Long before Indonesia's independence, Mandailing coffee had gone global. William H Ukers in the book All About Coffee, wrote that the quality of Mandailing coffee is the best in the world. Behind its distinctive taste, there is a spirit of protecting the forest. The community knows the taste of coffee is maintained because of a good forest. The culture of protecting forests by ancestors continues in order to protect nature and keep Mandailing coffee in existence
Mandailing Natal, September 2022
Rows of coffee plants on the hillside are still shrouded in fog in Ulu Pungkut, a sub-district at the western end of Mandailing Natal, North Sumatra, which borders West Sumatra. Settlements line the hilly valley.
On a quiet morning, a group of women with their baskets walk towards the garden on the hillside. Some of them are not young anymore. But they look strong climbing the hill with a slope of about 45 degrees.
Their hands are deft. Sorting out the red coffee beans while chatting with other farmers.
Idris Sandi Matondang, production manager of Koperasi Serba Usaha (KSU) Kopi Mandailing Jaya (Komanja), joined in the conversation. Sandi—his nickname—interjects to talk about good coffee. This includes the importance of protecting the forest area, which adjoins the plantation.