Why Is Coffee Called Java? – Learn About Coffee’s Dutch Connect


You might already know that Java is literally just another name for coffee. Java is one of the more popular nicknames given to coffee. Java is actually the name of an Indonesian island. But why is coffee called Java?In short, since Java was one of the first places where the Dutch started cultivating coffee, it started becoming synonymous with Java.

There is a lot more to it though. Keep reading to learn more!

How Did Coffee Become Known As Java?

Coffee was introduced to Indonesia by the Dutch in the 17th century. They planted coffee trees in multiple places like Bali and Sumatra. The island of Java was another island where the Dutch introduced coffee. Indeed, this is where the name Java comes from! 

Java became the main island from which the Dutch exported most of Indonesia’s coffee. In fact, this is how Indonesia became one of the largest producers of coffee, a title which they hold to this day! Since most of the bags of coffee exported to Europe had the label “Java” on them, the term started becoming synonymous with coffee. As coffee became more and more popular, Java started being used by more people to describe coffee.

The large-scale coffee production of Java was what fueled its development. Railway networks were created to safely transport coffee produce from coffee farms.

Coffee From Java Today

Today, coffee is still being cultivated in Java. But it is no longer a coffee powerhouse as it was in the past. In fact, the island is not even Indonesia’s leading coffee producer, with islands like Sumatra and Sulawesi taking over. Granted, Indonesia is still the world’s 4th largest coffee producer.

In the 1880s, a coffee disease known as leaf rust wiped out most of Java’s Arabica coffee plantations. To combat this, the Dutch started planting other disease-resistant varieties of coffee plants – Robusta and Liberica coffee. However, Robusta and Liberica coffee beans are much less popular and are of lesser quality. They are mainly used in commercial-grade coffee and blends.

Java Coffee – Another Meaning

Java is also sometimes used to refer to Arabica Java coffee beans, which are still grown in Java, though Robusta coffee beans dominate. 

Arabica Java coffee has a nutty aroma and flavor, with bright acidity. It is known to have a chocolatey and sweet taste. 

These are higher-quality coffee beans from Java and are used in 2 main ways. 

  1. Arabica Java coffee beans are often blended with coffee from Mocha (yes, the same name as the drink) in Yemen.
  2. These beans also often undergo a process known as “monsooning”, which is basically aging coffee. This process of aging coffee can last for up to 3 years. These aged coffee beans are much less acidic with a sweeter taste and stronger body.

Java – The Programming Language

Java is more popularly known as a programming language outside of the coffee world. Released in 1995, Java’s logo is actually a steaming cup of coffee (if you haven’t already realized it!).

The coffee logo served as a tribute to Java engineers, who consumed lots of coffee while developing the language. Interestingly, Java was initially used as an example of a name that would not work. Java was still chosen as the name of the programming language as the founders wanted a name that would appeal to the general public.

Want More History?

If you found this little history lesson fun, check out our article on the history of coffee. When I first learned about coffee’s history, I was absolutely fascinated with how it came to dominate the entire world.

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Mellina is an avid coffee lover and is loves to brew the best possible coffee at home. She loves sharing anything which helps people perfect their next cup of coffee.