Java coffee

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Java coffee is a coffee produced on the island of Java. In the United States the term "Java" by itself is, in general, slang for coffee. The Indonesian phrase Kopi Jawa refers not only to the origin of the coffee, but is used to distinguish the strong, black, very sweet coffee, with powdered grains in the drink, from other forms of the drink.

The Dutch began cultivation of coffee trees on Java (part of the Dutch East Indies) in the 17th century and it has been exported globally since. The coffee agricultural systems found on Java have changed considerably over time. A rust plague in the late 1880s killed off much of the plantation stocks in Sukabumi, before spreading to Central Java and parts of East Java. The Dutch responded by replacing the Arabica firstly with Liberica (a tough, but somewhat unpalatable coffee) and later with Robusta. Today Java's old colonial era plantations provide just a fraction of the coffee grown on the island, although it is primarily the higher valued Arabica variety.[1]

Java’s Arabica coffee production is centered on the Ijen Plateau, at the eastern end of Java, at an altitude of more than 1,400 meters. The coffee is primarily grown on large estates that were built by the Dutch in the 18th century. The five largest estates are Blawan (also spelled Belawan or Blauan), Jampit (or Djampit), Pancoer (or Pancur), Kayumas and Tugosari, and they cover more than 4,000 hectares [2]

These estates transport ripe cherries quickly to their mills after harvest. The pulp is then fermented and washed off, using the wet process. This results in coffee with good, heavy body and a sweet overall impression. They are sometimes rustic in their flavor profiles, but display a lasting finish. At their best, they are smooth and supple and sometimes have a subtle herbaceous note in the aftertaste.

This coffee is prized as one component in the traditional "Mocha Java" blend, which pairs coffee from Yemen and Java. Some estates age a portion of their coffee for up to three years. During this time, the coffee is "monsooned", by exposing it to warm, moist air during the rainy season. As they age, the beans turn from green to light brown, and the flavor gains strength while losing acidity. These aged coffees are called Old Government, Old Brown or Old Java.

Java is also a source of kopi luwak, renowned as the most expensive coffee in the world. On Java, this variety is produced by feeding captive palm civets with ripe coffee cherries. The digestive tract of the civet removes the mucilage from the coffee beans.


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