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Asia - Pacific

There is currently a resurgence in coffee popularity in America due to the rise of specialty coffee stores like Starbucks.  Mimicking the counter cultural elegance of independent cafes of the mid-twentieth century, coffee drinks like the espresso and cappuccino have become mainstream.  This relatively recent coffee craze has created an entire vernacular of coffee terms and one such term that is used to describe coffee is Java.

A cup of Java may mean a simple cup of gourmet coffee to the average coffee shop patron but among coffee lovers, the term Java means so much more.  As coffee beans tend to be named after the area that they were grown from, the term Java actually refers to coffee beans grown on the Indonesian island of Java.  The reason why the term has become synonymous with coffee is because Java became such a popular coffee product on that early coffee producers labeled their coffee beans as Java to increase sales.  This high standard continues to this day, as Java is viewed as one of the highest-quality coffee that one can have.  To learn more about Java coffee, check out the article, Java.

The popularity and acclaim of Java coffee beans signals the importance of the Asia-Pacific area as one of the most important coffee growing regions in the world.  The tropical and subtropical climates of many countries in Asia and the Pacific make it an ideal place to grow coffee.  However, the unique environmental conditions of many coffee producing Asia - Pacific countries is responsible for producing some of the most unique and highly desired gourmet coffee beans in the world.  To examine the best coffee beans that are grown in the Asia-Pacific region, we will examine some of the most important coffee growing countries in this area.

All discussion about the coffee producing areas of Asia and the Pacific must begin with Indonesia.  The third largest coffee producer in the world, Indonesia is made up of 13,000 pacific islands.  The country is a study of quality and quantity, as Indonesia is renowned for producing some of the finest Arabica coffee beans in the world.  However Indonesia's renowned gourmet coffee beans only makes up a small fraction of the total coffee beans produced in the country.  Despite the fact that quality isn't always of the highest caliber for Indonesian coffee beans, Indonesia is still a major source of high quality gourmet coffee beans.

There are three islands in Indonesia that are renowned for the coffee beans that they produce.  The most well-known coffee producing island in Indonesia is obviously Java.  The largest island in Indonesia, Java is renowned for its gourmet arabica coffee that is wet-processed.  Java is also known as producing one of the finest aged coffees in the world in Old Java, in which Javanese coffee beans are stored in a warehouse for two to three years.  Another major coffee producing island in Indonesia is Sulawesi, which was once known as Celebes.  Located in the Malay peninsula, coffee grown in Sulawesi are processed using the dry method.  Renowned for combining sweetness and earthiness, the most famous coffee grown in Sulawesi is Celebes Toraja, which is grown in the mountainous area near the center of the island.  Sulawesi coffee is particularly popular in Japan.  The third major coffee growing island in Indonesia is Sumatra, which produces two of the world's most famous and high quality coffees - Mandheling and Ankola.  Grown in west-central Sumatra, both of these coffees are dry-processed and are renowned for their unique and rich flavor.

While Indonesia may be the largest coffee producer in the Asia-Pacific region, it is important not to discount the importance of India in this area's coffee trade.  The second largest coffee producer in the region, India is responsible for 25% of Asia's coffee production.  Considering how much coffee is valued in Indian culture (you can read more in the article, Indian (Madras) Filter Coffee), it is not surprising to learn that Indian coffee is of high quality.  The majority of India's coffee production takes place in the states of Karnatka, Kerala, and Tamilnadu.  Indian gourmet coffee has been praised as uniquely combining the acidity of Guatemalan coffee with the full body of Javanese coffee.  Additionally, Indian coffee tends to incorporate spicy flavors like nutmeg, clove, pepper, and cardamon to the delight of gourmet coffee lovers.