JAKARTA: Indonesian coffee producers are looking to increase exports to the Middle East, citing increased interest from the region in recent years.
Indonesia is the world’s fourth largest coffee producer and Asia’s second largest, accounting for approximately 7% of global coffee output. According to the Central Statistics Agency, the Southeast Asian country exported 384 thousand metric tons worth nearly $850 million in 2021.
Last year, Egypt was the second-largest export destination for Indonesian coffee, trailing only the United States. According to the Association of Indonesian Coffee Exporters and Industries, exports to the Middle East region have increased over the last decade.
“The Middle East market potential for medium and premium quality coffee will always grow,” Moelyono Soesilo, the association’s head of specialty and industry, said on Saturday.
According to Soesilo, interest in Indonesian coffee has grown in the region as a result of global coffee trends and the rise of modern cafes around the world, but also as more Indonesian travelers visit the Middle East.
“Many Indonesian citizens travel to the Middle East and bring Indonesian coffee products with them, automatically and indirectly introducing it to the people there,” Soesilo explained.
Husin Bagis, Indonesia’s ambassador to the UAE, told Arab News that Indonesian coffee products have the potential to gain traction in the region and beyond if producers match competitive pricing.
“It’s very possible because Dubai serves as a hub for Africa, the Middle East, and Europe,” Bagis said.
Bagis stated that with the broad economic agreement Indonesia signed with the UAE earlier this year in July, more Indonesian goods, including coffee, should be expected to be exported.
“President Joko Widodo wishes to increase all exports,” Bagis stated. “And (coffee) is a source of pride for us.”
Indonesian coffee has grown in popularity in recent years, and it is known for its full-bodied, rich flavor and long finish. The beans are grown across the country’s many islands, including Java, Sumatra, and Sulawesi.
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, Indonesian coffee exporters planned to participate in exhibits in the Middle East to showcase their products, according to the Indonesian Coffee Exporters Association.
“Before the COVID pandemic, we had a lot of plans to expand our networks in the Middle East,” said Hutama Sugandhi, chairman of the association.
“I think it’s a big market because the purchase volume among some of our exporters in Egypt has only increased,” he said.
Hariyanto, an East Java coffee exporter, stated that he is concerned with maintaining consistent quality for his products.
“I will continue to go where the profit is best and chase it,” Hariyanto said. “I see a match in Egypt with what I produce, so it’s my duty to maintain the quality.”
Suradi, a Jakarta-based coffee bean seller who has been in the business since 2000, believes Indonesian coffee has “extraordinary potential in the Middle East.”
“It’s up to us whether we can capitalize on this potential,” Suradi said. “As long as we maintain consistent quality in our coffee businesses, coffee will never die.”