When you meet a guy like Eko Purnomowidi from Klasik Cooperative you stop and listen. Not just because he is so engaging but he is also incredibly knowledgeable.
Eko is the senior advisor at Klasik Cooperative and a key founder of the group. Most of Indonesia’s coffee comes from the outer regions like Sumatra and Toraja. Klasik focuses on the lesser-known Java region, this is in part because of Eko’s deep connection to the traditional Sudanese varieties grown there. He was first introduced to the coffee there by a good friend and was very impressed. So much so that he set out to research the Sundanese coffee variety in Panawuan and Gunung Puntang, which were coffee plantation areas during the Dutch colonial period.
Before Klasik began, Eko took his learning’s from Panawuan and Gunung Puntang and managed to influence hundreds of farmers to stop felling forest trees on their lands so their coffee could grow naturally, under the canopies like it used to. His theory was that it would restore the quality and help with much-needed conservation. His methods worked and at last farmers were able to receive good money for their work. The resulting lots commanded a much higher price, and farmers now generally make double the minimum wage in rural areas.
After his great success in Bandung, Eko has set up collection points across Indonesia where Eko teaches his techniques to producers and spreads the price incentives for high-quality lots. It is an exciting time for Indonesia with nothing short of exceptional quality becoming more much common. Gone are the days of poor quality as the norm.