Kopi Aceh Gayo: History, Characteristics, and Variety

There are vast varieties of Indonesian coffee from east to west Indonesia, coffee are grown in various places with each giving a unique distinct flavour notes.

Kopi Aceh Gayo is one of Indonesia’s staple known for its unique taste and sweetness. Here are some fun facts about Aceh Gayo! 

History of Kopi Aceh Gayo

All Coffee began in Africa before it was traded and cultivated on a big scale by the Europeans in the twentieth century. The Dutch took coffee to Java in the 17th century to be developed in numerous places and a large number of highlands; the Dutch planted the first coffee plantations in Tanah Gayo in 1904.

With the success of creating a superior commodity, farmers started removing the formerly dominant agriculture which consist mostly of pepper and tea. Kopi Aceh Gayo was finally marketed to Dutch residents in Indonesia, with a little amount traded to Europe.

Local citizens ultimately followed suit as the development of Dutch-run coffee progressed. Many communities built coffee plantations with significant production between 1920s and 1930s.

Also read: History and Characteristics of Kopi Flores Bajawa


Kopi Aceh Gayo Characteristics

Kopi Aceh Gayo: History, Characteristics, and Variety

Gayo coffee is popular locally and amongst overseas favourites in the United States and Europe due to its flavour–powerful yet clean taste. Its distinct flavour is achieved because of the popular way of processing known as “giling basah” also known as wet hull. This creates a robust flavour and intensifies its sweetness with that hint of spice that makes it unique.

Due to variative height of coffee plantations in Gayo Highlands, the taste of Aceh Gayo will also differ from one another. The plantations in this area are managed by individuals with some of them using shade-grown cultivation methods. 

Beans: Arabica

Origins: Aceh, Gayo (Indonesia)

Acidity: Low

Bitterness: Low

Tasting note: Powerful, clean aftertaste (varies with plantation height)

Aroma: Hint of spice


Variety of Kopi Aceh Gayo

Kopi Gayo 1

Before Kopi Gayo 1 was considered superior, there were 60 types of coffee developed by local residents. After the selection, especially with regard to homogeneity, Kopi Gayo 1 was obtained, which is an Arabica species that is superior in terms of flavour or enzymatic groups.

Researchers revealed that this coffee came from a cross between Arabica and Robusta coffee originating from East Timor. This coffee, named Arobusta, was widely developed in the 1970 - 1980s, including the Gayo area.

Kopi Gayo 1, comes from population breeding. Of the various types of varieties from East Timor, the best were selected and fitted to the Aceh Gayo environment, which is full of mountains.

Characteristics of Kopi Gayo 1 in general consist of:

  • The coffee plant is tall and sturdy
  • Dark green leaf colour
  • Old leaves colour is bright brown
  • The young fruit is clean green
  • The ripe fruit is bright red
  • The shape of the fruit is elongated with a slightly blunt tip
  • The fruit does not ripen at the same time or simultaneously
  • Resistant to leaf rust
  • Physical and brewing quality is good 

Kopi Gayo 2

Kopi Gayo 2 comes from crosses and selections of arabica populations grown and mixed with East Timor species. This cross eventually produced several new plants that matched Aceh Gayo's conditions. In general, this coffee is more homogeneous and adaptable to the environment.

The characteristics of Kopi Gayo 2 consist of:

  • Live well in the high mountains.
  • Trees wide and shrub-like
  • The leaves are dark green.
  • Young or faded leaves are reddish-brown.
  • The ripe fruit is pink and round.
  • Somewhat resistant to leaf rust.
  • Physical and steeping quality is very good.

 Also read: Coffee Grind Size: Why Is It Essential For The Perfect Cup


What Makes Kopi Gayo Such A Favourite?

What Makes Kopi Gayo Such A Favourite?

Kopi Aceh Gayo is cultivated organically, which is better for long-term environmental sustainability.

Not only that, but the geographical advantage is also one of the reasons why Kopi Aceh Gayo is well-known across the world. When it comes to establishing coffee trees, the climate and soil type are critical considerations.

Kopi Gayo is grown at a high height of 1000 metres above sea level, where it has the best soil type. 

Processing procedures, in addition to planting material and organic planting methods, are another factor to consider. Farmers in Gayo utilise a unique wet method that results in tastes that are distinguishable from the rest.

Interested in Kopi Aceh Gayo? Try our Yatagarasu coffee beans which contain 50% of Aceh Gayo beans and 50% of Flores Bajawa beans. With the tasting notes of brown sugar and dark cocoa (yes, you heard that right!), you will experience a unique coffee blend, right from the comfort of your home.

Click here to check out all of our Kisaku products.