“Do these people know where their coffee comes from, until it is poured to their cup or tumbler, warm and fragrant, ready to be sipped to fuel their mind, body, and soul for the rest of the day?”Thought the barista
That’s what a barista mostly thinks when a cup of coffee is being handed to a customer. When the customer turns to the barista and asks more about the coffee, this is when the barista feels more on the beam to articulate the story behind the coffee.
Coffee is perishable. Coffee beans will start to lose freshness gradually after they get roasted. The best time to consume the coffee after the process is about a month for coffee beans and two weeks for ground coffee. The grains of ground coffee is more sensitive to moisture, heat, air, and light, so it is easier for them to lose freshness, flavors, and aroma.
To serve the best coffee for the customers, the barista surveys coffee farmers in Java and Bali. Obviously, the barista is well connected with many coffee farmers and coffee bean producers as they are the suppliers who provide high-quality coffee every week. The farming system in Bali is exceptionally notable since most of the farmers adopt an organic cultivation process which refrains from using synthetic chemical fertilizers or pesticides in order to harvest fully organic coffee berries.
In West Java, there is this network of Puslikoka, abbreviated from Pusat Penelitian Kopi dan Kakao (Indonesian Coffee and Cocoa Research Institute), which regularly conducts research and training agendas to educate local coffee farmers about the importance of high-quality coffee cultivation. Indonesian coffee is acknowledged among the best coffee in the world, and Indonesian coffee farmers are also recognized as crucial players in the coffee industry.
Indeed, the agricultural sector is included in the MSME sector in emerging markets, such as Indonesia. According to Indonesia’s Agricultural Ministry, in 2018, local coffee production reached 674.636 tons, increasing by only 1% from the 2017 figure. The productivity level swayed in stagnancy due to the issue of land areas, for example, that coffee trees are aged and that land fertility has dropped.
To boost productivity, repopulation is needed to reduce tree age gaps and intensify the cultivation. Unfortunately, the funds from the Regional Development Budget remain low. Around IDR1,63 trillion has been distributed to the total commodity land of 1.25 million hectares all across Indonesia. This budget is allocated for land rejuvenation and farm revitalization.
In Indonesia, the agricultural MSME sector is often heavily shadowed with the stereotype that farmers are uneducated workers. In fact, this is a mere assumption and uncalled for as they have high standards for their land and farming methods. This issue suggests the potential of Indonesian agriculture that still has much bigger opportunities to expand and develop. However, that assumption has outgrown because the farmers do not have a proper bargaining position. Their coffee are sold at a very low price, while, in fact, after their coffee beans reach the overseas market, the price goes way up to four times higher.
Although farmers have now mastered the methods and system to produce high-quality coffee, regular buyers like Budi’s cafe and even the global market, they still lack the reputation to make their whole farming business recognizable in the mainstream industry, while their production matters and is impactful. There should be an infrastructure to facilitate the reputation building of small businesses, an infrastructure that is trusted, validated, and efficient to be applied to business operations. Maintaining the process is essential, and the infrastructure should be able to capture all the important aspects and compile it in a measurable way, which is a ledger.
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