THE HUMAN SIDE OF THE CUP, ACT 3: INDONESIA

Interview with our producers

THE HUMAN SIDE OF THE CUP, ACT 3: INDONESIA

angel barrera | 2020-06-09

As you might know, during the past weeks we held our yearly event called ‘Coffee in Primeurs’. It is a huge cupping session that usually takes place here in our offices. This year, of course, we had to think of a different format. So instead of receiving all our dear shinny happy roasters here in Bordeaux, we has to send samples to their premises. And instead of having our dear happy farmers & exporters among us, we organized ‘Live’ online conferences.
The Lives were a big hit as we had very positive feedbacks. One of the most recurrent ones was that the Lives showed the human aspect of sourcing coffee and the human aspect of our partnerships. In a cupping, a roaster often focus on the beverage: the coffee, its production process and the cup profile... now, they could expend their knowledge beyond the cup. We felt that as something extremely touching and encouraging. We then started our lives by saying to farmers: “roasters have already fallen in love with your coffees, this is a chance for them to fall in love with you.”
This is why, from this point on, we decided to publish more interviews with farmers from all over the world. Farmers who are currently harvesting while their country is still facing the consequences of COVID-19. We have asked practical questions as well as some more specific ones about who they are and what motivates them. We are all happy to take the time to know them a little bit more. To actually see the human side of their cups of coffees.

Angel, for the Belco sourcing team.



To finish this series of interviews, meet Eko from Klassik Beans, producer in Indonesia.

How is Covid In Indonesia?

Luckily this month the government started to open the lock down of the city.
How is Upcountry? In a village?
Most of us are good. In a village, the air and water are still good, no pollution like Jakarta and big cities.
Up today, june 08, 2020: Positive 32.033. Recover 10.904. Passed away 1.883
In Indonesia The Daily worker (Informal worker) are 73 million people and the formal worker (Monthly- contract) are 55,3 million people. Means 56 - 60% are daily workers. That is not including the workers in villages. So the reality can be more than that. Let's see in Jakarta, the daily worker when Jakarta Lockdown, and start to forbid Warung Tegal (cheap resto), don't have access to the closest daily meal. 
And the news is confusing, too many people talk, suddenly everybody becomes an expert, this confusing, pushes the fruits & vegetables trader not to sell the crop to Jakarta. The price dropped in the upcountry but people in Jakarta still need the fruits & vegetables, prices not dropping in Jakarta but less supply. Farmers then change the crop and only sell in the local market. 
 
How is coffee?

Luckily farmers do not change the coffee to other crops. And I think in the future coffee farmers in Indonesia will not change to other crops. Unless no buyer at all. But people still drinking coffee in the local market, means all will be good. Though coffee shops in the city are the first object of closing down at the beginning of Covid. Many baristas are losing jobs.
The challenges are NEWS & TRANSPORTATION, too many regulations to ship the coffee, a lot of checking points in the street, and some of them spray with chemical disinfectant to the truck. It could affect coffee. Recently the officer in the checkpoint did not spray disinfectant anymore.  The Jakarta government started opening on 05 June 2020. But the truck driver still needs to apply the permit letter to In and Out Jakarta. Still need time to adjust. NEW really confused people in the city. In the village who don't see news and social media, people are happier. And face this pandemic as part of life experiences. For KlasikBeans sales, January-Feb- March we are still fine. Then April - May sales dropped 90 %. We wish this month will start better, though we are not target it will be back to normal like before.
 
Covid creates change in society?

Yes it will change society behavior.  In Indonesia case, I am not sure. Because people are forgetful. You know that most of Klasik Beans team are Rescuer Volunteers. We are always there when disaster occurs. But what we saw, people not aware, not thinking that we might be the cause of disaster. Rather than thinking, people like to blame nature.
Let's discuss few things:
  1. Social Distancing
In sustainability, we did this many years ago. That if we provide room to stay, one person needs a minimum 2x3 m = 6 m2 private room. If sit, workers need 2 x 2 m = 4 m2 and if standing need 1x1 = 1 m2. Now people in Indonesia and in the world are being pushed to apply social distance. 
  1. Water for washing
In sustainability, Hand wash facility & Drinking Water should be reachable by employee. Distance not more than 50 m with condition, no Detergent soap, no waste water to the river before filter. Now people are also being pushed.
  1. Clean running water
In coffee we forbid contaminated rivers, our wash waste water can't flow to the river. As coffee farmers, we did this more than a decade ago. How about other crops or industries?
Coffee farmers especially Arabica stay upstream, we conserve the water, as we know many people down of us living from this water, but what happens are, people in the middle dan in the downstream of the river, throw away plastic garbage, Ink of textile, detergent, etc. How can people wash their hands if they don't have clean water? Are people in Indonesia concerned?
  1. Eat Healthy food
Most coffee farms in Indonesia are Organic by default, meaning farmers do not put synthetic chemical fertilizers. 
How about vegetables? Who apply overdose synthetic chemical fertilizers & pesticide/fungicide/herbicide, which contaminated soil and water and become residu in human body? 
And people eat those contaminated vegetables, how can they be healthy?
 So my answer is Covid changes society - Yes if they are thinking. If not, people will be forgetful. Because all Covid protocols are basically not new.
 
Seeing how COVID is first a sanitary crisis but would create an economic crisis afterwards, how would you see it changing/transforming/adapting the specialty coffee industry?  
 
Stop is a luxury for modern humans. Well that is what we are thinking.
Developing, moving, growing are common rather than slow down, stop and observe.
Mainstream foods are favorite, organic food is rare. Human rights is a must, animal rights or trees rights not a must.
Cutting forest is necessary, planting trees and reforestation is not important.
People must go to school but the school tuition is getting more and more expensive.
Modern people are busy blaming nature or pushing other people to do what they want, when faced with a crisis.
 Covid starts when modern people cross the border, exploiting mother earth with the idea of development & growth because of economic reasons. And create 'CLIMATE CRISIS'. The economic activity caused COVID, the sanitary crisis is the consequence. COVID protocol on distribution and transportation add cost of production. Economics become unfair for Transportation, Food & Beverage, Retail etc and only fair to pharmacies and health industry. Economics is no more an economy but it egonomy. To produce healthy coffee or specialty coffee in future will be more expensive. To anticipate these, some coffee companies will reduce the buying price and compromise with quality. Because of that, the food and beverages industry will be more local in future, to avoid high transportation cost and lower purchasing power. Many people lost jobs, their purchasing power getting weak. Ready to drink coffee has a good future. 
 
What would you like to say to roasters & consumers currently buying coffees from Klasik Beans and why would you encourage them to keep buying, roasting & drinking your coffees in the future?  
 
In the pandemic world, assuming this covid and other pandemic will happen and happen again, people will think healthy food is the only option. Fresh and Clean Air & Water, Healthy soil, healthy living is a must. Why? Because when you get sick nobody can afford to pay, including the government.
 KlasikBeans believe that this Covid coming because humans cross the border, take all places on the earth for economic reasons, to develop and grow. and create 'Climate Crisis'. The pollution of human civilization is faster than nature can filter it. The only solution is plant the three and do reforestation. When we plant the tree, we provide Oxygen & Nitrogen for us, the more you plant the tree and reforestation the more people can live longer. If you never plant a tree in your life, it means that you borrow oxygen from the birds, monkeys, bats, civet cat who plant the three and spread the seeds. Also by planting trees we filter our daily carbon.
From 2004 - 2018, KlasikBeans planted 399.000 trees of 460.5 Ha in West Java.
Excluding the 1.683 trees separately planted on 2017-2018-2019. We try to make a trip as harmless as possible for Mother Nature. While calculating the amount of CO2 we produce for throughout each trip such as for flights, accomodation, energy, meals etc. We offset 383.7 Tons of CO2 by planting 1.683 trees in 3 years in West Java, Bali, Sumatra & Flores. Every visitors plants the trees and every farmer will guard these trees for 20 years, to ensure the CARBON NEUTRAL COFFEE TRIP.
 All the reforestation is community base movement, and KlasikBeans not asking additional cost from the buyer who drinks our coffee. We do hope we are part of the solution of the Climate Crisis. And automatically our customers are also part of the climate crisis solution.  Together we conserve this nature and avoid next pandemic resilience.
 
To end up, who is Eko & KB in some few words?

What is your favorite book?


I don't have favorite book

What is the word you would say define your team at the Klasik Beans and why?

Do small things sincerely - lakukan hal-hal kecil dengan tulus.  Big thing start with small things, if we focus on small things we are more grateful for what we achieve and will say enough when enough.

Who is your favorite/inspiring person in human history and why? 
 
Prabu Guru Dharmasiksa 1175-1297, there will be no present, if there is no past. When people conserve the water cycle from spring to the sea, they are conserving humanity. Rivers are a living thing, humans forbid to block or build a dam for any reason. He reminds his people if the water quality in the spring at the mountain is the same as in the downstream before meeting Oceane, people will reach prosperity and earth will stay as paradise.
 
If you happen to believe in reincarnation, in what animal would you like to reincarnate and why?
 
Bird because I can spread the seeds, do reforestation and wake up human in the morning.
 
What on earth makes you the happiest person living on it?
 
Mountain & River
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