An extraordinary achievement made by Mikael Jasin from the Common Ground Coffee Roastery. He won the first place at the Indonesia Barista Championship (IBC) in early February 2020. He and his team will represent Indonesia at the World Barista Championship (WBC) in Melbourne, Australia in April 2020. Let’s give our big support to him and his team to be able to raise our flag at the highest on the WBC in Melbourne.

This is also a big achievement for our team, especially for our production team in Manggarai Flores, since we finally made our coffee being used by the champion on the IBC last February. A small part of the competition is the coffee that being used by the participants among other technical factors that are scored and valued by the judges. We are so glad because there were not only Mikael Jasin who served our coffee for the competition, but there were also some participants who used our coffee for their competition coffee.

The winning coffee that was used by the champion is natural processed with anaerobic fermentation. We have been processing this coffee since 2014, but we never measured its variables that could enhance its flavor and notes complexity. We were strictly focus on farmer’s level and never touched any further steps after green bean grading. Further, in around August 2018 we decided to open a coffee shop in Jakarta, which since then we are more exposed about coffee notes and feedback, so those directly effect on how we fix our coffee processing methods in Flores. We finally made big changes and started using more parameters to measure and improve the product result.

It was a humble beginning in 2014 when we started with less than 5 farmers joining our initiatives. Inviting the farmers to join in our group was not an easy job, we had to change their mindset because they used to produce coffee and focusing only on quantity, and never think about how the quality changed their income. It was simply because they do not want to put too much effort, because the coffee they produced was never been valued at the high price by the local buyers.

 Moreover, we started to build a more proper processing infrastructure to make sure every coffee that we produce is in our control, while the farmers have to be committed to give us only the ripe coffee cherry, in return, we buy their coffee at the higher price.

It has been really challenging working with farmers in Manggarai Flores, since the crop condition is scattered, and they grow arabica and robusta on the same area. We know that quality of arabica trees will not be best if grown side by side with robusta. However, we understand that every aspect before the coffee been roasted really matters, so we try to elevate the post-harvest processing as best as we can. Every coffee cherry has to be sorted by color, type and density, so we can get the best coffee quality from the very beginning. On the other hand, we also figured out that water supply also affects the cleanness of coffee taste, then we also make sure that we have to use the clean water.

Our team in Flores Manggarai who is helping us a lot with the production since 2014 | Source: Tuang Coffee

Moving forward, there are a lot of experimental way we will try to keep improving the quality of our coffee product, but the most important thing we have to overcome is on how to control the consistency of our quality. We think that making specialty coffee is easy, but the difficult part is how to maintain it steady. The specialty coffee absolutely needs more special treatment compared to commercial coffee, but how to keep the treatment is always special on every batch? That’s is the answer that we need to figure out, because every origin is facing different kind of obstacles from nature, people, operational and technical things. At this moment we found that agility is the answer, which we need to work more dynamic and adjust everything with technical, social and natural challenges.

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