This is certainly our most controversial project to date. Having studied the successes of specialty robusta in India and Ecuador, we thought of the idea of upgrading the existing, low growing robusta on the island of Flores where our dear partner Nina van Toulon works to help coffee growers take better care of their natural habitats. Through Adri Yahdiyan, founder of Ontosoroh Coffees, we learned that not only does the island boast a range of unique robusta varieties, but that the quality of these "fine robustas" was already known worldwide. He then introduced us to ASNIKOM, a locally owned cooperative in the regency of Manggarai who could do something as radical as intuitive: process robusta with the same machinery and standards as arabica - and we vowed to pay them the same premium as they would get for fine arabicas.
One year later, the results are in: a spicy, very full bodied robusta that is pleasantly bitter because of its caffeine content, sweet chocolaty and very clean. For the unbiased roaster, this could either be a wacky single origin or a beautiful supplement to blends that provide the flavour that traditional coffee drinkers sometimes miss so clearly (and vocally) in our specialty coffee niche...
Unique robusta varieties derived from uncontrolled cross-pollination
900 - 1,200 meters above sea level
Our first robusta, and part of an ambitious project with two NGOs (VECO, Ecoflores) and two progressive coffee companies (Ontosoroh and Pelan Beans) to create a specialty robusta standard for the entire island of Flores.
2016: created a cross-industry partnership to promote and upgrade specialty robusta from Flores.
2017: local coop ASNIKOM used arabica standards to process fine robusta; imported first pilot shipment to Europe.
pulped natural: hand picked, depulped, sun dried on raised beds and sorted, hulled and graded at the local UPH.
PRICE breakdown (EUR/KG)
€ 5,95 =
The price you pay for this coffee p/kg.
The price Ontosoroh pays ASNIKOM for the coffee. We pay a premium for processing and sorting the robusta as arabica. After the coop's processing and administrative costs, farmers are paid around 45% more than what they would receive from the market.
€ 1,19 + € 0,10
Ontosoroh export, packing, quarantine, local tax and handling expenses + insurance.
€ 0,25 + € 0,16 + € 0,42
Local shipping from Ruteng (Flores) to Surabaya (Java) + shipping from Surabaya to Rotterdam + clearance and local costs
Partial This Side Up expense coverage. Costs normally include sending samples, sales costs, travel and other company expenses - but we retained an unusually low margin for this pilot project to not be prohibitive to newcomers to robusta.
In stock from Manggarai
Manggarai pulped natural robusta : € 5,95 p/kg
Recommended Ikawa profile
We love how this crazy robusta responds to the profile that roaster Sebastian Geistdorfer made for naturals. The slightest hint of acidity but mostly a creamy and bittersweet punch allow you to taste this coffee's potential to the fullest on this one.
You may use these images freely to promote Manggarai among your customers. Please credit Zita Dusa of Pelan Beans if you do.
CONTACT the Flores Team
Our project's main coordinator in Indonesia is Adri of Ontosoroh. The other important actors are the coop ASNIKOM and the NGOs VECO and Ecoflores. Below are all their email addresses.
CONTACT Adri Yahdiyan
CONTACT Damasus Agas, Asnikom Commercial Manager
CONTACT Nina van Toulon, EcoFlores
CONTACT Hendricus Gego, VECO Coffee Coordinator
Manggarai - Flores, Indonesia
Our Specialty Robusta Project in Flores
In 2015, the wonderful Nina van Toulon of Ecoflores introduced us to the Indonesian island of Flores and its coffee. She calls this eco-diverse paradise home for more than ten years and has become passionate about saving her from plastic pollution, both on the ground and in the sea. What's more, she felt that development aid alone was not delivering enough results and thought perhaps Flores' coffee might hold the key. She told us about the island's prizes for its unique arabica coffees - but we soon found that elevation constraints would be a huge problem if we were to try to make specialty coffee production viable as a means to raise social and environmental standards on the island.
Some months later, having read about the successes of specialty robusta in India and Ecuador, we thought of the idea of upgrading the existing, low growing robusta on the island instead. We got in touch with Adri Yahdiyan, founder of Ontosoroh Coffees and found that not only does the island boast a range of unique robusta varieties, but that the quality of these fine robustas is known worldwide among the old coffee buyers and roasters us Third Wave snobs hardly ever hear about. In fact, our partners at ARC in Italy confirmed that "Flores Gr.2" robusta is always in high demand because of its clean cup and chocolaty notes.
For our bold plans to come to life, Adri recommended we talk to ASNIKOM, a well-organised and locally owned cooperative in Manggarai who would be able to process robusta with the same machinery and standards as arabica - and we vowed to pay them the same premium as they would get for fine arabicas. We later learned that Nina's partners at VECO - an esteemed NGO that has been active in upgrading agricultural livelihoods for years in Flores - already worked with ASNIKOM and were very interested in technically supporting our project to create a true specialty robusta. This stroke of luck that strong ties already existed between all parties made it possible for changes to be made to the group's robusta production relatively quickly.
After one year of cooperation we have the first results in stock: a spicy, very full bodied robusta that is naturally bitter because of its caffeine content, sweet chocolaty and very clean. Some progressive roasters are already showing that if we can get over our preconceptions, this coffee can work as an unusual but chocolaty single origin espresso (with heaps of crema) or more likely, a blend supplement that adds a recognisable coffee flavour for more traditional drinkers. In our view, it's an even bigger surprise to specialty coffee enthusiasts once they are able to reconnect with their "pre-specialty" self!