2015 Kopi Sourcing Trip - 1600m into the Mountains (1 of 3)

Camera, sunscreen, hat, hiking boots. Check.

Millions in the wallet. Rupiah.

Thus begins the Kopi Indonesia Sourcing Trip of 2015, organized with a few fellow coffee enthusiasts and brands in Taiwan. Our trip begins on a flight to Surabaya, the capital of East Java and second most populous city in Indonesia. While landing visas are available for many nationalities, getting a visa will save you a lot of time on your way out of an Indonesian airport. (Top Tip!) Also a big shout out to the new Terminal 2, it's quite nice indeed.

After a quick overnight stay, and a briefing meeting in the morning, our trip begins on a chartered bus ride south on highway one. However soon the smooth multi-lane divided highway ended near the sight of Mount Arung, and "Route 1" became a two lane road leading east.

Mount Arjuno and Arjuna

Mount Arjuno and Arjuna

As the hours rolled by, we drove past the impressive Paiton Power Plant and turned south to begin our climb from sea level to mile high. A late dinner at Bondowoso allowed us to stretch our legs, and off we went into the night. As the night got darker, the drive became increasingly treacherous as stretches of tarmac would disappear, replaced by sharp rocks and stones. Finally as the clock struck midnight we arrived at the PTPN XII Jampit guest house. Total time spent in car: 11 hours.

At night, in the distance, you could spot an eerie glow emanating from the summit.

A sign posted on the tree right outside the guest house.

A sign posted on the tree right outside the guest house.

In the morning, it became apparent that the glow was from Mount Raung, the same mountain that's been causing havoc by occasionally shutting down the airport in Bali.

Please stay quiet, just a few more days.

Please stay quiet, just a few more days.

After a refreshing breakfast, we toured the area where young coffee trees were grown (to replace trees 4-5 years old), then proceeded to observe the harvest. PTPN XII consists of 4 plantations, and Jampit is one of the larger ones. During peak harvest 3000 pickers can be seen working simultaneously.

Workers picking fresh coffee cherries.

Workers picking fresh coffee cherries.

Later we're shown the processing facilities, where the berries and washed, fermented before being sun dried. Then the beans move indoors to be manually sorted. At elevation, the indoor weather was actually quite comfortable compared to some of the work environments in other industries I've observed in Jakarta.

Manually sorting into the various grades.

Manually sorting into the various grades.

Onwards to cupping! We were hosted by the head of quality control at Jampit. All four of the plantations were showcased, and in the end a vote on the whiteboard showed a victory for Jampit! Home plantation advantage? :)

Cupping with our orange aprons on.

Cupping with our orange aprons on.

As we bid farewell to the wonderful staff, it was time to move onto the next plantation. Small bags of greens will allow us to all properly sample the beans at our own ideal roast. Will we see the Jampit Arabica in a future iteration of Kopi Trading Co Cold Brew? We'll know in a few weeks.

Tomorrow in part 2 of the series, we DRIVE to Bali! How many can make that claim?

CS