Coffee Beans Coming Out of the SE Asian Coffee Market
If you’re a fan of coffee, then you probably already know there is a popular and growing culture of coffee in Southeast Asia. These coffees may be equally popular in America as they are in Asia, where, in places like Singapore, for example, “Kopitiams,” Starbucks-like coffee specialty shops, are all the rage.
If you haven’t tried coffee from the Southeast Asian region before, you owe it to yourself to give it a try. Some Southeast Asian coffees are an exotic treat, while others are a cheap alternative to a standard blend. In the end, it all depends on where the beans are coming from.
If you’re going to be a true coffee connoisseur, it will definitely help to know which Asian countries are producing the most coffee and what kind of coffee they are producing. So what are the top coffee producing companies in Southeast Asia and what kinds of beans get produced? Read on to learn more about coffee producers in the region.
Although Thailand’s coffee exporting industry only dates back as far as the mid-1970s, the country has made grand strides in producing high-quality coffee in just a few short decades. Thailand has quickly grown to become the third largest coffee producing Asian country, and has gained a reputation for their focus on organic and fair trade practices that have resulted in some truly astounding coffee coming out of the region. It helps that the soil and climate in Thailand is perfectly suited for coffee plants to thrive, too! Thai coffee now commands a high level of demand on the global coffee market, with rare varieties like the Thailand Peaberry being sought after and enjoyed by coffee lovers around the world.
Vietnam is famous for lush jungles, rice, and unique culinary delights, but it may interest you to learn that Vietnam is also the fourth highest producer of coffee in the entire world. And this is fairly impressive since their coffee industry didn’t start developing until the 90s. The signature bean in Vietnam is the Robusta, a bitter bean that is cheap to produce, resulting in very economical Vietnamese coffees that are enjoyed by coffee lovers everywhere.
It shouldn’t surprise anyone that an area as large as Indonesia produces a lot of coffee. A third of the world’s coffee beans are produced in Indonesia; most, just as in Vietnam, are Robusta beans, although about 10% are Arabica beans.
Naturally, the island with the coffee name produces coffee beans – how could it be any other way? Java coffee is made from rich coffee berries brought to the island by the Dutch in the 1600s.
Coffee production in Laos dates back to 1915, when French colonists first introduced the coffee plant and discovered that the country’s soil and climate were exceptional for growing coffee. Today, Laos produces around 20,000 tons of coffee annually, and the region’s coffee is known for its mild taste with floral and citrus notes.
Another name that is almost synonymous with Asian coffee, Sumatra produces its own unique blend of coffee that is complex in its flavor profile, and a real delicacy to many coffee drinkers. Sumatra Arabica is well known around the world as a distinctive and enjoyable coffee beverage.
Like nearby Indonesia, Papua New Guinea is a major coffee producer in the world. The New Guinea coffee bean has a fruity finish and is generally well balanced, leading to a delightful cup of coffee. The types of coffee produced in New Guinea include Java, Sumatra, Djember, Tim Tim, and Catimor.
Branching Out to Try SE Asian Coffees
If you’ve been limiting yourself to only American and European coffees, there’s no time like the present to expand your coffee horizons a little. You may find that you prefer to stick with your tried and true blends, you may find that Southeast Asian coffees provide an interesting diversion from your typical cup, or you may find that these coffees open up whole new worlds of taste and flavor.
Whatever the result, there’s no shortage of coffee coming out of these regions, so if you decide any of these coffees are for you, feel free to drink up to your heart’s content!