Dadar: The crop was small, but the quality is great. We bought enough to last until next season. New crop Organic Java Dadar is in stock and available now.

Papua New Guinea Kimel: Our favorite single estate coffee from PNG is unavailable this year. When we asked why, we were told, “weather conditions.” We only have a roast or two left of current crop New Guinea Kimel. We won't be able to get more until next season.

Papua New Guinea Waghi Valley: Luckily, we found a co-op from the same valley that had better luck with the weather and has high quality, new crop coffee available now. PNG Waghi Valley has more fruit notes than Kimel and a darker floral aroma. It's a lovely coffee and we're happy to add it to our offerings. PNG Waghi Valley is in stock and available now.

Sulawesi Pango Pango: The coffee crop coming from Sulawesi this year is late and small, but high quality Sulawesi is available. We have current crop Sulawesi Pango Pango in stock and are in the process of buying new crop Sulawesi. We should receive it early 2018.

Sumatra Harimau Tiger: The crop and quality are good and we should be able to keep Harimau Tiger in stock all year.

Organic Sumatra Reje Gayo: The organic Sumatrans are harder to source this season, but good, new crop organic Sumatran is available. We currently have current crop Organic Reje Gayo in stock and will be bringing in new crop organic Sumatran early next year.

Natural Sumatra Wahana: The heavy rains made it even harder than usual to naturally process coffee in Sumatra. We're still looking, but as of now we haven't been able to find any new crop, naturally processed Sumatran. Natural Sumatra Wahana is out of stock, and we may have to wait until next season to buy more.

Organic Timor Coopertiva: The new crop is running late, but the pre-shipment samples are very good and the quantity available should be enough to keep us all year. We have current crop Organic Timor Coopertiva in stock and will receive the new crop in 2018.

If you're like us, you don't want to wait until next season to enjoy Indonesian coffee. Here's our recommendations for what to do if you can't find your favorite.

If you love Organic Dragon, consider trying Organic Bali Kintamani or Organic Java Dadar. Both are full-bodied coffees like Organic Dragon. Both are complex, sweet and bold. Like Organic Dragon, the Bali has a sweet, complex aroma, though it reminds us more of dried fruit than barley malt. The Java has very similar chocolate notes, but is bolder and not quite as sweet. Our recommendation, try both and see which one you like best.

If you love New Guinea Kimel, give PNG Waghi Valley a try. We really like this co-op coffee and hope you will, too.

If you're a Natural Sumatra Wahana fan, try the Mandheling processed Sumatra Harimau Tiger. Harimau Tiger has fewer dried fruit notes, but both coffees are very heavy-bodied, complex and bold.

Hopefully the weather next year will be kinder to Indonesia. In the meantime, here's hoping you enjoy a wonderful holiday season with family, good friends and great coffee.

~ Carrie, Paul and everyone at Coffee by the Roast