Most are familiar with the term java as a reference to coffee in general, but the term actually derives from coffee grown on the Indonesian island of Java. In the early 17th century the Dutch brought coffee to the island of Java and coffee has been exported from there ever since. A rust plague hit the island in the lat 1880’s and killed off much of the crops as it spread throughout the island. To combat this problem ,the Dutch replaced the Arabica trees with Liberica, which is a much tougher cultivar. Later, they replaced the Liberica with Robusta. Today, most of the plantations are primarily back to using Arabica varietals, though.
Today, Java Arabica coffee plantations are located on the eastern end of Java on the ljen Plateau. This area allows for the coffee to be grown at altitudes higher than 1,400 meters. The five largest estates cultivating coffee are: Blawan , Jampit (or Djampit), Pancoer (or Pancur), Kayumas and Tugosari. These estates cover an area larger than 4,000 hectares. Once the cherries have ripened, they are picked and transported to coffee mills where the pulp is fermented and washed off using the wet processing method. Some estates even age their coffee for up to three years and put it through a “monsooning” process where they expose the beans to warm and moist air during the rainy season. The beans turn from green to light brown during this process, and are known to gain strength and lose acidity during this time. These aged coffees are referred to as Old Government, Old Brown or Old Java.
Java coffee is known to have a good and heavy body with a hint of sweetness and an often rustic overall taste. Some are found to also be a little more on the smooth and supple side with an herbal profile.