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I was enjoying my V60-ed Rwandan coffee and a copy of Penguin Classic book when a sixty-something lady stepped into the coffee shop carrying her beaten iPad. I had frequented this specialty coffee shop for the last year and had never seen this lady before. She looked kind of lost. She picked a comfortable seat, and a quick moment later realised that there would be no waiter to approach her. In this small coffee shop every customer simply had to approach the bar and place their order directly to the barista.

So she took two steps to the bar, bewildered with the chalk scribblings coffee drinks menu displayed at the back wall. She asked for a menu book instead and studied it behind a pair of thick glasses. After a long while trying to understand what had been written there in small letters she decided to go for the espresso.

A lone, sixty-something lady ordering a shot of espresso is not a common sight in Jakarta – a city where the previous generation is still wondering what in the world is “third wave coffee”. The unlikeliness of the scenes unfolding before me triggered my curiosity, and I started observing it closer from my quiet and comfortable corner.

As the barista handed her the demitasse cup of espresso, a sense of amusement came to her eyes; the sense of wondering was palpable as she tried to figure out what was in that very small volume of coffee beverage. Yet, she was polite enough to not say anything.

She sat and tried to sip the coffee. Predictably, she quickly asked for sugar. The barista did not hesitate to help her adding sugar to the supposedly already sweet – by the standard of a coffee snob, of course! – cup of coffee. She tried taking another sip, and immediately asked, “More sugar, please!”

I am pretty sure that most specialty coffee enthusiasts and connoisseurs would frown and mentally judge the old lady for being “uncivilized” and “uncool” with her repeated requests of sugar. Obviously, I was guilty of delivering that judgment myself too.

The old lady smiled as the coffee became as sweet as she liked it. She was happy. I was relieved that the coffee blasphemy scene was finally over though my disapproval on how she treated her espresso was still intact. It was her next statement to the barista that gave me the hardest nudge.

“I wonder why my son always drinks espresso with no sugar.”

It was then I realised what that old lady was actually doing in that coffee shop.

No, she wasn’t there for the free wifi. No, she wasn’t there to take pictures to parade on her Instagram account. And, no, she definitely wasn’t there for the espresso.

There she was, a lady from the previous, analog generation, trying to keep up in the digital era with her old iPad. Her son was probably already in his early thirties; someone who had built a career somewhere, and probably was quite successful. Someone who went from one coffee shop to another. Someone who might be thinking to quit his job to open his own coffee shop. Or, at least, someone who had been taking this new trend of third-wave coffee rather too enthusiastically. Someone whom this old lady is trying to understand and to connect.

So there she was, stranded in a small coffee shop that to her might as well be another planet, trying to understand her son as much as she tried to understand the iPad she was holding for no further purpose than chatting on WhatsApp in bigger screen with bigger font size.

There she was, an old lady trying to reconnect with his son, trying to stay relevant in his son’s life. It did not matter what the espresso tasted like. What mattered to her is to relate to her son and his lifestyle.

The old lady’s voice woke me from my thoughts. She handed her iPad to the barista, and said, “Please take a picture of me and my espresso. I want to send it to my son.”

Dear specialty coffee shops,

Every customer who walks into your place has a story. Let them pour sugar on the precious espresso that you have geeked yourself out for. Let them order iced lychee tea and ignore your urge to sell them Panama gesha. Let them use your wifi and isolate themselves from your enthusiastic coffee stories. You never actually know where they came from, what they have been through, and why they are there.

Editor: Dianthus Saputra

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I have been trying to keep this a secret for quite some time, but now the word is out already. I am talking about a coffee place unlike any others in Jakarta, or the whole Indonesia in this case.

What is ABCD? How would I define this small kiosk further than “A Bunch of Caffeine Dealers”? For sure this is not a cafe. But, yes, you can order espresso, cappuccino, latte, piccolo, or filtered coffee processed through different manual brew methods – using V60, Clever Dripper, AeroPress, or Kalita Wave. There is no set price, but there is the tall, red tip jar with a rather demanding text saying “as generous as you can be”. With a smiley.

Occasionally there is food, but it’s mostly brought by the regular patrons who love to share their favorite snacks. There is AC inside, but outside can be quite warm. There is music usually coming from the store next door that sells vintage vinyls. There is a few, uncomfortable seats and coffee tables, but most of the time people are enjoying their coffee standing. To know when ABCD will pop-up as a coffee bar (or, open for public), follow their Instagram account: @abcd_coffee.

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Hendri Kurniawan has been studying coffee since early 2000, and is among the first experts who introduced third-wave coffee movement to Indonesia. He is known as a trainer, a consultant, a certified World Barista Championship judge for technical, sensory and visual (latte arts), and a heartbroken man. When one wants to open a coffee shop in Jakarta, Hendri Kurniawan is the first go-to guy for some advice. He has helped setting up a lot of successful coffee shops in Jakarta, Bandung, Malang, Bali and other cities.

Since most of the top baristas know Hendri Kurniawan personally, ABCD then has become a playground for them. Champion baristas from posh and stylish cafes in Jakarta usually hang out in ABCD, and some of them are more than happy to brew coffee for other guests. During the Indonesia Barista Championship 2014, many competing baristas use ABCD as the training place. For home baristas and brewers, ABCD is where they dig more knowledge and practical skills. Hendri Kurniawan also uses the tiny space to give private course for those who really, really want to learn to be a barista.

Pictured below is Josh Estey (right) from Bear & Co. Pop-Up Coffee Bike asking some advice from Hendri Kurniawan (left) himself.

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The coffee served in ABCD is varied, from Matt Perger’s championship beans, Panama’s geisha beans for the coffee snobs, carefully selected local coffee, to Hendri Kurniawan’s own blend lovingly named Phat Uncle. Every visit to ABCD will give you a different coffee experience, and surely will gain you more coffee knowledge and buddies.

ABCD is located in a traditional Pasar Santa market, on the second floor, practically right above Dapoer Kopi. It is far different from the usual stylish coffee places, but the beans and the baristas are top notch. ABCD is definitely a playground, and a hub for those who are really passionate over coffee. And this highly caffeinated bunch of people is jumpy enough to welcome strangers as new buddies.

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Additional Notes:

The official hashtag for ABCD on Instagram is #ngopidipasar – “Ngopi” is a slang for “having coffee”, and “di pasar” means “at the market”. Whatever you do, please don’t take pictures of your coffee here along with Monocle or Kinsfolk magazines. They are more into Calvin & Hobbes comic books.

RELATED: Notes from Indonesia Championship Barista 2014
RELATED: Why Dapoer Kopi is The Perfect Indonesian Style Coffee Shop
RELATED: Bear & Co. – Jakarta’s Pop-Up Coffee Bike
RELATED: Jakarta’s Best Coffee Shops
RELATED: The Ten Commandments of a Coffee Connoiseur

Bear&Co popped up in front of Wisma BNI 46, Jalan Jend. Sudirman, Central Jakarta, February 2014.

Bear&Co popped up in front of Wisma BNI 46, Jalan Jend. Sudirman, Central Jakarta, February 2014.

Josh Estey is a long time friend. Back in the days when I was still working as an editor in a magazine, Josh was one of the contributing photographers. He’s an accomplished photographer with brag-worthy clients such as Oprah Winfrey, Meg Ryan, and Christy Turlington. Yet, he remains the one behind the camera, living in Jakarta with his kickass wife Dian (oh, take it as a mighty compliment, lady!), and three kids – Diva, Xenia, and Nic.

Josh and I bumped with each other every now and then since we were practically neighbours. And, two or three months ago he specially sat down with me in Pandava Coffee, telling his newfound passion of brewing. He told me how he wanted to do a pop-up coffee bike, and to set it up on Sunday mornings in Jakarta’s principal street during the car-free hours. He has built the bike with his own hands, and he has all equipments ready. He was just trying to find the perfect timing to start it up amidst his shooting gigs in Kenya, Ethiopia, Zimbabwe, India, and other exotic parts of the world.

With a little bit of trick, the freshly roasted beans are quickly ground manually using a Hario grinder, before brewed through the cone drippers with pourover method.

With a little bit of trick, the freshly roasted beans are quickly ground manually using a Hario grinder, before brewed through the cone drippers with pourover method.

Finally, Bear&Co was launched in front of the old building that used to be the French Embassy in Jalan MH Thamrin, Central Jakarta, on January 5, 2014. Josh calls his children “bears”, and the initial plan was to make the three of them helping him to work on the streets, but, “There’s child labour issue there,” he said. So, the plan was simply held in the brand only.

Related: Jakarta’s Best Coffee Shops (So Far!)
Related: The Ten Commandments of a Coffee Connoisseur

That first day saw Bear&Co selling out everything Josh carried. He manually ground one kilogram of beans the night before to make cold pressed coffee. He also brought freshly brewed beans from Morph Coffee – the local, boutique roastery – to serve hot cups of cone-dripped coffee. They were beans from Bali, West Java, and North Sumatera. Each hot cup took around five minutes to make. Wondering customers – the joggers, the cyclists, and the passers-by who are not familiar with third-wave coffee movement – always asked why does it take so long just to make a cup of coffee.

“Because I prepared everything manually. I ground the beans right here for you so it’s in perfect condition to brew. I use the pourover method. And, basically, I have had enough with everything that’s instant in Indonesia. This coffee takes time, yes, but you will taste the big difference with instant coffee.” That will be Josh’s typical answer that he never gets tired of repeating over and over again.

Coffee dripping puts quite a show in the streets of Jakarta. Bear&Co brings manual brew closer to the people.

Coffee dripping puts quite a show in the streets of Jakarta. Bear&Co brings manual brew closer to the people.

Josh let customers smell the fresh ground coffee before he started brewing. He is more than happy if customers ask a lot more about the process, and he even lets them helping him a bit. He serves the coffee in a paper cup hand-stamped with Bear&Co logo. There’s a big box of Khong Guan biscuits for those who want some bites to go along with the coffee.

Slapped at Rp25,000 for either a hot cup or cold pressed, Bear&Co‘s coffee seemed to make everybody’s morning brighter on that first day. There were some murmurs of how it was “the same price like Starbucks”, but people enjoy seeing and Instagram-ing the ritual of manual brewing. The show and experience that is usually found behind a hipster coffee place is now brought to the street.

Josh quickly befriends his customers, including the kid who ordered cold press like a boss.

Josh quickly befriends his customers, including the kid who ordered cold press like a boss.

Manual brew has found its own way to the new audience; those who don’t usually hang out in the cool 1/15 Coffee, or Tanamera, or Giyanti. In my point of view, this is truly a good thing. A real effort to introduce proper drinking of coffee, and Indonesian beans.

“I want to feature Indonesian beans from different roasters every time I pop up the bike,” said Josh. The second day of Bear&Co – that was this morning, February 2, 2014 – saw Josh serving cold pressed using Gayo Natural beans from Tanamera.

“Are you doing this every week? Are you going to pop up regularly? Are you going to open a permanent cafe?” Customers question.

“I have a day job. I am a photographer. I do this for fun. I don’t know when will I do this again. You have to follow @BearandCoffee on Twitter. I’ll announce the next date and location there,” says Josh with a smile while handing the freshly brewed coffee to his customers.

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01. Thou shall not pour sugar on thy coffee
Thou shall not defy the purity of holy beans with sugar, simple syrup, honey, or anything fun. Thou shall add milk only for cappuccino and latte. Thy love for coffee should be raw. If thou chew roasted coffee beans, and or eat green beans for breakfast, thou shall be sainted.

02. Thou shall not drink, even touch, instant coffee
Instant coffee – those in the sachets, especially – are evil. Thou shall detest them, and thou shall look at those who take instant coffee in pity. Or, disgust. Thou shall roast thy own green beans, grind them, and brew them thyself. Thou shall not believe in shortcut to sipping heaven. Thou shall bear that cross. (Yes, this commandment also expels those vile coffee capsules!)

03. Thou shall not believe in iced cappuccino
If thou enter a self-proclaimed coffee shop – our church, that is! – and see “iced cappuccino” on the litany – menu card, that is! – thou shall burn that place immediately, for only heathens who serve iced cappuccino.

Related: Jakarta’s Best Coffee Shops (So Far!)

04. Thou shall not stir thy latte and cappuccino
Thou shall be grateful for the rosettas, tulips, and other latte artworks displayed on thy cups of lattes and cappuccinos. Thou shall not ruin them. Thou shall sip thy holy drinks in careful manner, letting the latte artworks slowly fading to the bottom of thy cups or vessels.

05. Thou shall not enter Starbucks
Thou shall walk around every Starbucks store seven times just like Joshua did to the walls of Jericho, and thou shall scream out loud thy prayers and intercessions to bring down this evil chain. Thou shall not believe that there could be fellow coffee connoiseurs working for Starbucks. Thou shall despise the idea to accept Starbucks as a business model, let alone learn about them. Thou shall judge.

Something Similar: The Ten Commandments of a Backpacker
Related: Romanticizing the Ironman Geisha

06. Thou shall not buy ground coffee from the supermarket
Thou shall buy beans, and beans only. In fact, thou shall bring down the entire “Coffee” section in the supermarkets with fire and brimstone.

07. Thou shall not take coffee that is not local
Thou shall support local coffee farmers wholeheartedly, and thou shall not drink Ethiopian delights when thou liveth in – uhmmm, let’s say – Oslo. Thou shall be convinced that each single bean that is ground then brewed for thy simplest coffee break should have “local”, “organic”, “eco-friendly”, and “fair trade” stamps on it. Thou shall live in such complication.

08. Thou shall not hold the sound of slurping
Thou shall let the whole world know how grateful thou art for each of thy sip. Thy proclamation and praise to the Holy Beans should be made loud and clear. Let the heavens and Earth know how sophisticated art thou as coffee connoiseurs. Thou shall be that annoying.

09. Thou shall not spend less than 30 minutes discussing the coffee thou has just slurped
Thou shall gather with brothers and sisters in Coffee, and thou all shall slurp together in harmony, then thou shall discuss about the personal truth that each of thou hath just slurped. Thou shall remember that every time two or three coffee connoisseurs gather in the name of La Marzocco, Slayer and Kees van der Westen, the God of Caffeine will abide among us.

10. Thou shall not fail to discover the tasting notes in thy cup
In faith, thou shall seek, and thou shall find the flavours of berry, chocolate, mango, daffodil, pineapple, snowflakes, or maybe cannabis (if thou brew something from Aceh, North Sumatera, Indonesia) in thy cup. And, thou shall feel very smart, educated, and better than everybody else when thou hath found those flavours. If thou could not find or define the flavours of thy coffee, … thou shall pretend.

Related: The Hunt for a Perfect Cuppa
Related: Bangkok: Beautifully Brewing

Boudhanath. The largest stupa in Nepal.

Boudhanath. The largest stupa in Nepal.

Flying around the Himalayas.

Flying around the Himalayas.

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Bhaktapur’s Durbar Square with cows and pigeons.

THE ITINERARY IN BRIEF

01. Spend less days in Kathmandu
Actually, one night is enough. Kathmandu is very dusty and lively, and by lively I actually mean chaotic. Most attractions in Kathmandu – like The Garden of Dreams and Boudhanath – can be done in one full day, or accessed through Patan. And, that’s why it’s better to …

02. … base in Patan
The old city of Patan, a.k.a. Lalitpur, is filled with original Newari architectures. The guest houses, the restaurants, the shops – all blend in with the ancient temples and shrines. Meanwhile, Patan also has a newly developed part that’s filled with bars and restaurants. Comparing to Kathmandu, Patan is slightly less dusty. There is also a nice Patan Museum with a cafe in the back. After two nights in Patan, we moved to Bakhtapur, but we went a bit far to Nagarkot first. Nagarkot is up on the hill. We found our way to the Hotel At The End of The Universe to have some snack. Wonderful view in a beautful setting.

03. Two nights in Bakhtapur
Bakhtapur’s Durbar (palace) Square is my favorite compared to the ones in Kathmandu and Patan. Very well preserved, and it’s set against a romantic backdrop of the mountains. Bakhtapur also boasts Natapola with the highest pagoda in Nepal. The city has the famous Pottery Square. Enjoy the breeze and clean, fresh air. Even the food is better. Tourists must pay around US$10 to enter Bakhtapur, but it valids for one whole week, and you will definitely get much more than you pay for. This is officially my favority part of Nepal so far. (I didn’t visit Pokhara, though, and everybody said I should.)

04. Mountain flight is fun, but …
… it won’t beat the trekking to the Himalayas, for sure. My partner and I were not prepared for trekking so we opted for this “short cut” to take pictures of the snowy mountain. We paid around US$200 each for a 55-minutes flight on Buddha Air. Each of the 19 passengers got a few seconds to visit the cockpit to take pictures. We departed very early in the morning. Try asking for D seat(s) instead of A, because the windows in the right side of the plane will give better view. www. mountainflights.com

Kathmandu's Garden of Dreams.

Kathmandu’s Garden of Dreams.

Swayambunath

Pashupatinath

The ladies in Pashupatinath.

THE TEMPLES AND STUPAS

01. Swayambhunath
The climb is totally worth it. The stupa is tall and beautiful. The complex is way high above the city, so the view is amazing. When we were there, there’s a balanced mix between tourists and believers who came to pray. Most of the tourists behaved well, and the believers still could pray in peace. There is an old little monastery that is worth a peek. Come either in the morning or approaching sunset, and enjoy the breeze and the beautiful view under the all-seeing eyes of Buddha.

02. Boudhanath
Said to be the largest stupa in Nepal, Bouchanath is surrounded by tourist cafes and shops. It’s right in the city, so there is no view like Swayambunath’s. The stupa itself is stunning, and surely adorned with penta-colors peace flags. This is home for Tibetan refugees, and many of them wear their daily, traditional costumes. We were encountered with a very nice Tibetan gentleman who deliberately showed us around to explain things, and ended up telling how his mother was very ill and he had no money. Best is to come around 10AM to stroll, then have lunch in one of the many cafes with rooftop terraces, then snap some more pictures as the sun has already moved to another side.

03. Pashupatinath
This is where they cremate the royalties and commoners alike. A large complex, but the view is not in par with other temples, or other parts of Nepal. Lots of wisemen ready to pose if you want to try selling pictures for NatGeo, but of course they are wise enough to score some bucks from you. Monkeys everywhere. There’s a complex of fifty shrines that’s quite serene and shaddy. Like anywhere else, the Hindu temples are reserved for believers only.

Bhaktapur's Taumadhi Square.

Bhaktapur’s Taumadhi Square.

Newari architecture.

Newari architecture.

Hyatt Regency Kathmandu, with a shorcut to Boudhanath.

Hyatt Regency Kathmandu, with a shorcut to Boudhanath.

Momo (dumplings), and King of Curds (yoghurt).

Momo (dumplings), and King of Curds (yoghurt).

PRACTICALITIES

BEST SEASON will be October to November. Ours was Oct. 22-29, and the blue sky was perfectly clear with less dust comparing to summer, and the temperature was between 12-22C. We could wear t-shirts all day long, and just put a layer of warm sweater or jacket in the early morning and evening. As most guest houses just provide a fan in the room, no AC, the evening temperature still sent us to a good night sleep.

VISA ON ARRIVAL is US$25 for 15 days, US$40 for 30 days, and US$100 for 90 days – all multiple entry. Bring your 3×4 cm photographs for visa. Otherwise, there’s a photo booth right before the Immigration, but that means another queue for you.

CONNECTIVITY – We use NCell that we bought in the airport. They asked for our finger prints, father’s name, and grandfather’s name upon filling the form to purchase a new SIM Card. Most hotels, guest houses and restaurants in Nepal gave free wifi, and they’re quite dependable.

ACCOMMODATION iIN KATHMANDU ranges from Hyatt Regency Kathmandu (with a shortcut to Boudhanath!) to guest houses in Thamel area. We stayed for two nights in the most-recommended Hotel Ganesh Himal. While the service there was totally friendly and helpful, I found the walking distance to the heart of Thamel district a bit far. There are more guest houses closer to the crowd that might not be listed in Agoda, TripAdvisor, or Lonely Planet. The Nepalese are naturally hospitable so I doubt that you will find bad service in any of the guest houses. Meanwhile, we also had lunch in Hyatt Regency Kathmandu. The hotel has a very subtle luxury that still makes it feel very local and friendly. The lunch buffet covers Indian, Newari, Tibetan, and some Chinese dishes, and they all taste very nice. The hotel’s complex is huge, and it incorporates a jogging track, tennis court, gym, swimming pool, spa, and venues for MICE. Oh, there’s a foreigners-only casino right next to the hotel.

ACCOMMODATION IN PATAN that we picked was Hira Guest House, and that’s because the most recommended Swotha – Traditional Homes was fully booked. I would really love to try Swotha -Traditional Homes, but Hira Guest House was something else. They actually have three separated buildings. Our first night was spent in a very traditional four-storeys building in a quiet back alley, with ceilings so low I could act like a giant. It’s authentic, it’s super friendly, and we had a great rest. We moved to the main building where the reception was also located. Again, they have low ceilings. It’s closer to the street so before evening came it was very noisy. The service was beyond five stars. Everything worked very well. It’s located right next to the Golden Temple. In the morning, we had breakfast at the rooftop terrace, overlooking the monks preparing for a ritual in the temple’s courtyard. Very nice.

ACCOMMODATION IN BHAKTAPUR for us was Sunny Guest House, right next to Nyatapola Temple in Taumadhi Square. Though the building looked traditional from the outside, the inside was not. Physically, it was not as homey as the previous places we experienced in Nepal. Yet, the shower ran very well, and the room was spacious. We had breakfast with a view of Taumadhi Square, and that’s really something. Other alternative will be Shiva Guest House. We had a delicious breakfast there.

Hira Guest House in Patan.

Hira Guest House in Patan.

Sunny Guest House in Bhaktapur.

Sunny Guest House in Bhaktapur.

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Pottery Square in Bhaktapur.

FOOD is generally not a big challenge, but try not to expect something very delicious. Veggies usually don’t look and taste so fresh. Curry may be too watery. In most restaurants, the menu will cover Newari, Tibetan and Chinese dishes. If you order rice, it will come in a huge portion. Best food that we had: Or2K (Kathmandu), Utse Restaurant (Kathmandu), Cafe Swotha (Patan), Cafe Beyond (Bhaktapur), and Peacock Restaurant (Bhaktapur). MUST-TRY: Momo (dumplings – steamed or fried), King of Curds (fresh yoghurt). For COFFEE, the best one is in Bhaktapur as well: Black Cup. They also serve delicious muffins.

BUDGET is relatively low. A great and fancy meal will cost less than US$10 a person. A US$5-taxi-ride took us from Boudhanath to Patan – which was almost an hour ride. Guest houses will cost around US$20-40 a night. Entering Bhaktapur will cost US$10 a person, and it valids for one whole week.

SHOPPING AND SOUVENIRS, aside from the usual t-shirts, key chains and fridge magnets, are geared towards fine cashmere, (fake) antiques, thanka (Tibetan paintings), and Tibetan singing bowls. Try to find shops that practice Fair Trade. In Patan, we bought a great handmade Tibetan singing bowl at Om Handicraft, and fine knitwears as Kumbeshwar Technical School – where proceeds will go to help funding education and training for disadvantaged low-caste families.

TIPPING is not encouraged. The service and VAT tax could be up to 23%, and in most places, the staff actually get the share.

GETTING THERE AND AROUND Well, from Jakarta we flew AirAsia to Kuala Lumpur, then continued with AirAsiaX to Kathmandu. The flight to reach Kathmandu was nice, because we arrived in the afternoon. Yet, the flight back brought us to Kuala Lumpur in the middle of the night, and – let’s face it! – staying overnight in Kuala Lumpur is not the best news for many. To get around in Nepal, taxi is the easiest. They’re all broken-white-colored, broken old cars, and we have to haggle for the price. But, the drivers were pretty honest and dependable.

The streets of Nepal.

The streets of Nepal.

Sunset over Bhaktapur's Durbar Square.

Sunset over Bhaktapur’s Durbar Square.

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The word “Wagyu” has been very vague to the Indonesian market, especially my hometown Jakarta, where the upper middle class easily goes for anything luxurious without needing to understand anything about it.  Wagyu was simply known as “expensive”, and of course Japanese-related. Then, the know-it-all at the table will explain how the cattle were gently massaged everyday by a Thai ladyboy, put on a strict Christian Bale diet, and perhaps trained for Bolshoi, so that their meat would become extra tender and juicy.

The simple truth is: Wagyu is Wa-Gyu, and it literally means “Japanese beef”. A cut of Wagyu will look like marble with a fine pattern. That interweaving lace-like pattern comes from monounsaturated fats. Studies have shown that the monounsaturated fats in Wagyu could assist in reducing cholesterol levels in our body. Best of all, they make Wagyu melt easily in our mouths.

How did Japanese cattle become Wagyu? Well, we’re talking about history that goes more than a thousand years here, where large animals like cattle and horses arrived in Japan. While horses then regulated by the government for military uses, cattle became the backbone of farming. These hardworking bunch were very precious property for the farmers. They weren’t there to produce meat or dairy products, but merely for farming. A cow have four compartments in its stomach, so – yes! – when the stomach is getting upset, the farmer would gently massage their cattle. Again, because they are precious.

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Chef Dwayne Cheer from Alila Villas Soori creates various dishes using different cuts of Blackmore Wagyu

Isolated and well-trained, these cattle evolved from generation to generation to become what we call full-blood Wagyu. 100% Wagyu. In the 1990’s, for the first time ever, live full-blood Japanese Wagyu females were allowed to be exported out of Japan. David Blackmore secured the exclusivity of these genetics and imported a large number of semen and embryos into Australia. Since then, the Blackmores have produced their own 100% Japanese Fullblood Wagyu cattle while many could only get crossbreeds. Crossbreeds are results of “mixed marriage” between Wagyu with Angus, or Wagyu with Holstein, for example. They are coded as F1. F1’s could be mated back to Wagyu to produce F2, which would be mated to Wagyu once more to produce F3, and so on, thus resulting a higher percentage of Wagyu genetics than F1 that only has 50%. However, these process will never reach 100% Wagyu genetics.

So, what they’re selling in the street as “cheap Wagyu” might be simply an F1. And, in Japan, they are not allowed to be labeled as Wagyu. Certification is very strict there. If it’s crossbreed, call it crossbreed. Just like muggles to real wizards in the world of Harry Potter.

Up to this day, Blackmore Wagyu – David Blackmore’s family business – produces only 55 cattle a month to cater to their global market. Every month they deliver only 200 kgs to Indonesia, 500 kgs to Singapore, and to UAE – their largest market – merely 1,500 kgs. A nice cut of Blackmore Wagyu could be served in Australia at a cool price of around AU$150.

The setting for Blackmore Wagyu Dinner in Alila Villas Soori.

The setting for Blackmore Wagyu Dinner at Alila Villas Soori.

I was lucky to enjoy the precious beef in a six-course dinner in Ombak Restaurant at Alila Villas Soori, Bali. I shared a long table with fellow foodies, next to the grandeur of the ocean, blessed with the sound of the mighty waves. The evening was cheerful as the glasses of wine filled.

Related post: 7 Best Features of Alila Villas Soori

Chef Dwayne Cheer opened the dinner with bressaola that came with celery, brioche, foie gras, Corella pear, and ox-tail jelly. Fine carpaccio to present Blackmore Wagyu’s marble pattern came next along with tempura oyster, tartare, bois boudran, parmesan and cress. Everybody’s favorite was the next surprising dish: Blackmore Shin Rendang Tortellini that came with mahi-mahi. Then, the grilled strip loin came in generous portions. The dinner was completed with sorbet and chocolate.

If anything, The Blackmore Wagyu Dinner at Alila Villas Soori confirmed my belief in real Wagyu. The full-blood Wagyu is the ultimate joy for carnivores.

www.blackmorewagyu.com.au
www.alilahotels.com/soori
www.facebook.com/AVSoori
www.twitter.com/alilavsoori

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Menyeduh kopi sendiri sudah jadi ritual buat saya. Saya bisa atur sendiri kopi sepadat atau seringan apa yang saya sedang ingin saya minum. Sementara belum belajar (dan juga belum punya alatnya!) membuat kopi yang berbasis espresso (seperti cappuccino, flat white, piccolo, magic, dll.), saya mencoba-coba saja berbagai teknik dan metode menyeduh secara manual di rumah.

Saya pernah cerita di blog ini tentang praktisnya menyeduh pakai Clever Coffee Dripper. Belakangan ini, saya asyik belajar menyeduh kopi pakai Aeropress. Ada beberapa alasan utama:

1. Sama seperti Clever Coffee Dripper, Aeropress mudah dicuci. Klep penyaring tinggal dibuka, lalu ampas kopi dan kertas saring tinggal didorong langsung ke tong sampah. Lantas, tabung seduh dan tabung penekan dari Aeropress itu tinggal saya bilas saja. Bandingkan dengan repotnya menyuci perabotan seduh lain seperti Kalita dan French press!

2. Ada berbagai macam “jurus” menyeduh kopi pakai Aeropress. Ada yang ditekan langsung, ada yang dibalik dulu. Bisa pakai kertas saring, bisa juga pakai saringan dari logam antikarat (supaya ramah lingkungan). Kalau pakai kertas saring, bisa hanya pakai selembar, bisa juga lebih dari itu. Belum lagi teknik mengaduknya; ada yang bilang tiga kali, ada juga yang bilang sepuluh kali. Semuanya akan berpengaruh ke hasil dan rasa kopi yang diincar.

3. Aeropress mudah dibawa untuk jalan-jalan. Tabung seduh dan tabung tekannya tinggal dijadikan satu, lalu klep penyaring tinggal dipasang di ujung tabung seduh. Bawa kertas saring, atau saringan dari logam antikarat. Semua bisa dibawa di tas kecil.

Selama ini saya belajar sendiri cara menyeduh kopi pakai Aeropress lewat beberapa video di Vimeo;

1. Jurus dari Adam Marley vimeo.com/65801793
2. Jurus dari David L. Clark vimeo.com/66374905
3. Jurus dari Koffein vimeo.com/74119231

Masih banyak lagi video-video petunjuk penggunaan Aeropress di internet yang bisa kita jadikan contekan.

Setelah mencoba selama dua bulan belakangan ini, saya jadi punya jurus favorit yang saya gabungkan dari berbagai contekan dari internet tadi.

aeropress_toolsPertama, kita samakan istilah dulu. (Saya sengaja berusaha mem-Bahasa-Indonesia-kan berbagai istilah dunia perkopian supaya kita tidak selalu dan melulu pakai bahasa asing.) Aeropress pada dasarnya terbagi jadi dua bagian: tabung seduh, dan tabung penekan. Selain itu, tentu ada klep saring. Kalau beli Aeropress, kita biasanya juga dapat 100 lembar kertas saring, sendok pengaduk dari plastik, corong dari plastik, dan tempat kertas saring – ketiga benda terakhir tidak ditampilkan di foto di atas.

Gilingan kopi adalah perlengkapan paling penting dan wajib punya kalau mau menyeduh kopi sendiri di rumah. Percuma menyeduh dengan berbagai macam gaya dan teknik kalau kopinya tidak benar-benar baru kita giling sendiri jadi bubuk kopi tepat saat kita mau seduh. Beli bubuk kopi di supermarket? Hindari. Belilah biji kopi segar yang usianya sejak di-“sangrai” tidak lebih dari dua minggu yang lalu.

Saya pakai gilingan kopi manual merk Porlex. Kelebihannya: ukurannya kecil dan bentuknya ramping. Gilingan kopi ini bahkan bisa masuk ke dalam tabung penekan Aeropress sehingga mudah dibawa ke mana-mana juga. Pisau gilingnya terbuat dari keramik. Kekurangannya: namanya juga skrup, jadi bisa longgar. Terkadang, saat menggiling, skrup tersebut bisa melonggar sendiri sehingga hasil gilingan tidak konsisten; awalnya halus, lama-lama jadi kasar. Jadi, saat menggiling biji kopi pakai gilingan kopi ini, saya selalu berhenti setiap lima kali putaran, membuka tabungnya, dan mengencangkan lagi pisaunya ke posisi yang saya mau. Selain itu, gilingan kopi Porlex ini juga hanya sanggup menggiling sekitar 20-25 gram kopi saja.

Termometer dan timbangan adalah dua alat lain yang juga penting. Kalau memang hanya mau “main perasaan”, maka kedua alat ini bisa kita lupakan. Tapi kalau mau memelihara konsistensi dalam menyeduh kopi yang baik, maka kita pasti mau mengukur suhu air yang kita gunakan, juga volume kopi dan volume air.

Sekarang, saya mulai siap-siap menyeduh:

aeropress_firststepsApapun jurus dan gayanya, menyeduh kopi pakai Aeropress wajib diawali dengan dua hal: 1. Membasahi kertas saring yang sudah diletakkan di dasar klep saring, dan 2. Menghangatkan tabung seduh Aeropress. Saya biasanya menghangatkan tabung seduh Aeropress dengan mengisinya pakai air panas, lalu membuang air panas tersebut. Di foto di atas, saya juga menggunakan air panas untuk menyiram kertas saring yang sudah saya letakkan di klep saring. Kedua benda itu saya letakkan di atas gelas yang akan saya gunakan untuk minum kopi. Jadi, air panas akan melewati saringan, lantas ditampung di gelas tersebut. Tujuannya adalah supaya gelasnya sendiri jadi hangat. Gelas yang hangat akan menjaga suhu kopi yang kita minum dengan lebih stabil.

Lalu, saya menggiling biji kopi dengan ukuran gilingan yang tidak terlalu halus, tidak terlalu kasar juga. Bubuk kopinya saya buat jadi  lebih kasar dari bubuk kopi untuk espresso, tapi sedikit lebih halus dari bubuk kopi untuk menyeduh pakai Clever Coffee Dripper (atau Chemex).

Kalau mau teliti betul, biji kopi ditimbang dulu sebelum dimasukkan ke gilingan. Saya suka bandel. Saya ambil saja satu sendok kopi yang biasanya berkisar sekitar 15-17 gram. Lalu saya giling. Nanti, hasil gilingannya yang saya timbang.

Eh, ternyata …

aeropress_brewing… setelah bubuk kopi tersebut dimasukkan ke dalam tabung seduh (yang sudah dipasangkan dengan tabung penekan), volume-nya mencapai 17 gram lebih. (Biasanya saya menggunakan paling banyak 16 gram kopi saja.) Ya, sudahlah.

Saya senang pakai jurus Aeropress Terbalik – atau yang kerennya disebut “inverted Aeropress”. Tabung seduh dipasangkan dengan tabung penekan, lalu posisinya dibalik, dan diletakkan di atas timbangan.

Bubuk kopi di dalam tabung seduh saya siram dengan air bersuhu 88C sebanyak sekitar 50 ml, lalu saya diamkan saja selama 40 detik. Katanya, tahap ini disebut penyerapan awal. Setelah lewat 40 detik, saya tuangkan lagi air hingga volume keseluruhannya jadi sekitar 250 ml. Setelah itu, saya aduk-aduk pakai pengaduk Aeropress dari plastik berwarna hitam itu sebanyak sepuluh putaran searah jarum jam. (Jumlah sepuluh putaran serta arah putar bukan harga mati.) Saya diamkan hingga satu setengah menit. Setelah itu …

aeropress_pressing… saya pasang dan kencangkan klep saring di ujung tabung seduh, lalu segera telungkupkan gelas saji di atasnya lagi, dan segera putar balik posisi Aeropress dan gelas saji tersebut. (Proses menelungkupkan gelas saji dan memutar balik posisinya bersama Aeropress ini tidak bisa saya foto karena kedua tangan saya repot melakukan tindakan itu. Maklum, saya menulis dan memotret sendiri.)

Sekarang tabung seduh yang berisi kopi dan air tadi sudah ada di atas gelas saji, dan ada saringan di antaranya. Tinggal proses terakhir: menekan Aeropress tersebut. Jangan tekan sekuat tenaga, dan jangan pakai tenaga dalam. Tekan dengan kekuatan yang pas saja, merata, dan dengan kecepatan yang santai saja. Durasi penekanan ini bisa sekitar 20 detik hingga 30 detik. Begitu mulai terdengar bunyi desis, langsung hentikan penekanan. Jadi, jangan tekan hingga selesai. (Kopi yang dihasilkan setelah bunyi desis akan terasa sangat pahit.)

Sekedar catatan saja: kalau saat menekan terasa ringan sekali, berarti bubuk kopi yang kita giling tadi terlalu kasar. Sebaliknya, kalau saat menekan terasa berat sekali, berarti bubuk kopi yang kita giling tadi terlalu halus. Dan, saya menekan Aeropress ini di atas gelas saji yang terbuat dari logam antikarat karena saya kuatir gelas dari beling atau cangkir dari keramik bisa pecah.

aeropress_resultSekarang kopinya sudah siap saji. Saya lebih suka menyajikan kopi di gelas beling, bukan mug. Gelas beling akan membantu saya mengukur suhu kopi pakai tangan. Kalau gelasnya masih terlalu panas buat saya pegang, berarti kopinya juga masih terlalu panas. Kalau sudah suhu gelasnya nyaman untuk saya angkat – tidak terlalu panas, tapi juga tidak adem – berarti kopinya sudah siap saya minum di suhu yang pas.

Pada prakteknya, waktu yang dibutuhkan untuk menyeduh dan menyajikan kopi pakai Aeropress hanya sekitar 7-8 menit. Jauh lebih cepat daripada waktu yang Anda butuhkan untuk membaca tulisan ini. Dan, sekali lagi, menyuci dan membersihkan Aeropress-nya sendiri juga sangat ringkas: klep saring dibuka, lantas ampas kopi dan kertas saringnya didorong langsung ke tong sampah. Selesai, deh.

Saya beli Aeropress, gilingan kopi Porlex, dan timbangan digital di Market Lane Coffee, Melbourne. Kalau mau beli online, silakan cek Philocoffeeproject.com. Harganya sama saja, kok.