The Sumatran-based Ketiara co-operative is women lead. Twenty years ago, the chairwoman started to purchase cherries and process these into green coffee. All coffee that the co-operative produces is 100% organic and grows under natural shade, resulting in the highest quality produce. She started by selling to local traders, but in late 2008, she organized farmers to form a co-operative which was established in 2009 with 38 members. Now, Ketiara has become one of the most recognized coffee suppliers in Medan, the capital of North Sumatra. Surrounded by the Gunung Leuser National Park, the co-op consists of 897 members and covers an area of 836 hectares in total. Besides growing coffee, the farmers grow staple crops and fruits.
INDONESIAN COFFEE HISTORY
Coffee was introduced by the Dutch East Indies trading Company at the beginning of the 17th century. Colonialists planted the Typica and bourbon varieties in northern Sumatra (Aceh) to meet Europe’s ever-growing demand for coffee. Nowadays, Indonesia is the world’s third largest coffee producer.
Coffee in Indonesia is produced by small farms (2 hectares or less). The farms, more often than not, form family groups of around 60 to 130 farmers. These groups often formally work together as co-operatives. They then move the green coffee produced to local exporters.
Locally known as Giling Basah, wet hulling was introduced in the 1980s. They hoped to mimic the washed coffees from central America but to their surprise they created a unique flavour like the one behind our Ketiara. Wet Hulling gives coffee a lot more body and intensity.