Coffee export is one of the well-known export commodities in North Sumatra. There are three best coffee producing regions, namely Lintongnihuta, Mandailing, and Sidikalang. Two of the most famous types of coffee are Arabica and Robusta.
Arabica coffee grows in the highlands around 700-1700 mdpl with a temperature of 16 to 20 degrees Celsius, while Robusta grows and bears a lot of fruit in the lowlands, which is below 700 mdpl with warmer temperatures around 24 to 30 degrees Celsius.
Robusta coffee beans are round and large. Because it is grown in low temperatures, Robusta can be harvested quickly, about three times a year. The most obvious characteristic is a higher level of caffeine, between 1.7 and 4 percent, so it tastes bitter and has low acidity.
The price of Robusta coffee is cheaper because the taste of this variety is neutral and less varied. The flavours that come from the blend of Robusta coffee tend to have a chocolaty, nutty and earthy aroma.
As of April 2019, there were eight destination countries for North Sumatra coffee exports, there are the United States with 4,692.6 tons, Germany 504.8 tons, Japan 489.56 tons, Belgium 442 tons, England 379.4 tons, Canada 286.8 tons, South Korea 286.3 tons and Singapore 202.1 tons (source: suaratani.com).
Since the COVID-19 pandemic hit, coffee export activities have begun to decrease due to the absence of direct flight routes and shipping goods by sea to export destination countries.
This condition is compounded by the empty containers that are still in the country of origin of the imported goods. Various steps to deal with COVID-19, such as vaccine development in 2021, are expected to restore coffee export activities from North Sumatra to normal.