Komang Sukarsana from Bali Arabica works with a collective of coffee farmers from Kintamani to produce and distribute coffee beans from the highlands in East Bali. He partners with Kopi Kultur to deliver the best coffee to drinkers.
What is the name of the coffee farm we are currently in?
We are currently in Desa Belantih, at the Arabica coffee farm which sits at 1200 meters above sea level in Kintamani. It is part of our collective.
How many hectares/acres/land do you farm?
We have a few large farms that are managed, here around 1.5 hectares. In Kintamani, we have two farms at Belantih & Ulian (200 hectares). The beans are processed in Ulian & half then processed in Singaraja using a natural process.
How many farmers in the collective?
In total we have around 50 farmers in Belantih & 61 farmers in Ulian.
What types of beans do you farm?
We have a range of coffee, special beans from Kintamani & also others such as Cattura, Kobra which is derived from Kartika. Kopyol is a selected specialty coffee from Kintamani. Most of our farmers plant Kopyol varieties, they have high production, a large bean & the taste is not as sour as Linis. But on the other hand, Kintamani coffee in Indonesia is know to have high acidity but it is a citrus based acid. With the Kopyol it is potentially a long-lasting bean to produce because it is plentiful & also resistant to extreme weather.
Where do your coffee beans go?
Our Arabica beans are sent to different parts of Indonesia – Jakarta, Bandung, Kalimantan, NTB & of course Bali. We also export abroad to France.
Are your coffee beans roasted on the farm, if so what is the technique?
We have three different main products that we sell. Green coffee beans to the roasters. We also roast & process the coffee beans in Belantih, Coop & Ubud that is then distributed to cafes or sellers. Then we also produce coffee power for local people here.
How long has the farm been in operation?
The farm has been operating for a long time, it started about 20 years ago. First in 1978 with funding from the Indonesian Government Program Gerakan Rehabilitasi Tanaman Ekspor. Actually the farm existed before the volancic erruptions but after them, the farms were damaged so the government provided funding to rehabilitate them.
The farmers partnered with organisations such as PUSLIT Koka (Pusat Pengembangan Kopi dan Kakao) Jember & France until 2008.
We are pioneers in Indonesia because we have a certificate of geographical indication.
What are the trends for Kintamani farming?
Kintamani coffee is considered less prestigious that other types of agriculture in the region, like oranges. But when viewed from an economic perspective & the different types of land functions it is different For example, I see in one village with 100 per cent of coffee farmers cut down the coffee plantations but then replanted them when there is a positive trend. This is predicted to increase. In other areas, there might be a decrease in in coffee farming.
In Kintamani, there is an alternative to planting in other areas such as Wanagiri & above Lemukih because the land plain is more oblique & it is not possible to plant chilli so the coffee becomes the alternative.
What do you try to do with your coffee farm to ensure production sustainability?
The world of coffee is actually surprisingly a creative world with so many challenges. I try to focus on the upstream production & having one process that can make many flavours.
Coffee trees can have a lot of fruit in one branch, when only one tree is selected, it might be that the 10 best beans do not have a good taste.
So we try to work out how to put & produce Kintamani coffee based on varieties. The solution when rejuvenated has been the creation of a single origin coffee. When this is not productive, it will be replaced with a new seed. So we aim to constantly improve & reinvent the coffee production. With such a movement the development will be good & ongoing.
What change have you seen in the coffee farmers?
We used to use the traditional processes, not separating the red & green fruit but this has changed, now we only pick red fruit. Before we produced individually, each farmer but now we produce coffee as a group & have built a collective place for processing & creating a high standard of beans & helping production.
Has production/crop been good recently?
Last year in Belantih, we produced around 78 tonnes of coffee. This has decreased 40 per cent this year because of the weather. Long rains this year cause the reduction but overall we feel the quality of the coffee is better this year because the coffee tree had less fruit, so the nutrients could be better absorbed, resulting in a larger coffee bean.
Other general changes in recent times has been a decrease in production & an increase in demand for coffee. Since 2012, the trend for coffee has been relatively stable.
What is the harvesting process you use?
Our coffee process is to first fully wash the beans, dry hull them then we use both a honey & natural process.
How does Kopi Kultur help you?
We have been cooperating & partnering with Kopi Kultur for a long time. It’s mission is to introduce local coffee to different people. There are some activities that Kopi Kultur assists with especially helping marketing the product.
We support Kopi Kultur & work together because they have been helpful for Kintamani coffee as a whole.