Why Is Coffee Called Java? The Great History Of Coffee

Vietnamese Coffee Exporter
Why Is Coffee Called Java

Why Is Coffee Called Java? You’ve likely come across the term “java” as a nickname for coffee, but have you ever wondered about its origin? We were curious too, so we embarked on a quest to uncover the truth. As it turns out, the term “java” is yet another intriguing chapter in the long and captivating history of coffee. Continue reading to discover the fascinating details and equip yourself with knowledge that will impress your friends during your next morning coffee outing at your favorite local spot.

Coffee’s Historical Journey

It may be hard to believe, considering coffee’s widespread popularity today, but coffee plants were originally found growing wild in Ethiopia. According to legend, a local goat herder noticed that his goats became exceptionally energetic after consuming the fruits of certain plants. These plants turned out to be coffee, and humans quickly followed suit.

From Ethiopia, coffee made its way to Yemen, where it was commercially cultivated for the first time. The profitability of coffee in Yemen led to its closely guarded status, with severe punishments, including death, for anyone caught stealing coffee plants. However, in the late 17th century, daring Dutch merchants managed to smuggle some coffee plants to Indonesia.

The Dutch planted coffee on various Indonesian islands, with Java becoming the main hub for coffee exports. Consequently, when coffee arrived in Europe, it was labeled as “Java.” Over time, “Java” ceased to refer specifically to coffee from Java and became a generic term for coffee itself.

The Current Coffee Scene in Java

Coffee continues to be grown on the island of Java, although it no longer holds the same global significance it once did. In the 19th century, many Arabica coffee crops on the island were devastated by a disease called leaf rust. To compensate, the Dutch introduced more disease-resistant Liberica and Robusta plants, although these are generally of lower quality.

There are still five estates in Java that grow premium coffees: Blawan, Jampit, Pancoer, Kayumas, and Tugosari. Some of these estates practice a unique process called monsooning, where green Java coffee beans are aged in the humid air of the region for up to three years. This aging process causes the beans to swell and develop new flavor characteristics, resulting in a sweet taste, heavy body, and minimal acidity.

While coffee from Java is still available, Sumatran coffee and Sulawesi coffee have become better known as Indonesia’s prominent single-origin coffees.

Why Is Coffee Called Java? The Origins of Mocha Java

Mocha Java, also known as Mocca Java or Moka Java, is a historic coffee blend, considered one of the oldest in the world. It should not be confused with the mocha coffee drink commonly enjoyed today.

In the early days of coffee, it was primarily grown in Yemen and exported through the port of Mocha. Yemeni coffee shared similarities with the wild Ethiopian coffees, featuring a sweet and fruity flavor profile. When the Dutch introduced coffee to the more humid Indonesian climate, it took on different characteristics, including a creamier body and earthier flavor.

People soon discovered that blending the coffees from Java and Mocha resulted in a beautifully balanced brew, giving rise to the original Mocha Java blend. Today, while the Mocha Java blend still exists, it has become more of a tribute to the original flavors rather than a specific designation of origin. It often consists of fruity Ethiopian coffee blended with earthy Sumatran beans, representing a fusion of two different coffee cultures and economic systems brought together through colonial rule.