Bener Meriah, the World Recognized Gayo Arabica Coffee Producer

Bener Meriah is a district in Aceh, Indonesia, which was inaugurated by the Minister of Home Affairs on January 7, 2004. This district is the result of the division of Central Aceh District based on Law no. 41 of 2003 dated 18 December 2003 concerning the Establishment of Bener Meriah Regency in Aceh Province.

Bener Meriah Regency, whose capital city is at Simpang Tiga Redelong, has an area of ​​1,454.09 sq km. It is divided into 10 sub-districts and 233 villages. The total population is 148,616 people in 2012.

The largest population in this region is the Gayo tribe, the Acehnese, and the Javanese. Gayo, Acehnese, and Javanese are spoken by most of the population in addition to Indonesian. In Bener Meriah there is Rembele airport which serves Central Aceh and Bener Meriah regencies.

Of course, that’s not all the interesting things about Bener Meriah. Here are six interesting facts about Bener Meriah Regency, summarized by from various sources.

1. The history of the name is really festive

The name Bener Meriah is thought to have come from Beuner Meria, the son of King Linge XIII of the Linge Kingdom in Aceh. When they were small, Beuner Meria and her sister named Sengeda were brought by their mother to the Sultanate of Aceh after the death of their father. The throne of the Linge Kingdom was then held by their uncle, King Linge XIV.

As adults, Beuner Meria and Sengeda returned to Linge and claimed the throne from their uncle. However, the uncle actually sentenced the two brothers to death. According to legend, Beuner Meria did not die and turned into a white elephant, while Sengeda’s life was saved by the executioner who was supposed to execute him.

The existence of this white elephant was heard by the Sultan of Aceh. When he arrived in the area of ​​the Sultanate of Aceh, this white elephant was raging. Sengeda managed to tame this white elephant’s tantrum. He then told the origin of this white elephant.

The Sultan of Aceh then ordered to punish King Linge XIV. Sengeda was eventually appointed king with the title King Linge XV. Meanwhile, the name Beuner Meria was immortalized as one of the areas in Gayo Land.

2. Buntul Kepies Village
Small huts stand along the road that connects Bener Meriah Regency and North Aceh Regency, Aceh Province. The cottage is partly in front of the residents’ houses.

Buni Kepies Village in Permata District, Bener Meriah Regency is known for having a variety of fresh fruit-producing gardens which are very popular in Aceh and are a highland area. When parents are farming, fruit trade is still carried out because their children look after them to wait for buyers or tourists to stop by.

Various fruits sold on the roadside, including oranges, strawberries, passion fruit and avocados, are all sold on the roadside and become their typical souvenirs for tourists who come.

Visitors can also pick fruit directly from the tree. However, you must be prepared to go to the garden in the hilly area to try the sensation of harvesting in the garden and picking fruit directly from the tree. The majority of tourists stop there to bring home souvenirs after traveling in the highlands.

3. Rimba Raya Radio Struggle Monument

The Rimba Raya Radio Struggle Monument in Rimba Raya Village, Pintu Rime Gayo District, has become an icon of the Bener Meriah Regency area. This monument was built as a reminder of the history of the struggle of Radio Rimba Raya which played a central role in defending and fighting for Indonesia’s independence from the Second Dutch Aggression. This monument was inaugurated by the Minister of Cooperatives/Head of the Logistics Agency, Bustanil Arifin on October 27, 1987.

During the second Dutch military aggression in 1948, the Dutch spread slander that Indonesia was dissolved and the existence of Radio Rakyat Indonesia (RRI) was taken over by the Dutch. When all communication devices and transmitter locations were destroyed and controlled by the Dutch, Radio Rimba Raya managed to survive and become an emergency radio replacement for RRI by the Indonesian Army Division X/Aceh led by Colonel Husin Yusuf.

Radio Rimba Raya denied the Dutch propaganda and stated that Indonesia still existed. The radio continues to broadcast and broadcasts Indonesia’s presence throughout the world using three languages, namely Urdu, English, and Indonesian, which states that Indonesia is still intact.

Radio Rimba Raya broadcasts were broadcast throughout the world from August 23 to November 2, 1949. Thanks to this news, many countries around the world immediately recognized Indonesia’s independence. This radio continued to play a role until the Dutch Government recognized the sovereignty of the Republic of Indonesia on 27 December 1949 in Jakarta as a result of the Round Table Conference (KMB) in The Hague.

Radio Rimba Raya also became the forerunner of RRI’s overseas broadcasts. After independence, the services of Radio Rimba Raya are still remembered by the construction of a historical monument, namely the Tugu Perjuangan Radio Rimba Raya in Pintu Rime District, Kampung Rimba Raya.

4. Name Change
The Head of Shia Utama once conveyed the aspiration to change the name of Bener Meriah Regency to the Governor of Aceh, Nova Iriansyah in Takengon, June 2, 2020. The Governor of Aceh welcomed this proposal.

In the discussion, alternative names were also presented, such as Tanoh Gayo, Pintu Rime Gayo, and Gayo Antara. Previously, this proposal was conveyed by the Chairperson of the Reje Syiah Utama Forum to the Regent of Bener Meriah.

There are two main reasons why there is a proposed name change. First, the name Bener Meriah comes from the name of a good person who was killed because of malice and power so that it might cause trouble. Second, no other district in Indonesia uses people’s names. However, until now, there has been no further continuation of the proposed name change.

5. Best Coffee Producer
Arabica coffee is one of the plantation crops which is the leading export product in Indonesia. Specifically, this plantation commodity has become a leading commodity in two districts in the Gayo Highlands, namely Central Aceh District and Bener Meriah, Aceh Province.

The area of ​​Arabica coffee plantations in these two areas reaches more than 100,000 hectares, with an annual production of more than 200,000 tons. This Arabica coffee from the Gayo Highlands has received world recognition with the receipt of a Geographical Indication (IG) certificate for Gayo Arabica Coffee on May 27, 2010 by the Ministry of Law and Human Rights of the Republic of Indonesia.

In the Indonesian Coffee Special Auction event held in Bali on October 10, 2010, arabica coffee from the Gayo Highlands was declared the best organic coffee in the world based on the assessment of coffee cup test experts worldwide. The recognition of Gayo Arabica coffee as the best Arabica coffee also came from the Specialty Coffee Association of Europe (SCAE), which is a coffee association that is concerned with world coffee quality standards in mainland Europe.

The chairman of SCAE, Collin Smith and his entourage from various European countries visited the Gayo Highlands in November 2015. They stated that Europeans have known and enjoyed Gayo Arabica coffee for a long time.

6. Typical Culinary Really Lively
Gayo coffee is a very famous culinary in Indonesia, even in the world, which comes from the Gayo highlands, one of which is Bener Meriah. It is low in acidity and has a slightly spiced taste. If you are interested in sipping gayo coffee at home, you can buy the coffee beans. The price of raw coffee is around Rp. 85 thousand per kilogram for green coffee beans.

Another typical culinary is Masam Jing or spicy sour. In other parts of Aceh, this food is better known as Asam Keueung, while the Minang people refer to it as Asam Padeh. The main ingredient is fish with a thick seasoning. The fish used can be any fish such as pomfret, mujair fish, catfish, cork fish, to depik.

In addition, there is Depik Belacan which is a typical Gayo food and passed down from Gayo ancestors on the shores of Lake Lut Tawar. Depik is an Acehnese endemic fish that only lives in Aceh. Other typical Bener Meriah foods are Cecah Eggplant Wine, Cecah Ries and Apam Gayo.