Ever wonder why coffee is often referred to as Java? Well, coffee from the small island of Java in Indonesia was one of the first origins that American colonists had access to in the early 1700s, and thus for them, “a cup of Java” was an exchangeable term for a cup of coffee.
At the turn of the 19th century, Java was a leader in coffee production. But then Rust disease (Roya) ravaged coffee plantings on the island. In response, growers replaced the more susceptible Arabica strains with disease-resistant Robusta varieties. However, Robusta doesn’t have the flavor of Arabica, and goes mostly for commodity coffee exports. Since then, the Indonesian government has sponsored a modest comeback of Arabica on the original Dutch estates, steadily replacing Robusta varieties with higher-demand Arabica whenever possible.