Arabica coffee is also known as mountain coffee and is by far the most cultivated coffee with a market share of around 70%.
Most Arabica growing areas are between 1,200 and 1,500 metres above sea level. Occasionally, plants are cultivated up to an altitude of 2,800 metres above sea level.
Arabica has slightly more acidity and is less bitter than Robusta coffee and therefore tastes nobler and finer.
As I have travelled Indonesia several times since 1988 and lived on Bali between 1996 and 2006, it is obvious that I am mainly interested in Indonesian coffee.
Arabica plants have been cultivated in Indonesia since the 17th century. The varieties cultivated on the volcanic soil of Java and Sumatra are characterized by their extremely rich body and low acidity. This is why they are very popular with big roasters for blends with South American varieties.
Today, around 90% of the coffee produced in Indonesia is cultivated by small farmers. More than 20 different varieties of Coffea arabica are commercially grown in Indonesia. These are divided into six main categories. Among them are the following:
- Typica -> is the plant first cultivated by the Dutch. The original coffee plant, so to speak. A large part of the Typica fell victim to the coffee rust that was rampant in the 1880s. Nevertheless, the varieties Bergandal and Sidikalang can still be found in the hills of Sumatra.
- Hibrido de Timor (HDT) -> This variety, also known as "Tim Tim", is a natural cross between an Arabica and a Robusta plant.
- Linie S -> This group of varieties have been developed in India and descend from a Bourbon variety. S-288 and S-795 are mainly grown in Lintong, Aceh, Flores and other areas of Indonesia.