Preserve and Promote Indonesian Cuisine
A photo of an illustrated cup of coffee, such as you won't find on Belitung, where only simple brews are served. (Good Indonesian Food/File)
You won’t come across a single coffee plant on Belitung, yet you can find more than one kedai kopi (coffee shop) in every corner of the island – a stark contrast that can only be explained by the locals’ love for coffee and their daily routine of congregating with friends or family at a coffee shop.
Unlike your middle-of-the-road international coffee shop chains, the coffee joints here do not serve different types of frappes or cappuccinos; what you’ll be getting is a modest warung with a choice of either black coffee or milk coffee.
According to Ismen Holidi, owner of Warung Kopi Kong Djie, one of the most celebrated coffee shops in Tanjung Pandan, the people of Belitung began to fall in love with coffee during the time of the Dutch occupation. The Dutch soldiers would bring various coffee beans from Sumatra and subsequently introduced coffee as a beverage to the natives. This inadvertently led to the locals adopting coffee drinking as a habit that has lasted to this day.
People of Belitung began to fall in love with coffee during the time of the Dutch occupation.(Good Indonesian Food/File)
Most of the coffee that is consumed on Belitung comes from Lampung, as explained by Ismen. “The majority of the coffee shops on Belitung use Lampung robusta coffee beans. Although some may not recommend it for its high acidity levels, I believe that it could produce top-quality coffee at an affordable price when processed well,” he said.
Over on the eastern side of Belitung in the city of Manggar is an area that is known as Kampung Kopi (coffee village). As a town that has been nicknamed the City of 1,001 Coffee Shops, its multitude of kedai kopi has become a worthy tourist attraction that has rivaled its picturesque beaches.
The story behind Kampung Kopi began in the early 1980s when a few coffee shops were founded in this neck of the woods. At the time, their customer base mainly comprised tin miners. As time went by, the escalating demand for coffee led to the opening of even more similar establishments, which culminated in Manggar’s city government developing Kampung Kopi as one of the city’s tourist destinations after recognizing its potential. (kes)
Explore more about Indonesian cuisine here.
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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not reflect the official stance of The Jakarta Post.