Our Baratas offering comes from our partnership with a co-op in Central Java named Banjarnegara Atas, or Baratas. The co-op is a visionary group of self-starting farmers who proactively decided to introduce Arabica to their area seven years ago and are now beginning to scale up in quality, skill, and quantity.
This co-op consolidates the cherries from several smaller farmer groups and then performs the wet processing at a centralized mill for their co-op. This consolidation is the key to their ability to produce larger quantities than smallholder famers of Indonesia are usually capable of. The head co-op also assists the farmer groups with training and with planting plans.
The history of intensive cultivation of Arabica coffee in this area only goes back to 2013. Until then, coffee was only grown for the benefit of land conservation, due to the fact that most of the area is hilly and landslide-prone, making it difficult to grow other crops.
The farmers saw that since the elevation and the favorable climate of their area was conducive to growing Arabica, they could potentially reap the higher market value of Arabica compared to Robusta. A core group of ten farmers planted about 6,000 Arabica coffee seedlings, purchased directly from a village in North Sumatra. One of them, Subroto, is now chairman of the farmer’s group. He explained to us, “At that time, there was no coffee boom.”
Since then, however, Indonesia’s own boom in coffee consumption has increased demand for the product and drawn more farmers in the area to begin cultivating coffee. The total coffee trees in that village has now reached 97,000, including plants that have not yet fruited.
When we joined with them beginning in 2019, we were happy to become another avenue to export their coffee to an international market. With our dry mill, we are also able to help them increase their production quantity.
We’ve found that this group has already made remarkable quality progress. They are concerned with the quality, from the harvest to processing. This year they produced excellent results with multiple processing methods: washed, natural, and honey. “Coffee plants are now a blessing for these farmers who previously relied on seasonal crops,” Subroto said.
The Baratas farmers have been key participants with us in the experimental anaerobic fermentation methods that we have been pioneering lately in our partnership with IIT coffee. It takes a village…. or many villages, and that’s the network we are striving to provide.