As coffee culture continues to grow in Indonesia, it is no surprise that Indonesian coffee producers brought their products to Seattle, Washington for the Global Specialty Coffee Expo in April. The event was a prime opportunity for Indonesian producers to promote premium coffee to American consumers, especially considering how many iconic coffee brands began in Seattle, a city with a thriving coffee culture. Additionally, Indonesia is among the world’s top producers of coffee beans, and is home to the famous Kopi Luwak, or civet coffee, often dubbed the world’s most expensive coffee. This is not the first time Indonesian coffee made an appearance in the trade show, with Indonesia being selected as the Expo’s Portrait Country in 2016.
The products hailed from various Indonesian islands including Java, Sumatera, and Bali, and were showcased at the Indonesian Pavilion, with partners such as the Embassy of the Republic of Indonesia in Washington DC, and the Indonesian Trade Promotion Centre (ITPC) of Chicago and ITPC of Los Angeles. Trade Attaché Reza Pahlevi shared that the Indonesian Pavilion recorded a potential transaction of $25 million. Additionally, Aceh-based Redelong Organic Cooperative signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with American importer Royal Coffee Inc. at the event. This momentous occasion, which was witnessed by the Governor of Aceh, signals the building of partnerships between Indonesian and US coffee producers.
In conjunction with the Expo, the Embassy of the Republic of Indonesia in Washington, DC hosted Ngopi Sore, a coffee tasting session, on April 13 to introduce Indonesian coffee to DC locals and display how coffee is an integral part of Indonesian lifestyle and culture. The event drew visitors ranging from baristas and coffee shop owners to representatives of US Congress and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). Furthermore, Indonesian trade representatives also visited the Starbucks headquarters to discuss opportunities for cooperation with the famed US coffee brand that has a history of selling Indonesian coffee products. US coffee lovers can keep an eye out for the growing presence of Indonesian coffee in the United States.
Karunia "Karin" Silitonga is a research intern at the East-West Center in Washington and a recent graduate of Baylor University.