Nestled in the northwestern part of Malaysia, Kedah (pronounced as "Keh-dah") is a region known for its lush, picturesque landscapes and fertile soil. Situated at an altitude of roughly 1,200 meters above sea level, it offers an ideal environment for growing high-quality specialty coffee. Interestingly, this region is also home to the famous Langkawi archipelago, a group of 99 islands that attract millions of tourists every year.
The history of coffee cultivation in Kedah dates back to the early 20th century when the British introduced the crop to the region. Despite coffee's long history in the area, it has remained relatively unknown compared to other coffee-producing regions in Malaysia. However, recent developments in the local coffee industry have sparked renewed interest in Kedah's coffee potential, leading to increased investment and support for its coffee farmers.
While specific farming and processing methods in Kedah are not widely documented, we can draw some general conclusions about the practices employed in Malaysia as a whole. Most coffee in Malaysia is grown on small, family-owned farms that follow traditional agricultural methods. These farms often intercrop coffee with other plants, such as fruit trees and spices, which can contribute to the unique flavor profiles of the coffee beans.
In terms of processing, the most common method used in Malaysia is the wet or washed process. This involves removing the outer fruit and pulp from the coffee cherries, then fermenting the beans in water for a period of time to remove any remaining mucilage. The beans are then washed and dried, either in the sun or using mechanical dryers. This method is known for producing clean, bright flavors in coffee and is well-suited to the high-quality Arabica beans grown in Kedah.
Kedah coffee is known for its delicate, nuanced flavors that reflect the region's unique terroir. The fertile soil, high altitude, and cool climate contribute to the development of complex and distinctive taste profiles in the beans. While specific flavor notes can vary depending on the farm and processing method, some common characteristics of Kedah coffee include:
- Floral and fruity aromas, reminiscent of jasmine, orange blossom, and tropical fruits
- Bright acidity, often compared to citrus fruits like lemon or lime- A medium body with a smooth, velvety texture
- Sweet, lingering aftertaste with hints of chocolate, caramel, or nuts
These flavors make Kedah coffee an excellent choice for those who appreciate the subtleties and complexities of specialty coffee. It is particularly well-suited for manual brewing methods, such as pour-over or French press, which can highlight the beans' delicate flavors and aromas.
As the coffee industry in Kedah continues to grow and thrive, we can expect to see more and more exceptional coffees from this region making their way into the global specialty coffee market. With its unique terroir and dedicated farmers, Kedah has the potential to become a key player in the world of specialty coffee, offering a taste of Malaysia's rich coffee heritage to coffee lovers around the world.