Why Is Coffee Called Java? From Ancient Times To Today

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Nowadays, coffee is widely consumed in almost every culture and country. There are many different names for this special drink, and Java is one of them. You may have heard people using it, and you may even have used it yourself, but do you know about the origin of it?

What people call a dish, or a beverage has so much to do with their culture and the long history of their country. In this case, the nickname came from a long history of Indonesia. This may surprise you, but the Dutch played an essential role in why is coffee called Java. Read on for details!

Why Is Coffee Called Java?

The Java/Jawa Island

The first reason is that when the Dutch invaded Indonesia, they started growing coffee beans on Java/Jawa Island– located in the middle of Bali and Sumantra.

With the increasing popularity of it, more and more countries started to grow it. Still, people choose to call it by the name of this island instead of some other locations. What is the reason for this?

This is because the drink was first introduced as a product of Southeast Asia – the Jawa island, where the Dutch chose to be one of the primary locations to grow this plant.

The Dutch East India Company

Now we know that café beans were first grown on the Indonesian island, but why do Western people call it Java sometimes? 

Thanks to a company named “Dutch East India”, the beans were exported after being grown on the island to Western countries. People started to call this particular bean Java to differentiate them from the regular types, and before long, it had become a nickname for this drink.

Read more: why is coffee called joe

Java Coffee Trade From Indonesia To The West

The first sample of Javanese beans was sent to Amsterdam in 1706. From that time to the 20th century, it has become much more popular in Western countries. The demand increased, and people loved it so much that many of them called their cup of Joe by the nickname Java.

Coffee Is Still Grown And Sold On Jawa Island

The war had ended decades ago, and Indonesia finally got its independence. However, until this day, people living on the island are still growing, producing, selling, and even exploiting the plant. This agriculture has become a traditional and essential part of the life of the local residents. 

With a long history of café agriculture, the island has helped Indonesia become one of the top export markets of this beloved power drink.

For these reasons, this nickname is still common amongst consumers all over the world.

Java Arabica Coffee

Most people nowadays think it is just a term for a cup of the beloved caffeinated drink. What they might not know is that there are some specific brands of Arabica beans, and one of them is called Java Arabica café

In general, this type of beverage smells quite nutty and a little sweeter than your average cup of joe. 

The production of Javanese Arabica café follows a wet-producing process. When the beans are still green, farmers collect and wash them right away. This washing process is to get rid of the soft part of the beans and make them taste clean.

Monsoon Java Coffee

Another type of Javanese café to mention is Monsoon Java.  The name of this drink comes from the way it is made. When the monsoon season comes, the production starts. 

People produce this bean type by exposing them to the damp atmosphere of the rainy season. The atmosphere of this season and other factors can dry them and allow people to store them for months and even years if the environment is suitable for the beans. 

Depending on personal taste, some people prefer this type of Joe because it is sweeter than many other types of beans. However, some connoisseurs do not think it is a very special one. 

Besides, there is also a more well-known type from India named Monsooned Malabar.

Poopy Java Coffee – Also Known As Kopi Luwak

You do not need to be a crazy fan of this beverage to hear about “poopy coffee”. Most people would think this is a gross drink; some think it is not real, some love it. All of them have one thing in common – they do not know that this unique drink actually comes from the Jawa island and is also related to the Dutch invasion of Indonesia. 

During the invasion, the local farmers who grew this plant were prohibited from harvesting, using, or selling them for their own benefit. Therefore, they tried to find a way to collect the beans in secret.

When the Civet – an animal that ate the beans, then pooped them out afterward. Some farmers saw the beans were only partly digested. They collected the beans, washed them carefully before putting them through the normal processing before selling them discreetly.

As gross as it might sound to you, many people love this Javanese product because of its unique smell. Nowadays, this type of Joe is pretty expensive, so the locals and even farmers from other locations tried to produce it. Nevertheless, many coffeeholic think its taste and smell are not that special. 

Some others criticize poopy drink for the cruelty behind its production process, as the farmers force the civets to eat the beans as their main food so that they can harvest more beans afterward. This process is abusive and unnatural for the Civet, so many people have boycotted this beverage.

Java Computing Language

For most people, this nickname does not remind them of a drink but is a computing language instead. So, is there any relation between the drink and the computing language?

In the beginning, the father of this well-known computing language called the programming language Oak. However, he then changed it to Java. He wanted to give it one of the nicknames of espresso, so the language sounds familiar, memorable for people, and avoids being too academic or nerdy. 

Is Java Coffee Worth It Today?

In our perspective, the product is generally worth its price if you do not expect too much. You can use it as one of the other commercial brands.

If you want to try the best cup with truly exceptional taste and smell, then it might not be good enough to be on your checklist. 

Some people would think that if the café has been grown on Jawa island for hundreds of years to this day, the taste must be excellent. However, if you have ever tried it, you might not think the same way. 

If you are not a crazy fan of this bitter drink or have only drunk the best beverages in the world, this might be tasty or just simply drinkable to you. A lot of people say that the taste is okay, not terrible, but not excellent either.

Nowadays, it is more like commercial or gimmick espresso that people would drink daily. But if you want to find a top-notch type of café for your special events or special someone, then it might not be the best choice. 

As we listed above, you can find Monsooned, Kopi Luwak Poopy, and Arabica on this Indonesian island. These types have their distinctive taste and are loved by a number of drinkers. 

For Monsooned and Arabica, people love them because they are sweeter compared to other kinds. As for Kopi Luwak, it does not taste very special, but it is quite an expensive item in the market.

FAQ

Does Java Mean Coffee?

Yes, it is one of the nicknames of café after the Dutch invasion of Indonesia. As the beans on this island were grown and sold to other Western countries, the nickname started to spread.

Nowadays, it is still what people used to call this drink, but they might not know why it is called that way. So, the drink that they call that might be grown on this particular island or somewhere else. 

What Does Java Taste Like?

There are many types of brew grown on Jawa island, so we cannot describe what it tastes like because different types of beans taste and smell differently.

Do People Really Drink Kopi Luwak?- Which Comes From The Poop Of An Animal?

Many people do not believe that someone would drink anything coming from the poop of an animal, but it is the truth. 

Yes, some people drink Poopy espresso, but in recent years, the criticism about the animal cruelty behind it has stopped many from purchasing and consuming it.

Conclusion

So, why is coffee called Java? – The name is tightly linked to the quite recent history of Jawa island – an important location that is now famous for producing and exporting this drink around the globe. 

With all the information in this blog, we hope you now know of the historic events that led to this widely used nickname, as well as some types of this beverage that are new to you.

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Almost 20 years already spent committed to coffee and more than 3 years of experience as a barista at Starbucks. Madelyn Doyle graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Nutritional Science from the University of California and finished the Coffee Skills Program at the Specialty Coffee Association (SCA).