Exploring Indonesia with Sima Arôme
The tropextrakt team went to Indonesia to learn more about the cultivation of Vanilla, Ginger, and Turmeric from our partner, Sima Arôme. The company is investing in Research and Development to innovate the manufacturing of typical Indonesian plant extracts. The growth of this industry can bring development to other sectors in Indonesia. The country’s unique layout and location are strategically beneficial to international trade.
With over 17,000 islands, Indonesia is one of the largest archipelagos in the world. This contributes to its rich biodiversity, which is second only to Brazil. With an extensive terrestrial and marine ecosystem, Indonesia has parts of the world’s third largest rainforest.
Sima Arôme’s plantations in the regions of Bali and Java have special practices. The company uses natural alternatives to protect their crops. Additionally, they maintain a portion of their cultivation in the wild, preserving the local biodiversity and the forests. Sima Arôme is interested in making their activities even more sustainable.
Indonesian Extracts present great new opportunities for the food and beverage sectors. As one of the largest exporters of Vanilla Extract in the world, the country cultivates a special variety of the spice in the Java region. Furthermore, their Ginger Extract and Turmeric Extract are of the highest quality and offer exceptional health benefits.
The first stop was Northern Bali, where one of the Vanilla plantations is located. Felix Schwarz and Karoline Kehrer, Business Developers at tropextrakt, met with a collector. After harvesting the green vanilla, which does not have the traditional taste of the spice, the farmers bring them there to be dried. After this process, one can experience the unmistakable Vanilla aroma.
The difference between the vanilla extracts produced in Indonesia and Madagascar lies in their flavours. The Southeast African island produces only Bourbon vanilla, known for its creamy, sweet and slightly floral profile, which is better suited to baked goods and desserts. Meanwhile, the Southeast Asian archipelago also cultivates the Tahitian vanilla, which has a more exotic aroma, with fruity, floral and cherry notes. It can be used in both culinary and perfumery applications. The Indonesian Bourbon vanilla also differs from the Madagascan one, being less sweet and creamy, with a woody and slightly smoked note.
Vanilla grows better in high mountains and is harvested in 6 to 8 months. The cultivation of this spice and its transformation into high-quality Vanilla Extract require a significant amount of labour, which contributes to the higher cost of the raw material.
Ginger Extract & Turmeric Extract
Moving on to Central Java, our team learned more about the traditional cultivation of Ginger and Turmeric in Indonesia.
Ginger is a highly versatile and fast-growing root, cultivated in both high mountains and lowlands. While Ginger Extract from the elephant variety is well-known worldwide, there are two other types of the root. Categorized as novel food, the red Ginger has a medium sharpness, while the emprit Ginger is the strongest of them all. The latter is originally from Indonesia and is highly aromatic.
Due to the concentration of volcanos in the Central Java region, the Turmeric from Sima Arôme exhibits superior quality compared to plantations in lowlands. Growing in the wild in high mountains, the root is cultivated by planting the “mother” rhizome underground. It sprouts “fingers”, which are later used for Turmeric Extract.
Sima Arôme Factory
At the factory located in East Java, Karoline and Felix had the opportunity to exchange ideas with the Research and Development department and the Quality Management team of Sima Arôme. Currently, they are analysing additional requirements for the trade of Ginger Extract and Vanilla Extract.
tropextrakt and Sima Arôme teams
The local supplier offered a special selection of drinks made with their plant extracts. The first one, “Spiced Berry Lemonade”, is a perfect combination of spices, herbs, and fruits. The “Turmeric Tonic” is a new take on the traditional Jamu drink, recognized as a UNESCO Cultural Heritage of Indonesia. It is made with Turmeric, Tamarind, Ginger, and Palm sugar. Finally, the “Choco Berry Silky Pudding”, a common Indonesian dessert, was made in a healthier version sweetened with Stevia and using Goji, Dragon Fruit, Strawberry, and Cocoa Extract.
Besides Vanilla, Ginger and Turmeric, Sima Arôme offers a wide range of liquid and powder extracts such as Dragon Fruit, Jackfruit, Guanabana, Tamarind, Lemongrass and many more. As tropextrakt is always on the lookout for innovative ingredients, we would also like to mention Telang (butterfly pea) and Pandan. These raw materials are currently considered novel foods, but our team is closely monitoring the development of this status.