Java Coffee

Written by Sarah Provost
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Java coffee was once so famous that the word Java came to be a generic term for coffee in any form. The arabica tree was brought to Java by the Dutch in the early 1700s, and for a long time the only coffees available to the world were from Java and Yemen. The Yemen coffee was called Mokka, after the main port of export, and so originated the still popular blend, Mokka Java.

Unfortunately, a disease destroyed the industry, and the fields were planted with less desirable robusta trees. However, in recent years, the Indonesian government has sponsored the revival of some of the old estates. Replanted with arabica, many of these estates are still using the original Dutch processing equipment.

Four of the old estates, Djampit, Blawan, Pancur, and Kayumas, provide most of the good Java arabica. Of these, only two--Djampit and Blawan--are regularly imported into the United States. From being the most widely available coffee in the world, Java coffee has become almost a rarity.

Old Java Coffee

Java arabica beans that have been aged in warehouses for two to three years are known as Old Government, Old Brown, or Old Java coffee. This aging process, similar to the "monsooning" done in India and other parts of Indonesia, turns the green beans brown, increases the body, and decreases the acidity. Old Java coffee was developed to mimic the taste of the original beans, which were unavoidably aged in the holds of the ships that imported them.

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