Coffee cultivation has been part of Indonesian culture ever since the the Dutch introduced the first trees in the late 17th Century. Since then, coffee has expanded across the islands from West Sumatra all the way to Papua. The complexity of coffee in Indonesia is characteristic of the complexity of Indonesia itself. Numerous spoken languages, numerous indigenous tribes, varying soil and topography, and a dizzying collage of culture.
Who We Support
We work with Indian tribal communities within Sumatra, Java, Bali, Flores, and Papua.
Indonesia is well known for its coffee, but livelihood is still a major issue. Many families we work with earn less than 200USD per year for an average family of 4+. Life is difficult even as coffee has been said to be the “gateway out of poverty”. The hearts of Indonesian people are some of the warmest and most loving in all of the world. It is with this love, their firm and loyal understanding of preserving wildlife and the forest, and their ability to create positive impact with so little that has captured the spirit of what it means to be involved with fi-lan’thro-pe, and you the donor.
What We Are Doing To Help
2011 – Current
- Initiated fi-lan’thro-pe Indonesia with partners in Sumatra. Fi-lan’thro-pe Indonesia is responsible for providing an informal cooperative structure, agronomy/agroforestry support, free organic coffee/cacao/mix crop/medicinal plant seedlings, farmer training, coffee sales coordination, and Sumatran tiger/orangutan advocacy.
- To date, this group has impacted more than 500 regional coffee farming families.
2013 – Current
- Provided technical and monetary resources to establish a 50,000 seedling nursery in Tapanuli Selatan, North Sumatra, Indonesia.
- Established a small-scale farmer training facility and agroforestry seedling library (free seedlings of indigenous shade trees, ground cover for use in agroforestry) for local Batak tribal communities.
- Provided scholarships for Batak tribespeople to attend and participate in agroforestry/permaculture international conferences.
- Providing clean cookstoves for the Batak people in North Sumatra.
- Developing waste-transformation facilities to provide zero-cost feeds/fuels/fertilizers for communities (i.e. rice husk, coffee pulp, banana tree stumps, fish, etc.)
- Replanting of native, indigenous forest trees within coffee plantations to increase climate resiliency and provide forest buffers for endangered species (Orangutans and Sumatran Tigers)
- Assisted with planning, purchasing, design, and construction of a medium-scale cooperative coffee processing facility in Plaga, Bali.
- Recovered “lost” coffee varieties known as “Arob”. This variety is suspected to be the rare “Moka” variety orginating from Yemen and Reunion Island.
- Established growing, harvesting, processing, and quality control protocols for the 9-village cooperative known as “Pelage”.
- Increased farmer economic livelihood by more than 75% through our training programs.
- Led coffee cupping and sensory training (like one would do for fine wine) to teach the men and women of the Plaga region to identify problems in coffee processing as well as to identify particularly tasty and “specialty” quality coffees being produced by their families.
Within Bali, we are supporting small, farmer-group led sustainable agriculture learning centers. Basic techniques in proper composting, biofertilizer, biopesticide, and providing high-value seedling planting material are the main focus. These small programs have led to hundreds of farming families being able to access and implement more sustainable, cost-effective, and higher-value work in their lives.
Additionally, many communities suffer unsafe drinking water and have specifically asked for assistance. We help communities understand, construct, and operate community-scale water filters which use no electricity, cost less than 500USD, and last for more than 50 years.
Cookstoves are a major health issue within the communities. The current charcoal stoves in houses cause a myriad of respiratory health problems for adults and children. As most communities we work with also grow rice, there is ample fuel (rice husk) for smokeless, clean cookstoves using gasification technology.
Other critical needs which have been assessed by the communities and which we are to help include , access to schools and education, healthcare access, electrical access, transportation infrastructure, protection of indigenous rights, and protection against GMO seedstock and other biological concerns of the communities.
About Their Coffee
The communities’ coffee is grown in full sun and forest canopy landscapes. Often inter-cropped with trees such as papaya, soursop, palm sugar, areca palm, and more.
The coffee from the communities we work with are Typica, Java Typica, S795, USDA, Orang Ganjang, Bourbon, and Caturra. Most are semi-wet processed but a few from Bali and Java are wet and dry-processed. In Sumatra, the coffee can be heavy bodied to light bodied.
Different communities produce coffee which can either be full of tobacco, earth, fig notes or full of grapefruit and floral aromatics. In Java, the communities produce a sweet, nutty, delicate sweet acidity coffee. In Bali, the coffee being fully-washed, can bring out a bright acidity with ripe blackberry/bing cherry notes. In Papua, the coffees can be intensely sweet and nutty to bright and citrusy with a lingering sweet almond aftertaste. Like Indonesia itself, there is a vast expression of origin and taste which has yet to be fully explored by coffee adventurers.