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Flores: A Balanced and Beautiful Indonesian coffee

Flores: A Balanced and Beautiful Indonesian coffee

Flores is an Indonesian island we have sourced coffee from for years, but now with increased focus. We are buying from regional cooperatives and individual farmers. The coops include many small-holder farmers and are doing a range of processing methods, wet-process, honey (pulp natural) and full natural process.

This means a range of flavors, from the more subdued and clean tasting wet-process coffee (akin to how much Central American coffee is processed) to the more fruity and rustic honey and natural methods.

We source coffee from several areas, which can be roughly divided as the Bajawa area in the southern central area  and the Manggarai area centered on Ruteng a bit north and west of Bajawa.

Marselina Walu is one of the producers we buy from, as well as leading up one of the coops we source from in Bajawa area. Marselina Walu is one of the producers we buy from, as well as leading up one of the coops we source from in Bajawa area.
Small scale processing is decentralized in many areas, but despite humble equipment can produce wonderful coffee!

The coffee areas are modest in altitude. The highest peak is only 1736 meters (about 5696 feet) above sea level and much coffee comes from areas around 1000 -1200 meters. The milling tradition is wet-process; the coffee has a resemblance to the coffees of Timor-Leste, and Java, compared to the semi-washed coffees of Sumatra and Sulawesi. Wet-process method has the potential to be a clean, sweet cup and a clean taste overall (similar to Central American coffee).

Flores is small by island standards, just about 360 kilometers end to end. It is in the Indonesian archipelago, between Sumbawa and Timor islands. The name Flores is an abbreviation of "Cabo de Flores"; a name used by Portuguese sailors in the 17th century.

There are challenges regarding issues with the consistency and the processing practices used there. Coffee might be picked one day, but not processed until a day or two later, resulting in off, fermented flavors. The farmers also ferment coffee in inconsistent batches on an irregular basis, not a bad thing in itself if it was only done to the same standards each time. But the methods are improving rapidly since my first visit 6 years ago.

Fermenting times depend on temperature, in some cold, high-altitude locations 36 hours is needed, whereas lower, hotter climates can require just 8-12 hours. Flores can be quite warm, yet they ferment coffee sometimes for 3-4 days! This also results in off fruity notes.

Nonetheless we do find great micro-lots of coffee from Flores, and we are working with a group who provides farmer training in hopes of better quality processing, and more consistent quality. Flores coffees are known to have crowd pleasing qualities with well-rounded notes so roasting some is sure to result in a cup every end of your palate will enjoy.  -Thompson

Here's our current selection of Flores coffees. (....or click here for Coffee Shrub)