Unlike most other places in Indonesia, like Java and Sumatra, coffee growing in Bali wasn’t established by the Dutch. Instead we can thank traders from Lombok for the coffee growing in Bali today, as it was them who brought the first coffee plants to Bali in the beginning of the 20th century.
The rich volcanic soil and the climate in the Kintamani region quickly proved ideal for coffee growing and small scale production rapidly spread. The variant the Lombok traders brought to Bali was the Robusta coffee, a coffee that is highly resistant to diseases and contains a high level of caffeine.
The Kintamani region in the north eastern part of Bali is still Bali’s primary coffee growing region and Robusta that is still widely grown accounts for the major part of the production in Bali, all though Arabica is becoming more and more common. Arabica has a stronger body and less acid than Robusta and gives higher prices on the worlds coffee markets, which is the reason why many farmers start growing Arabica.
In 2008 Kuntamini Arabica received an official Geographical Indication (GI) certification. A certification that guarantees that the coffee lives up to certain quality standards, similar to certifications known from locally produced wines and cheeses.
Most of Bali’s coffee is grown by small local farmers organized in Subak Abians. Subaks originate from rice production and is an organization where farmers within the same trade join forces and cooperate about the technical, social and religious aspects related to farming. The Subaks operate after the Balinese Tri Hita Karana philosophy that focuses on keeping harmony and balance between humans and God, human to human and between humans and the environment. A concept that fits well with popular terms like fairtrade and organic production, but was common pratice in Bali a long time before those terms were invented.
One of the characteristics of Bali coffee compared to other Indonesian coffees is the processing method. Wet processing is the traditional way of coffee processing in Bali while dry processing is the most common method on
the other Indonesian islands. In wet-processing the fruit covering the coffee bean (it is actaully the seed) is
removed before the beans are dried, in contradiction to dry-processing where the entire coffee cherry is being