The first ever Indonesian Coffee Heritage event took place on Monday (4/6) at the Indonesian Consulate General featuring ten top-rated coffees from the tropical archipelago. Attending the event were 150 guests ranging from coffee lovers, business owners, government officials, as well as entertainers and celebrities. The event, consists of Coffee Cupping session and documentary film acquainting Indonesian coffee, was geared towards branding awareness and trade development of Indonesian coffee.
“Our main objective is to let people know that Indonesia produces some of the best quality coffees available to the market today,” said Umar Hadi, Indonesian Consul General who was hosting the event. “In Indonesia coffee is more than just a commodity. It is a heritage that is affected by tradition and culture. At the end of the day, this event not only introduces and reminds local community about the secret of Indonesian coffees but also promoting Indonesia itself as a whole.”
“Many of us drink coffee everyday but don’t really know where it comes from,” added Arief Wibisono, Head of Indonesian Trade Promotion Center. “For example, maybe most of us who are regular to Starbucks and the Coffee Bean are not aware that some of the coffees we enjoy actually coming from Indonesia.”
“I don’t drink coffee, but I love Indonesia,” said Councilman Tom LaBonge who was among the attendees. “I am very proud of Indonesia, the fourth largest country in the world. It’s always important as Mayor Garcetti would say; we always turn around and celebrate diversity.”
The first segment of the event, coffee cupping, was led by Mira Yudhawati, World Barista Championship Censory Judge of 2013-2014. She is one of few Indonesians who hold a Q Grader certificate, a prestigious credential for qualified and professionally trained coffee cupper.
Mira was assisted by another Q Grader barista, Intan Kumalasari, the winner of Best Espresso Category during the 2014 Indonesian Barista Championship 2014.
Mira and Intan guided the guests through the coffee cupping session. Among the coffees featured are Malabar Coffee, the winner of last year Indonesian coffee auction sold with highest bid of US$ 30 per kilogram; the famous Aceh Gayo; and the widely popular Toraja coffee.
Ben Angelo of Stumptown Coffee Roasters, local-owned coffee shop and roaster with several locations at Portland, Seattle, New York, and Los Angeles, mentioned that he loved the event and he loved Indonesian coffees. More importantly, “I will definitely visit your booth at the SCAA,” he concluded. SCAA stands for Specialty Coffee Association of America, which will have its 27th Annual Expo by the end of this week in Seattle, Washington. Indonesia pavilion, themed “Remarkable Indonesian Coffee”, is located at Booth #5041 and #6038.
Some praised the quality of Indonesian coffee. Steven, whose company Royal Pacific regularly imports Indonesian coffees, stated that Indonesian coffee is improving in terms of quality and packaging. Several local hotel, restaurant, and café owners also found Indonesian coffee, particularly the Aceh Gayo, were appealing and expressed their interest in adding the coffee into their regular menu.
“I love the rich coffee history of Indonesia” said Bai Ling, a Hollywood celebrity who has worked with many prestigious directors in movies such as Nixon, Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of Sith and Taxi 3.
“Heritage indeed plays a huge role in producing coffee. If you treat the coffee properly, since seeding, growing, harvesting, and finally brewing, it will taste best. And Indonesian coffee heritage is just about that: how to make the best coffee,” said Mira.
Budi Kurniawan, a young Indonesian director whose movie was featured in the second segment of the event, could not agree more. His movie, “Aroma of Heaven”, has just won the Best Editing Award at the 1st Ahvaz International Science Film Festival in Iran last February. This was the first time the movie was screened in the United States.
“I have travelled a lot around my beloved country in the process of making this movie. I was fascinated by how our tradition and culture have been affecting our coffee,” Budi explained. “There will be a lot of story about it. The “Aroma of Heaven” is going to be the first of seven movie projects focusing on Indonesian coffee,” he continued.
Most viewers praised the movie for its wonderful music and sound quality. The fascinating story about coffee heritage in Indonesia was also perfectly captured. Viewers were brought to the beautiful landscape of Indonesian countryside to meet the culture and the people that influential in producing top quality coffee.
“It’s magnificent. I’ve never been to Indonesia, but he successfully makes me feel that I’m actually there to witness the diverse culture and its legacy in coffee industry,” a viewer commented. “This movie is entertaining yet educating. I think his next project is going to be big,” her colleague added.
Aroma of coffees and soft acoustical music formed the atmosphere of relaxation. Even better, guests also enjoyed the clear and starry night as they stepped outside to the roof for more lounging space. It was indeed the best way to learn about the world’s best-kept secrets: the wonder of Indonesian coffee.