In honour of SurfAid’s 20th anniversary, we’ve worked with our mates at Allpress Espresso to craft one very special coffee. The SurfAid and Allpress roast is harvested in Sumatra, Indonesia, which has quite the reputation for coffee, dating back centuries. 

To celebrate the launch of this delightful morning pick-me-up, we’re stoked to share with you some fun facts about the history of Indonesian coffee. Feel free to hit your friends with your newfound knowledge or bank them for hopeful use on a quiz. 

  1. Coffee is not native to Indonesia but it was the first place outside of Arabia and Ethiopia to be cultivated for mass consumption. Growing optimally near the equator, The Dutch are responsible for bringing coffee seeds to Indonesia in 1696 under their colonial rule. Arabica coffee plants were first planted in Batavia, which is now Jakarta. 
  2. Coffee is the cause of the infrastructure boom in Central Java. At the start of the 19th century, as coffee plantations increased, so did the infrastructure. Roads and railways were built to transport the beans out to ports to be shipped.
  3. In the early 1700s, coffee from Java was king. Highly sought after in Europe, Javanese coffee was known as the best coffee in the world until the mid-19th century.
  4. Coffee rust is the reason Robusta replaced Arabica. In the late 1800’s, a fungus named “coffee rust” swept through Asia, wiping out entire plantations and devastating the colonial Indonesian coffee trade. After Liberia coffee also became affected by disease, the Dutch brought in Robusta, a variety more resistant to diseases. Today, more than 90% of Indonesia’s coffee crops are Robusta even though there has been a resurgence in Arabica production in recent years.
  5. Plantations were divided amongst the labourers in 1945 when the Japanese surrendered in World War 2 and left Indonesia. Today, over 90% of coffee plantations in Indonesia are owned by small family farms and cooperatives.
  6. In the 1970’s, Japanese investors introduced the Giling Basah method AKA “wet-hulled” for harvesting coffee in Sumatra. The process involves harvesting the coffee cherries and depulping by hand and then laying it out to dry for a short time until the beans have 30-50% moisture. This is how most of Indonesia’s coffee beans are processed and is largely responsible for the unique flavour of their coffee.
  7. After hundreds of years of development and progress and becoming a focal point in the history of coffee, Indonesia is the 4th biggest coffee producer in the world. Sumatra is one of the largest producing islands in the country, providing 74.2% of all the combined coffee products in Indonesia.

The SurfAid and Allpress single-origin coffee is from Wahana Estate, Sumatra. Roasted by Allpress Espresso and delivered in commercially compostable packaging, it is yours to enjoy with all profits going towards SurfAid. Celebrate our 20th anniversary with us and get your beans at