Thursday, 11 October 2012


The Government would find it difficulty to register Kopi Luwak brand at home at home because the word Luwak was a common noun not a brand, so the name “Kopi Luwak” could not be patented although the Government was still trying to find a niche in the aspect of international trading. The case of Kopi Luwak was the same as the legal problem in intellectual rights (HKI) of the Kopi Thiam coffee brand. There were companies at home who were in dispute over the use of the word Kopi Thiam so The Association of Indonesian Coffee Exporters and Industry (AEKI) expected there should be no party who protested or claimed “Kopi Luwak” as an Indonesian original coffee. “Coffee Thiam is a general name which literally means “coffee shop”. Unless there is any prefix or suffix next to “Kopi Thiam” which indicated it’s a brand, Kopi Thiam cannot be regarded as a brand” Pranoto Soenarto of AEKI told Business News sometime ago.

The word “Kopi Luwak” once appeared on packaging of some branded coffee, of local and overseas products particularly Malaysia. So far there had been no legal dispute of the related parties. On the other hand many Luwak coffee with attribute of white coffee and Malaysia were in circulation in Indonesia’s domestic market. “They (the producers) saw that the word Kopi Luwak was just a common noun, not a brand. Kopi Luwak can only be portended if there was any other word attached to it.” Pranoto said.

About the coffee commodity itself, AEKI saw that there were other aspects which were more important. Indonesian coffee was renowned in the global market, so branding was necessary, including packaging, labeling etc. Some promotional events like cupping competition, Miss Coffee etc. were some of the efforts of brand building of Indonesian coffee. The Jury for cupping competition in coffee producer countries Brazil and Colombia unanimously agreed that Indonesian coffee was doubtless in terms of quality, so the Jury who tested Indonesia’s coffee could only test coffee up to the last 10 cups. This means that the Indonesian coffee which took part in competition cannot further be blended because the taste had reached the point of Jury’s satisfaction. “Perhaps the last 50 cups the Jury still could take, because I myself was one of the Jury members invited to Brazil and Columbia” Pranoto was quoted as saying.

The coffee industry abroad, especially America and Italy were already very familiar with the nooks and cranny of Indonesian domestic coffee, so when the Indonesian Cupping Competition was on, they deliberately blocked exposure of Indonesian coffee to the world. Without exposure, Indonesian coffee would be weak in terms of brand image and consumers awareness. “The coffee industry in America avoid paying premium price, while they know quality of Indonesian coffee is excellent” Pranoto remarked.

AEKI also felt sure that Coffee Shop in Indonesia was not inferior to foreign franchise like Starbucks, because in every mall Indonesian coffee shop franchise were active and highly competitive and were never ran out of visitors. The coffee industry in America were highly protective about their domestic products so they restricted import of coffee as finished products. The America coffee industry had the policy to protect their processing industry but were customized about serving different tastes and flavors. “Supposedly 60% to 70% of Indonesian coffee exported to America, Italy and other European states are in the form of finished products – but  protection in America is extremely tight, they tolerate only below 60%” Pranoto said.

Labeling was also focused by AEKI in the effort of promoting coffee industry in Indonesia. In overseas countries, the policy adopted in the trading sector was extremely tight especially about label examination of imported products including Indonesian coffee. In Indonesia, the Directorate of Standardization and Consumer’s Protection (SPK) of the Ministry of Trade had launch several raids on products and services in the domestic market. Many of the products from China entering Indonesia did not comply with the Law of Consumers (UUPK) “But in China the Government strictly control products circulated in the market. They prohibit labels in the form of stickers and labels must be in printing, so Indonesian coffee products in the form of finished products are still facing obstacles in terms of labeling”.

AEKI saw that in principle the Indonesian coffee industry was changing for the better because some coffee types like Toraja, Mandailing, North Sumatera were getting widely known. The Toraja coffee was in the position of the third best coffee in the world, the export of which was posted at 2 – 3 thousand tons per year. As a whole, total export of coffee from plantations all over Indonesia including Lampung, Palembang and Sulawesi came to six thousand tons per year. “Many coffee growers in Makassar and Mamuju are getting richer. I witness with my own eyes many children of coffee farmers pursue education overseas”.     

Business News - August 15, 2012   

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