Riau Province`s Liberica Meranti coffee has always had a strong following in the Malaysian coffee market with steadily increasing consumers. This positive business growth drove Meranti coffee farmers in Kedaburapat Village, Meranti Islands, to not dwell in their marketing strategy.
According to Al Amin, the secretary at Liberica Ransang Meranti Coffee-Caring Society (MPKLRM) Geographical Indication Group (IG), the region’s Liberica Meranti coffee broke into the Malaysian market since 1980, which is supported by its geographical location that is merely 94.90 kilometers apart.
It is distributed through the Malaka Strait International route. “[The coffee] can reach Malaysia in two-hours-time,” said Amin to Tempo a while back.
Transporting the Indonesian coffee to Malaysia tend to be easier than distributing it to Riau Province’s capital Pekanbaru that would need almost half a day to transport, “Access to transportation is definitely a factor,” he added.
“They take each and every form of beans without sifting it,” said Amin.
About 90 percent of Liberica Meranti coffee is accommodated by the Malaysian market leaving just 10 percent for the local coffee market. In 2016, as many as 71 tons of Liberica Meranti green bean coffee was exported to Malaysia.
However, this fact cannot be separated from the region’s past history when the Liberica Meranti coffee beans first originated from Malaysia. The coffee made its way to Indonesia’s Rangsang Island by a local on his way back from Batu Pahat, Malaysia, which was then locally cultivated and spread to other Indonesian regions.
Despite the coffee’s high demand in Malaysia, the same cannot be said for its luck in the Indonesian coffee market. The hardship was felt by the team that spent two-years promoting liberica coffee in the domestic market.
Amin recalled the time the rejection from a hotel in Pekanbaru; “Our people’s palette is already used to robusta and arabica coffee beans, so it’s difficult to accept new tastes,” he said.
However, as time passed by, liberica coffee beans are starting to be accepted among Riau residents which can be seen by the numerous cafes that serve liberica variants such as Atjeh Kopi, Dokter Kopi, Kopi Plus, and Kopi Curah.
“The response is pretty positive, it’s proven by the number of orders [from local hotels],” said Amin.
The Liberica Meranti Coffee have constantly exhibited in many Indonesian coffee events and festivals, which he said was an effective way to promote the liberica coffee beans from Meranti Islands.