Coffee beans come in two types: robusta and arabica. Coffee that is consumed in Asia is mostly derived from the locally-grown robusta-type coffee bean. These robusta beans, which are cheaper on the world market, contain about 70 percent more caffeine than the arabica coffee beans (mostly grown in South America) and are usually used in instant coffee. However, the surge in Asian demand for robusta beans has resulted in a narrowing of the price difference between arabica and robusta beans on the world market.

Indonesia is one of the world's top coffee producing and exporting countries. Most of its production constitutes the lower quality robusta type. Indonesia is also famous for having a number of specialty coffees such as 'kopi luwak' (the most expensive coffee in the world) and 'kopi Mandailing'.