Indonesia Flores Watujaji Coffee - A Quest For Autonomy & Freedom
THE TURNING POINT
On the island of Flores, many villages live at the foot of the Inerie volcano. After 32 years of submission by a dictatorship, the region began the year 2000 by putting an end to it. For twenty years, the people of Flores have been driven by their will to attain their own collective development. The first step was to bring water to the villages. It is under the Quebec Otonomi Program’s aid that villagers were able to come together to work on this goal. They’ve since been able to supply water to some forty communities and continue their work to this day.
In Flores, running water is not only used for drinking and washing. This commodity has also made it possible for villagers to start their coffee plantations. And thanks to the nutrient-rich volcanic soil, climate and altitude, Arabica coffee grown on the island of Flores is gaining recognition.
With constant work from one day to the next and expanding, thirty families from the village of Watujaji have come together to form a coffee production cooperative. They decided to call their coop: Sinar Tani. This means: Peasant Light. The will of the Ngada region draws its inspiration from their ancestors of a matrilineal tribal culture. This means that the properties belong to the women of the region and are passed on from mother to daughter. This outstanding Watujaji coffee comes from plantations belonging to the women of some thirty families.
While many have tried to force the sale of their coffee to a captive market where all profits would exclusively go to an Indonesian company, the Sinar Tani cooperative has stood their ground. It is through their sheer will and the support of our Humaniterra foundation that they’ve managed to breach this wall.
HELP FROM OUR HUMANITERRA FOUNDATION
After gaining access to drinking water, the next step towards the coops’ development was to obtain all necessary equipment and infrastructure to transform the coffee. This is where our Humaniterra Foundation was able to help. With part of our revenues from the sale of our Terra products, we were able to provide the missing equipment. This represents two hulling machines, two motors, support tripods and drying racks. Our involvement in this project didn’t stop there. Throughout the process, we’ve maintained active communication with the coffee growers in Flores in order to support them along their journey. To learn more about our Humaniterra Foundation, visit this page.
COLLABORATION WITH THE OTONOMI PROGRAM
The development of coffee plantations was only one of the objectives of the Otonomi Program. When an urgent issue impacts the community of Flores, members dedicate themselves to finding solutions. In one of the press releases, they informed us of a dire situation. They noted malnutrition and stunted growth among preschool children, 18 to 40% of whom are five years old and under. In addition, several schools did not have access to drinking water nor toilets. With the collaboration of local clinics, they wanted to launch a pilot project: to create a nutritious fruit and vegetable garden on the clinic site. In this way, staff would be able to set up healthy eating programs and monitor families. To do this, Otonomi asked for the help of our Humaniterra foundation and judging it to be an important and absolutely necessary cause, we granted them the funds needed to launch the project.
TODAY, AN AUTONOMOUS COFFEE COOPERATIVE
Previously, the harvested cherries had to be transported to main headquarters for processing. Thanks to the financial assistance of the Humaniterra Foundation, the Watujaji cooperative was able to acquire the necessary equipment to become self-sufficient. As a result, the mayor of the region set up a team to train the villagers in the necessary processes to transform high-quality coffee beans. Under the supervision of these trainers, the workers are able to bring the ripe coffee cherry to its final result, the green bean.
A CRUCIAL FINAL STEP
Developed through more than four decades of expertise in sourcing, roasting and cupping, our TAG roasting technique (Torrefazione Artigianale Granito) reveals like no other the individual characteristics of the Flores Watujaji coffee. It is the complete caramelization of the sugars contained in the beans. The resulting taste profile is rich, with subtle notes of plums, blueberries and spices such as pepper and curry.