JAKARTA, Indonesia – Australian ambassador to Indonesia Paul Grigson has given Indonesian coffee the tick of approval.
A self-declared coffee addict, Grigson has been sampling coffee from across the country since his appointment last year.
“Indonesia’s coffee I think is incredibly good and much better than I think people understand,” he told Rappler.
Indonesia is the 4th largest producer of coffee in the world, behind only Brazil, Vietnam and Colombia, according to International Coffee Organization figures.
Indonesia in 2014 produced an estimated more than 560,000 tons of coffee. The country is also the 4th largest exporter of beans, exporting more than 358,000 tons in 2014. Coffee is now Indonesia’s 4th largest foreign exchange earner after palm oil, rubber and cocoa.
The ambassador said this was beginning to show in the growing coffee culture in Indonesia, which far surpassed his expectations.
“In terms of coffee shops there’s a lot around that I think are very good, the quality I have to say is better than I expected, particularly consistency.”
This quality, has lead to a great coffee culture across Indonesia, according to Grigson.
“Even in the big chains you go and one barista will be much better than another. So that’s a good sign, because you see people improving their skill bases,” he said.
However, it’s not just the coffee experience in Jakarta that Grigson has seen, he has sampled a number of different coffee beans from across the country.
“I have been saying that the coffee I tried in North Sumatera was the one I liked most. The [coffee from Aceh] I like very much, but the North Sumateran was probably my favorite.”
More than just a good cup of coffee, Grigson believes that coffee is a point of commonality between Indonesians and Australians.
“I think [coffee is] something that Indonesians and Australians understand, so that’s a good start. Something they have in common,” he said.
Given the large coffee culture that exists in Australia, Grigson said he felt it was important to show Australians what Indonesia has to offer.
“I’m trying to encourage more Australians to come to indonesia…[it’s] important [to show] food and culture for Australian visitors outside of Bali,” he said.
In his time in Indonesia the Ambassador hasn’t just found a favourite bean, but also a favourite coffee shop, one he often recommends to visiting ministers.
“The best coffee place I think that is undiscovered is the Atma Jaya student coffee shop. Because they have two or three barista that are third, fourth year hospitality students that are just excellent,” he said.
“So when I have ministers visit I actually send them to the Atma Jaya coffee shop. They roast their own beans, do their own blend so very good,” he said. – Rappler.com
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