The coffee is solid black. The coffee is bitter.
That's what's in my head about coffee for 28 years. Dark black and bitter coffee as if dogma. I can not and should not argue any question. So I do not drink it, because I do not like the bitter taste and do not enjoy the black color. I do not want to accept something I can not question.
Until one day in February 2017, a friend dismantled the dogma in front of my face. She handed me a cup of espresso. The color is still black, but what a surprise I was while sipping it. There is indeed bitter, but bitterness does not become a dominating flavor. I feel something like orange acid that travels down the inner wall of the cheek.
I almost ask stupidly: What are you doing this really coffee?
"Why is not as bitter as I imagined?" That's what finally came out.
While listening to the friend's answer, my gaze swept the shelves behind the bar. Stacked neatly with sophisticated and unfamiliar devices. I assumed that it was all the tools for brewing coffee, but what's the name and how to use it, I just do not know. That was the first time I saw a brew tool so diverse and had an odd shape.
"These brew tools that make peasants?" I asked again.
My friend's answer to the question was one of the few things that made me seriously study coffee.
I do not want to write about the position of coffee in the history of colonialism in Indonesia. However, it was one that made me interested in coffee. The story behind it. Stories I've never heard of, and I just learned from a friend of the coffee business owner, where I later learned to operate an espresso machine and use other brew tools.
Along with hearing stories of the past about coffee, I made a latte art-art drawing on coffee using my first milk-in the friend's tavern. For me, the sensation is quite difficult to explain. I am excited, feeling like a child who has just tried a new toy. Later I realized, for me coffee is not just a toy. Coffee would be something much more than a drink.
One day another coffee business owner came from Jakarta to our friend's shop. He answers barista questions about coffee-brewing techniques. I hear "brewing time", "yield", "brew ratio", and other foreign technical jargon. However, for my head, these jargon are very interesting. I never knew it was this scientific coffee? Upon returning from the meeting I immediately read a lot about the scientific side of coffee.
History and science, that's what keeps me from seeing coffee the same way. Over time, I began to know that coffee is not just a drink and a commodity, but also an art, politics, culture, and an important part of human travel chains.
For myself, coffee is a book.
Previously, coffee was just something I drank. Now, I read what I drink. A seed and a pack of coffee is a book that is thick beyond measure. At the beginning I was "enlightened", almost every day my mind filled herself with coffee. I read the brewing theories of coffee, the types of coffee varieties, the politics of coffee distribution, the coffee competition, and more scientific sides of the coffee.
Now, I regularly make my own coffee. The term in the world of coffee that is commonly used for people like me is home brewer, or home brewing.
Although this label needs to be modified a bit so boarding house brewer because I live in kos-kosan, hehe (sorry ya not funny baseball). Some readers even my own friends had misunderstood thought I really worked as a barista.
If I think about it, other than because I just found out that coffee is as interesting as this, I feel that maybe I'm just bored. I am tired of writing, struggling with books, and following the news from the book industry as well as literature. Ten years I've been in the world of literature. The time is not much longer than older writers than me or start his writing career first. However, for me, long enough to make me thirst for something new. Things that are not books and writings.
It is coffee.
Once in the past, I talked to a woman. I once loved her, and when I still love her I love to dig his dreams. One of the dreams I remember was, she wanted to open a coffee shop where I live today: Yogyakarta. We've talked about the concept, the decor, and the location. I volunteered to join the marketing team and have already planned a series of activities for us to do together. That was long before I knew coffee deeper.
The dream is just a dream. There was never a coffee shop we built together. There was never any place we planned in Yogyakarta. I am far away from the memory of the woman I once loved. She had already pursed her own life once more. We once planned but God also answered.
Long after we parted, I was brought to coffee. I can not escape the memories I once had. The woman was not a coffee businessman and I was just enjoying coffee, but I can not deny we've talked quite seriously about coffee.
Coffee kicked me backward into the past. As if telling me to face unfinished feelings and need to be resolved soon.
So I sipped the coffee I brewed myself every morning. One cup after another cup is my friend facing feelings and memories that have not been fully settled yet. The coffee in my cup seemed to say that I no longer had to avoid it. That I must handle and accept all the things that have happened.
For me, coffee is never simple, and therefore I love it.
Source : BERNARD BATUBARA