Java has a unique position among Indonesian coffees. It is the original coffee planting area, with coffee coming to Batavia (Jakarta) and being planted in the area of Bandung early in the Dutch colonial era. The arabica coffee plant was brought to Indonesia from India in 1696. Java coffee had a legendary status around the world until the last century. Mocha and Java coffees commanded huge premiums, often 10x to 15x more expensive than Brazil coffees in brokers lists from the 1920s. Aside from history, Java is unique in that it is most often wet-processed, resulting in a relatively clean cup, without earthy or dirty flavors found in some lower-grade wet-hulled Indonesia coffees like Sumatra.
Pak Yayat is a coffee grower I have visited twice in West Java, and actually it's an extended family and not an individual. The farm is up a long dirt path traveled only by foot or by motorbike. All the coffee cherries are loaded onto motorcycles to transport to the wet mill for processing. What really excited me about the Yayat farm was that it's planted entirely in older, a traditional coffee variety, Typica, well-shaded under primary forest trees, and a remarkably healthy-looking environment. There is none of the hybrid Ateng coffee on the farm too, which I feel draws down the cup quality when we depart from the typical Indo coffee processing (wet-hulled) and improve the drying process to use raised, covered beds. The cup flavors provide evidence of the processing, a cleaner (no earthy notes, less herbal character than wet-hulled Indos), and a very balanced profile. It's delicious and a crowd-pleaser coffee.
There's a pungency to the dry grounds of Pak Yayat, with tamarind fruit and pineapple juice. It's a sweet smelling coffee with very fragrant honey, graham, and a scent of buttery caramel corn. Hot water brings on a heavy smell of caramelizing sugars that's super sweet, bordering on butterscotch sauce. A nuttiness comes up off the break with hazelnut and raw almond wafting up in the steam. The sweetness in the cup is immediate and with a bit of toasted caramel and almond. There's a milk chocolate touch too that I didn't pick up on in the aromatics that adds a nice balance to the caramelized sugar sweetness. In fact, cocoa plays a big part in this coffee's mouthfeel and is reminiscent to spiced Mexican hot cocoa. The acidity is well rounded and a bit like green grape (tartaric), adding to the overall balance in the cup. Pak Yayat has creamy body, and conveys a nice graham cracker flavor in the finish.