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What is Java coffee?


What is Java coffee?

Posted by Pumphreys Coffee ,10th May 2023
What is Java coffee?

Even if you’re not much of a coffee drinker you have probably heard the term Java before. It is one of the many terms that is used to describe a cup of coffee in a general sense. However, that’s not its only meaning and in this guide, we’ll be exploring exactly what Java coffee is and everything you need to know about it, so you can enjoy your next cup of Java knowing exactly where it comes from.

Defining Java coffee

Java is an island between Sumatra and Bali in Indonesia, a country that is well-known for its coffee production. The beans grown on Java make a highly desirable cup of coffee thanks to the conditions they grow in, including a warm climate, plenty of rain, and volcanic soil that is rich in nutrients. Additionally, flavours of the beans can vary depending on the blends being created.

For example, the mocha java blend is quite mild with notes of chocolate and fruit, popular with consumers who prefer subtle and sweeter flavours. Whereas the island’s infamous old brown java coffee beans boast more aromatic flavours like cedar and spices such as clove or cinnamon.

This history of Java coffee

In the 1700s, Java was under the control of Dutch colonists who cultivated the Arabica beans being grown and sent them to Jakarta. Despite the first beans being lost during a flood, more beans were smuggled and eventually imported into Amsterdam. This then spread them around Europe and the rest is history. By the 1800s, Java had become the leading source of arabica coffee beans globally.

At this time the island was hit with a plague known as coffee leaf rust which destroyed the majority of the coffee plants. This had a big impact on trade and in an effort to try and re-establish success the Dutch introduced the Robusta plant into production as they were less susceptible to coffee leaf rust. The flavours of Robusta coffee beans are widely considered to be not as good as Arabica, but they are cheaper.

Nowadays, 90% of the coffee that comes from Java is Robusta beans and it is still one of the biggest providers in the world. However, there are still a few Arabica production facilities that are going strong and the beans that come from there are highly popular and are often used to create the mocha java blends. They also go through a monsooning process which essentially involves aging the beans for up to three years to create a mellow and less acidic coffee.

Why are Java coffee beans popular with consumers?

Java coffee is often praised for its variety of taste profiles ranging from aromatic and strong to mild and sweet. This appeals to a wider audience of coffee drinkers who all have different flavour preferences and tastes. Also, the beans from Java are typically wet processed which reduces the acidity and gives them a clean and bright profile. Old brown java is the most recognisable type of coffee from the island and is popular with consumers who like deeper notes and a powerful overall taste and body.

Why is coffee called Java?

As mentioned above java is a fairly well-known synonym for having a cup of coffee, but no other island or growing region acts in this way, so why java? It is said that the term was likely first used by the Dutch colonists who used it when referring to the single-origin coffee beans from the island. Gradually it was used to describe any type of bean that was being traded across Europe. As it became so widely used across the world it eventually just became a word to describe any cup of coffee.

It has never been the most popular term, but it is one that many people will have at least heard of. In addition, the word has made its mark in the world of computer programming with the introduction of the computer programme Java in 1995 followed by JavaScript. Even though it’s not related to coffee in any way, it’s still interesting that one term could inspire an entire programming language that remains prominent today.


Java coffee beans are rich in both flavour and history, remaining a key part of the industry as we know it today. If you’re looking for fresh roasted coffee beans from Java or anywhere else in the world Pumphreys can help. As experienced coffee roasters, we offer a wide range of great coffee beans to suit any flavour preferences and needs whether you’re a daily coffee drinker or just have the occasional brew – there’s something for everyone. Find your ideal coffee beans from us today and don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions.