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From ice cream to latte: Traditional ‘jamu’ takes on modern twist

Teddy Hans

The Jakarta Post

Jakarta  /  Tue, August 20, 2019  /  02:38 pm
From ice cream to latte: Traditional ‘jamu’ takes on modern twist

Health corner: Jamu Bar occupies a niche at Pacific Place Jakarta, offering a menu that lists the health benefits of its various concoctions. (Courtesy of Jamu Bar/-)

Indonesia is known around the world for its flavorful coffee, often praised for its full body and long, mellow aftertaste. Coffee drinkers from Tokyo to New York City can find "Java" from Sumatra to Papua. In contrast, coffee is not a particularly unique beverage in the archipelago. The distinctly Indonesian drink is jamu. It has a history dating back more than a thousand years, but lacks the global recognition of Indonesian coffee. The herbal beverage has been coveted for its medicinal qualities since around 1,300 years ago, when the royal family of the Mataram Kingdom drank it. Made from a variety of natural ingredients to treat specific ailments or as a health tonic, jamu is commonly sold today in glassfuls poured from bottles that are carted in woven baskets on the backs of middle-aged “mbok jamu”, or jamu women. The ...