Sumatra: Arabica Varieties in Aceh

This is a list of Arabica coffee varieties in Aceh that is not exhaustive nor is it very “sciency.” It is simply based upon varieties that I encountered or discussed with producers. It is not in alphabetical order, or any particular order at all!   -Thompson Nov 2019

Gayo 1 =Gayo Satu.  This variety is said to be a strain of Timor Variety (TimTim, Hibrido de Timor) selected at ICCRI, the Indonesian Coffee<Coffee Research facility in Jember. However, it is said the 2 employees who selected it did not follow the best practices in doing so or document its origins. But it matches the morphology of HdT and has been assumed to be a selection of Timor variety.

Gayo 2 =Gayo Dua. This variety is supposed to have TimTim and either Line-S (S-795) or Bourbon genetics. It originated in Aceh, in a particular farmer’s garden, Maisir Aman Al in Jongok Meluem Village Bandar District, Bener Meriah Regency. It was derived from 4 trees on his farm that were the progeny of a particular “mother tree” that had good production and resistance. Given that it is a selection from a farmer’s field it is hard to believe claims of particular parent varieties, whether S-795 or Bourbon. But some say Gayo 2 is the same as BorBor which supports the idea it has Bourbon.

Timor Hybrid, called TimTim locally
Timor Hybrid variety, called TimTim locally

TimTim = Timor Hybrid = Hibrido de Timor = Hdt. This is the interspecific hybrid of C. Arabica and C. Canephora (Robusta) that was found in Timor Leste in the 1940s. It has been the bases of plant breeding for disease-resistant varieties that are widely planted, such as Catimor. But pure Timor Hybrid is also widely planted, though there seem to be many sub-types of this variety. There were early selections brought in the 1980s in at least 2 waves, but ICCRI introduced a more stable and productive TimTim type in the 1990s. This 1990s release might refer to Gayo Dua.

TimTim and Abyssina3 (on right) which is longer and larger
TimTim and Abyssinia 3 (on left) which is longer and larger

Abyssinia 3 = AB3.  PJS Cramer, a Dutch plant researcher, introduced this variety in 1928, supposedly from Ethiopia seed stock. It was planted in East Java initially but some found its way to Aceh Tengah. There is some documentation to support its Ethiopian heritage. It has a large and very elongated seed form. Reportedly the “Abyssinia” types bear resemblance to Java variety, which is a breed from Cameroon, not Java.

Abyssinia 3 aka AB-3

Abyssinia 7 = AB7, called Rambung and widely planted, in Aceh. Reportedly an improved Abyssinia crossed with TimTim. Elongated bean form but generally less than AB-3, and more widely planted. The Abyssinia types have a tall and wide form, taking up more space and therefore less coffee yield per hectare. They also show productivity decline at 10 years according to the Dutch report, but I hear people replace the trees after 20 years. There is a premium for marketing “longberry” coffee in the Java market, so I observe people still planting and separating these coffees.

Rambung or Abyssinia 7 or AB-7

BorBor.  A local selection of Timor Hybrid possibly crossed with Bourbon, and also possibly referred to as Gayo 2 (Gayo Dua). In Aceh, it does not seem to be widely planted: I actually did not encounter a single “BorBor” tree on 3 trips to Aceh. However, some say BorBor is the same as Gayo 2, and that it is a Timor Hybrid x Bourbon cross. It is a selection from the field though, not a plant breeding program, so it is unclear how a claim of particular genetics can be supported.

BorBor planted in West Java
BorBor Coffee Variety
BorBor Coffee Variety: Credit SCA Presentation

BP-542.  A catimor selection from ICCRI. It came originally from a Costa Rica catimor, and is reported to have poor cup quality.

USDA Coffee Variety
USDA Coffee Variety

USDA  (“OOH-STA”) 3.  USDA types were brought here by the US in the 1950s: S731, s762, and s765. S762 is most widely planted. S762 was part of a collection of seeds gathered by the UN Food & Agriculture Organization from the Mizan Tafari Ethiopia in 1955. 10 plants were sent to the coffee research station in Jember, Java. The image at the top of this article, of seedlings, is S731 USDA, which a farmer in Aceh intends to plant as a separated variety on his farm!

S-288 Coffee Variety: credit SCAA Presentation
S-288 Coffee Variety: credit SCAA Presentation

S-288 = S-Line, and perhaps also called Jember.  S288 falls under the S-Line group of coffees that came from India’s coffee research. Some say it is the true Jember.  S-288  is a selection of the interspecific S-26 variety, which is a cross of c. arabica and c. liberica. It is reported to have lower cup quality than S-795 or other pure arabica types and has more occurrence of polyembryo, that is, elephant beans. I have found S-288 planted in Sulawesi, but not Sumatra.

S-795 aka Line-S

S-795 = S-Line = Jember.   S795 was introduced in the 1950s to the Jember Research facility as a selection cultivated by the India Coffee Research. This variety was created by crossing the Kent cultivar and the S288, a natural hybrid between C. Arabica and C. Liberica from the Doobla Estate in India. It had some Coffee Lear Rust (CLR) resistance but has widely lost it, and is one of the main cultivars in Sulawesi.  Some sources say the name Jember does not refer to S-795 but rather its component S-288.  S-795 is referred to also as “1934” which I assume is the date of its release in India, as it did not come to Indonesia until later.

Komasti variety

Komasti – (Composite Andungsari 3).  This is an improved catimor variety released in 2013. The genotypes were obtained from the results of the selection on 136 host trees at the population of F2-F4 ‘Catimor’ generation which was introduced from coffee research centers of several countries.

Sigarar Utang
Sigarar Utang Coffee Variety - Java
Sigarar Utang Coffee Variety – Java

Sigarar Utang.  An improved Ateng selection of Timor variety with Bourbon reportedly. The specifics are a little doubtful (Timor x Bourbon) as it is not the result of a plant breeding program, but a selection from North Sumatra, Tapanuli area. It was said to be discovered in 1988 in a coffee farm owned by Opung Opan located in Batu Gajah Hamlet, North Paraningan Village, Lintongnihuta District according to local farmers. What is sure is that Sigarar Utang translates as “Repay The Debt!” in Batak language.

Ateng Jeluk / Ateng Super

Ateng Super = Ateng Jeluk = Ateng.  Ateng stands for “Aceh Tengah” the Regency of Lake  Takengon. Also called Ateng Super, it is a selection from a single dwarf tree found on a farm in Kecamatan Silih Narah, Aceh that produced well, and spread among farmers. It is also called Ateng Jeluk or Ateng Jaluk.

Sidikalang.  A coffee name based on location: It is a Typica from North Sumatra, the Regency of Diari.

Belawan Pusumah.  Another local Typica type in Aceh and North Sumatra. See the comments under Typica below, but basically, it was originally called Pusumah by PJS Cramer, and was further selected when planted at Belawan, a spelling of Blawan, in East Java.

Andungsari coffee variety

Andungsari.  Known to be a catimor selection. In my experience has a nice cup quality. There are some nice plantings of pure Andungsari in Java Sunda and Central Java, and a little in Aceh.

Bergendal Typica: Credit SCAAA Presentation
Bergendal Typica: Credit SCAAA Presentation

Typica = Bergendal = Bergendahl.  There are a host of names for old Typica types here. In the 17th century, coffee plants originating in Yemen and transiting to India were ultimately introduced to the colony near Batavia (Jakarta) by the Dutch. The first attempt to bring seeds failed, and they were brought again. They were initially planted outside Batavia and also  Buitenzorg (Bogor) in West Java. Later, coffee spread to other areas, and plantations were established in East Java, Central Java, West Java, in parts of Sumatra (Aceh and North Sumatra) and Sulawesi. There were three main Typica types but they may have been different names for the same: Bergendal, for those varietals which were planted in Sumatra, and now less than 5% of Sumatran coffee), Java Typica for those near Batavia and Bogor, and Belawan Pasumah (BLP, which was planted in the Blawan Pasumah village on the Ijen Plateau in East Java). Typica was largely wiped out in the 1880s by a coffee leaf fungus, and Robusta coffee and tea was planted in its place in Java. However, some of the Typica varietals which were planted at high altitudes North Sumatra survived, and in pockets of West Java. In Flores, it is called Juria.

P88.  A Colombian Catimor that went to Thailand via Kenya, and is not widely planted in Indonesia. It can be found in some test gardens and was part of the 1980s Dutch variety trial in Aceh.

P-88 variety : Credit SCAAA Presentation
P-88 variety : Credit SCAAA Presentation

There is a video of some of these varieties in our various Travelogue Videos on Youtube, including the most recent: Aceh in October

2 Responses

  1. Excelent info. Thank you. Love your Youtube channel. I’m a Northern Californian/Canadian who has been developing a cloud forest conservation project in Venezuelas since 2008. I’m just now starting to integrate coffee. Finding pricy seedsmen in Colombia with little international variety aside from some popular Ethiopian landrace and now Eugenoides. Asian varieties are limited to a blanket “Java” of which nobody really knows the origin, aside from mentioning that in Java they call it Abisinia. Your work is so valuable in that regard. But gives me no clarity on what my colombian “Java” or “Minni Mocca Yemeni” really are.
    Do you have any sources for asian or African seed? Or any specific yemenia leads? I really want to introduce Liberica here without having to travel to Guayana or Malaysia. Also looking for S795, and any other Liberica crosses with both arabica and Canephora to work on climate change adaptability and even as grafting stock. I have some crazy heirloom high mountain purple canephoras I’m playing with, but I want the sweetness of Liberica and Excelsa as an add on. Any leads would be much appreciated. Oh, and do you make electric roasters? I’m considering one once we get our hydroelectric system going. Fossil fuels have become scarce in Venezuela. Lol.

    1. Sounds like a great project. I don’t really know anyone offering coffee seed internationally, sorry. I know its hard to find specific types, and to be sure they are tested and actually what they claim to be. I thought World Coffee Research is the best source for validated information. They do have various seed trials. I would definitely be careful to read and test varieties, and expectations. For example Liberica and Excelsa are really not sweet at all! Good luck!

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