Primary Source

Coffee Production in the Dutch East Indies

Drawing shows various stages of coffee production from growing, harvesting, roasting, and pouring the drink


This is a page from an educational print for children called Gambar-Gambar akan Peladjaran dan Kasoekaän Anak-anak dan Iboe-bapanja (Prints for the Benefit and Pleasure of Young and Old). The collection of prints, totaling 24 pages, depict various aspects of Indonesian life under Dutch colonial rule in the late nineteenth century. Wildlife, street vendors, and artwork are a few topics depicted in the book. This particular page depicts the six major steps in the production of coffee: picking, drying, burning (roasting), grinding, making, and storing. The publisher’s choice to dedicate an entire page to the production of coffee illustrates the importance of coffee to the economy of the Dutch East Indies. The notable absence of Dutch colonial figures, besides the one depicted in the bottom right-hand corner, highlights that Indonesian laborers completed most of the work involved in the production of coffee. The lithographer Gerrit Jan Thieme created these prints in Arnhem, Netherlands. The book was published by Gualtherus Kolff in Leiden, Netherlands.


The images' captions, reproduced below, correspond with the print's six images going from left to right. Each caption is in Malay (top) and Dutch (bottom). Giling koppi. Koffj malen. Petik koppi. De koffjpluk. Gorèng koppi. Koffj branden. Djemoer koppi. Koffj droogen. Békin koppi. Koffj zetten. Goedang koppi. Koffjpakhuis.


Gerrit Jan Thieme (Printer) & Gualtherus Kolff (Publisher), Koffie from Gambar-Gambar akan Peladjaran dan Kasoekaän Anak-anak dan Iboe-bapanja, 1879, RP-P-OB-200.551, Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam. Annotated by Raymond Hyser

How to Cite This Source

"Coffee Production in the Dutch East Indies," in World History Commons, [accessed February 22, 2024]