Beans of The Brew
Just try a keyword search for ‘coffee’ and you would find billions of articles on the subject. And it goes further as each locality has its own description and name for the beans. Coffee has a long history, and one of the stories tells of its discovery, namely a shepherd who by chance found that his herd consumed the beans thousands of years ago.
When the Dutch were searching for spices, they reached the archipelago and discovered that Indonesia had suitable land conditions for coffee plantations. Several highlands in Indonesia were planted with coffee and now Indonesia is one of the world’s largest exporters.
Drinking coffee has become a part of culture in Indonesia, as it is in Bali. Drinking it is as mainstream as drinking tea and potable water. When you visit someone’s house, the host will certainly offer coffee or tea. During household events, the host would also offer the two. They could offer them without the snacks or cakes, but it is coffee that is somewhat the compulsory item of hospitality.
In Bali, even spirits are offered the beverage. This can be observed during family grave visits, when food, tobacco, and coffee are placed above the grave.
As with tobacco, coffee is a medium of welcome. It is favored not only because it is believed as a fix for fatigue, but also increases vigor. It is always present in activities that involve many people and brings a sense of warmth to the proceedings.
That is why the coffee industry has developed as it has. Back then Indonesians drank a version of what is called kopi tubruk, where coffee is brewed by boiling and served in a glass with the rough sediment left settling at the bottom prior to drinking. Now there are instant versions of coffee that minimizes the sediment.
Once they bought the beans from coffee grinders that were usually home industries. Coffee producing areas usually have at least one grinding machine that is operated collectively by a group. They purchased a roasting machine or merely dried their coffee and then sold it to larger merchants. However, several households chose to process their coffee beans on their own and retail them to traditional markets or warung stalls.
Nowadays people use the more practical ways. Large industries process beans in volume of tons per day. Instant coffee with various brands permeates the market. Back then people used to drink coffee at home or during formal events, and now they spend their time doing so at cafés with a hot cuppa and delightful sides.
According to Wikipedia, the first coffee shop was opened in Italy in the 17th century. Soon after other coffee shops began to show up elsewhere and were imitated throughout the other European countries. The modern coffee shop era continued to bloom when Starbucks offered coffee brew combining café concepts with a metropolitan lifestyle approach. A fine trick, especially when Starbucks opened other shops in large cities all over the world including the land of coffee itself, Indonesia.
Starbucks’ success in developing the image of coffee as a metropolitan staple has stimulated coffee producer Kapal Api, a famous Indonesian brand, to open similar coffee shops. Thus since the 1990s, Indonesia has its own coffee shops, Excelso.
Excelso has successfully stimulated the presence of local coffee shops in Indonesia, bearing high quality on par with the famous names in the business. One quite unique shop is Anomali Coffee. Started in Jakarta several years ago, this coffee shop offers original Indonesian coffee that boasts unique characteristics.
Coffee plantations in Indonesia are spread out from one end to the other end. In the westernmost point of Aceh, whose coffee has a moist and strong earthen aroma, to the east in Papua, which features fruity characteristics.
Between Aceh and Papua there still are many other coffee plantations that offer varieties of aromas and tastes. They are divided into three categories based on viscosity. The thickest is Sumatran coffee, namely from Aceh and Mandailing in North Sumatra that bears a smoky aroma.
Those of medium characteristics are Flores, Toraja and Papuan coffees. Flores coffee has a citrus aroma while Toraja coffee features a hint of caramel. Light body characteristics can be found in Bali coffee with tastes of orange and slightly sour, and Java coffee features a taste of chocolate. Differing climates, altitudes, and soil conditions all causes these differences in characteristics.
Bali coffee is produced in the highlands of Kintamani, Bedugul and Plaga. These three locations have existed since the Dutch occupation with plantations still producing until now. Coffee farmers in the village of Plaga for instance, now still produce and export internationally. Lately they not only have intensified coffee farming practices but have also educated the public through their coffee plantation ecotourism highlights.
At Anomali Coffee they introduce the typicality of each different region’s coffee and show the variations of beans from each farmer’s processing techniques. Several methods in the production of coffee are introduced including the suggestion of chosen coffee. In the end their choices are brewed and presented with the perfect accompaniments.
Now coffee is not only a quick fix beverage or a warm host and hospitality drink but also a lifestyle and social beverage. One could sit for a long time, sipping away on a cup of hot brew and be deep in their personal activities.
Text by Ni Luh Dian Purniawati
Anomali Coffee Seminyak, Jl. Kayu Aya 7B, Seminyak
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Posted by » Bali and Beyond Magazine