THE INDONESIAN Ministry of Foreign Affairs on May 20 2023 has held a webinar between the Komunitas Kopi Nusantara (KKN) with representatives of the Indonesian diaspora and Indonesian representatives in the United States (US).  At the end of the meeting it was agreed that it would continue with concrete cooperation in the coffee sector.

In his opening speech, Iwan Freddy H. Susanto, Director of America 1 of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated that the activity of bringing KKN together with the diaspora was a concrete effort to increase coffee exports as well as take advantage of opportunities related to soaring coffee exports to the US.

Iwan Freddy added that referring to statistical data released by BPS Indonesia in recent years, the US continues to be the largest export destination for RI. It is predicted that this trend will continue to increase, especially since the demand for Indonesian coffee products is getting higher.

The Indonesian Ambassador to the US Rosan Roeslani welcomed the planned collaboration between KKN and the Indonesian diaspora. Congratulations and thanks were also conveyed to KKN who took an active part in the Webinar to collaborate with the Indonesian diaspora in the US.

He also added that the things above are achievements that need to be maintained. Value-added coffees such as certified geographical indications and organic botanicals, especially specialty coffees, have great potential for the US. Several opportunities to promote coffee were at the recent specialty coffee fair in Oregon.

“This is the result of a collaboration between the Indonesian Embassy in Washington DC and the Indonesian Consulate General in San Francisco, ITPC Los Angeles, the Ministry of Agriculture, BUMN and the West Java Provincial Government. Transactions between Indonesian and US businessmen reached US$20.6 million,” concluded Ambassador Rosan.

Both Iwan Freddy and Ambassador Rosan reminded that the challenges that need to be realized include the presence of copies from other countries in the US, such as from Latin America and Vietnam. They are the main supplier of coffee imports to the US.

”For this reason, information about Indonesian coffee products needs to be disseminated to Indonesian coffee fans. This can be done with the right strategy. Another important thing is the need for good market information with good research, communication and digital marketing with the Indonesian diaspora. Therefore, intensive and continuous information needs to be carried out with Indonesian Representatives in the US,” explained Director Iwan Freddy.

Meanwhile the Chairman of KKN, Wisnu Birowo stated that the organization which was founded in 2016 was initiated by several downstream business actors, medium and upstream industry (farmers) of local coffee commodities, as well as academics and barista trainers and coffee shop managers.

Furthermore, Wisnu Birowo hopes to explore opportunities for cooperation with the Indonesian diaspora community in the United States, both as end-users and agency functions in the sale of packaged ripe coffee products (roasted coffee beans). Sales channels can be made through the Nusantara Coffee Community commercial website, as well as international online marketplaces; EBay, Amazon, AliBaba, etc.

This view is in line with the opinion of Yuanita Rachma, Director of the Surabaya House of Barista, that KKN will open opportunities for cooperation with Indonesian diaspora communities in the United States. Yuanita stressed the importance of utilizing INA-Access, namely the platform as a means of global promotion, increasing trade and investment. As is well known, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has launched a digital platform named INA Access since 2021.

Inspired by the “success stories” of the diaspora
The webinar listens to the success stories of the diaspora in the US. They are Ivan Hartanto who is based in San Francisco and Irfan Ihsan and Vivit Kavi who are domiciled in Washington DC.

As the name “Belift” implies, Ivan Hartanto wants to raise the name of Indonesia through the coffee products he offers in the San Francisco Bay Area. Ivan stated that all this time he had been assisted by the Indonesian Consulate General in San Francisco. Currently, it is expanding its base in Indonesia and will expand coffee exports from Indonesia to foreign countries, not only the US. According to Ivan Kopi Indonesia, which has various types of specialty coffee with GI (Geographical Indications) certification, has the advantage of being promoted in various US market segments.

The webinar also listened to Irfan Ihsan and Vivit Kavi’s presentation about the success of “Dua Coffee” in Washington DC. Since operating in September 2019, their coffee shop has immediately won its own place in the hearts of local and Indonesian coffee lovers. ”Dua Coffee” offers a variety of specialty coffee menus with various brewing techniques. Apart from that, this shop also offers several choices of non-coffee drinks which are popular among millennials. Call it a cereal star latte, a wide selection of smoothies, and most recently, mango juice mixed with fresh milk.

Closing the Webinar, Ambassador Bagas Hapsoro conveyed several reasons why we should consider knowing the potential of Indonesian coffee in the US. These webinars can provide useful information about the coffee market in the United States, including consumer trends and preferences, as well as the competition that exists in that market. This can help businesses understand how to market Indonesian coffee products more effectively in that market.

“The advantage of this diaspora is that it has extraordinary potential, networks, experience and ability to sell Indonesian coffee. This has been done by Belift Green Coffee and Dua Coffee.”

It is hoped that this event will be followed by intensive collaboration between KKN and the Indonesian diaspora under the support of the Indonesian Representative in the US. [source: Indonesian Ministry of Foreign Affairs/MoFA].