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Festival Kopi Nusantara celebrates nation's rich coffee culture, history

Ni Nyoman Wira
Ni Nyoman Wira

The Jakarta Post

Jakarta  /  Sun, July 22, 2018  /  08:00 am
Festival Kopi Nusantara celebrates nation's rich coffee culture, history

A photo by Rony Ariyanto Nugroho from 'Kompas' is on display at Bentara Budaya in Central Jakarta. (JP/Ni Nyoman Wira)

The aroma of roasted coffee beans and the sound of conversations about coffee plants welcome you upon arrival at Bentara Budaya Jakarta in Palmerah, Central Jakarta.

The cultural institution is the venue for Festival Kopi Nusantara: Cerita Negeri Kopi (Archipelago Coffee Festival: The Tale of Coffee Nation), which is being held for four days from from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. from July 19 to 22.

Opened to the public, the festival consists of many events for coffee enthusiasts, including a photography exhibition, coffee bazaar, discussions and a roasting class.

A photography exhibition, Festival Kopi Nusantara: Cerita Negeri Kopi, is taking place at Bentara Budaya from July 19 to 22. A photography exhibition, Festival Kopi Nusantara: Cerita Negeri Kopi, is taking place at Bentara Budaya from July 19 to 22. (JP/Ni Nyoman Wira)

The photography exhibition displays photos that were captured by photographers of Kompas during their Jelajah Kopi Nusantara (Archipelago Coffee Exploration) expedition that began in March. Visitors can learn about the history and traditions surrounding coffee in several provinces in Indonesia, including Aceh, Papua and Bali. For newcomers to the coffee world, the exhibition also displays information on various topics pertaining to coffee, such as differences among the Arabica, Robusta and Liberica species and the Luwak coffee controversy.

Discussions about coffee are also being held. On Saturday at 2 p.m., there is a talk on managing the nation's coffee, while on Sunday at 2 p.m., technology in the coffee industry will be discussed.

Read also: The rise of Lawu coffee among Java's single origins

Meanwhile, the festival’s coffee bazaar is divided into three sections, with an area for coffee producers (farmers), an area for coffee shops and an area for coffee-making tools. There, visitors can sample a variety of coffee beans, including those from producers based in Malang, East Java; Jayawijaya, Papua; and Central Aceh. Cold-brew coffee from the Kopi Haus booth is available for purchase, as is coffee-making equipment from Otten Coffee, Karya Utama Inti Sukses and Toengku Kopi. The price of coffee products starts at Rp 20,000 ($1.38).

Central Aceh Regent Shabela Abubakar, who was seen serving visitors at the Central Aceh booth on Friday, said Aceh’s Arabica Gayo was different when compared to other types of Arabica coffee. “It has many flavors, so it’s not only the taste of coffee. If you have meticulous taste buds, you’ll get the flavors of guava, orange and jackfruit,” Shabela said, noting that, beginning two to three years ago, the Gayo people of Aceh had begun to enjoy a cup of java in the same way that elders did, by chewing a bit of palm sugar first before gulping down their coffee.

Central Aceh Regent Shabela Abubakar (second left) engages with visitors at the festival's Central Aceh booth.Central Aceh Regent Shabela Abubakar (second left) engages with visitors at the festival's Central Aceh booth. (JP/Ni Nyoman Wira)

Those wanting to take a glimpse into the future may want to visit Nova Agustinas' fortunetelling booth. Hailing from Kerinci regency in Jambi, Nova uses coffee and a deck of cards to look into the future or provide advice. Located at a gallery near the venue for the photography exhibition, the duration of one tasseography session, which costs Rp 50,000, lasts from 30 minutes to one hour.

The festival was inspired by a journalist's expedition, which was launched as a result of a collaboration between Kompas and state-owned lender Bank Rakyat Indonesia (BRI). Written, photographic and video accounts of the expedition were published either in Kompas or kompas.id from April 11 to June 6. The journey highlighted the cultural aspects of coffee and challenges and opportunities in the coffee industry. In 2016, Kompas held a similar event, Festival Kopi Flores (Flores Coffee Festival). (asw)