Kintamani coffee remains strong on global markets

Balinese Kintamani Arabica coffee has maintained a high selling price on international markets amid high supplies of coffees from other countries, such as Brazil and Vietnam, an expert has said.Surip Mawardi, an expert from the Indonesian Coffee and Cocoa Research Institute (ICCRI), said that Kintamani coffee maintained a higher quality, above products from other countries, thus fetching a higher price of between 10 to 100 percent on the global market.

The price of the Arabica-type coffee, which had been certified by the Law and Human Rights Ministry as uniquely from Kintamani, had always been a higher price than other coffees, he said. Products from the Bulian Murni traditional farming community (subak) even recorded twice the normal price. Arabica coffee is believed to have been the first species of coffee to be cultivated, being grown in southwest Ethiopia for well over 1,000 years.

It is said to produce better tasting coffee than the other major commercially grown coffee species, Robusta, because Robusta cherries contained twice as much caffeine as Arabica. Caffeine itself has a bitter taste, making Robusta more bitter. “The prices of Indonesian coffees are quite satisfying, including Kintamani coffee,” Surip said. “The price can be higher by 10 to 20 percent from other Arabica coffees on the international markets.”

Arabica coffee in New York is sold at US$1.20 per ounce, or around $2.70 per kilogram. The price quoted is lower than the normal $3 to $3.50 per kg, due to mounting supplies from Brazil and Vietnam, and the shift to Robusta coffee — which is cheaper — as the purchasing power of Americans decreases. Prices in New York are a reference for other markets all over the world. Arabica coffee was priced as low as $2.20 per kg until the 2000s.

At that time, even with its unique taste, Kintamani coffee was sold for 60 percent less due to its poor quality. Therefore, since 2001, the institute spent six years assisting farmers to boost the quality of the Kintamani coffee, changing the farmers’ mindset. For example, almost 95 percent of farmers now harvest coffee beans only after they are red; they used to pick the beans when they were still green. Surip said farmers were not affected by the current price, explaining that stocks were lowering.

“Even though the price is decreasing, we are benefited by the weakening of the rupiah,” he said. Asked about Indonesian coffee overall, Surip said the quality was outstanding. “We lose in productivity. But we focus on quality, because if we can sustain quality, the price will keep increasing.” “In the end, the welfare of the farmers will improve, and this can boost productivity,” Surip said. In addition to quality, Surip said his side was working on a strategic partnership with farmers by introducing them to export and import activities, so that they could understand the potential on international markets and their standards.

Kintamani coffee, which has a naturally acidic taste, has been on the international markets for years. It was the first product in the country to get the Society for Protection of Geographical Indications (MPIG) certificate in 2008 from the ministry. The certificate shows that a specific product is unique due to the geographical condition of the production area. MPIG Kintamani chairman, I Ketut Jati, has said that Kintamani coffee plantations lay across three regencies: Bangli, Buleleng and Badung. The area totals around 12,000 hectares, but only 4,000 hectares is productive.

The remainder is planted with young plants, not yet ready for production. More than 3,500 farmers are involved in the production, consisting of 65 subak. Each hectare of land, with 1,600 trees, produces around five tons of coffee annually. Planted in areas of high elevation, around 900 to 1,600 meters above sea level, Arabica coffee has a unique, acidic taste available at several levels, with differences due to fermentation time. For the standard taste, the fermentation process takes 12 hours. Customers from European countries, the US and Korea prefer this type. Meanwhile, Japanese coffee lovers prefer a more acidic taste, which takes up to 36 hours of fermentation.

source : bali daily

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