Java in Java

10 May

Coffee, the Javanese way

I’m kicking off the wrap-up of my trip to Yogyakarta (pronounced Jogjakarta) with a post on its most iconic beverage: coffee. Yes, coffee is called java because some of it actually comes from Java (though more of it comes from Sumatra, I think).

Coffee isn’t exactly new to me, obviously (since I’ve been drinking it since I was 12), but the Indonesian process is unique. Instead of bothering with coffee machines or presses or all that humbug, coffee is prepared by putting grounds directly in the cup and pouring in hot water. (I also suspect that the coffee is ground in a mortar and pestle, given the lack of small appliances.) This is almost always served sweetened; though you could probably ask for it not to be, the concept of unsweetened coffee — or any beverage — might be too much for a Javanese person to wrap their head around. (The Javanese seem to have a sweet tooth even stronger than Malaysians. I got a ginger tea at one coffee shop, and was offered sugar; when I tried the tea, I found that it was already sweet, and the sugar was in case it wasn’t sweet enough.) I normally take my coffee black, but with the stronger Indonesian stuff (did I mention that the grounds are in your cup?), a little sugar isn’t so bad.

Sadly, I missed my chance to try kopi luwak, the famous (or infamous?) “civet cat coffee” that’s the most expensive comestible to have been processed through the digestive tract of a small, adorable mammal. (And yes, that’s really how it’s made. Don’t be fooled by the Vietnamese version, which skips the luwak in favor of the lab.) Guess I’ll have to wait for my next trip to Indonesia.

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One Response to “Java in Java”

  1. Nate @ House of Annie May 12, 2011 at 9:57 am #

    from what I hear, kopi luwak is nothing special.

    Malaysians really like their drinks sweet. I have to remember to order mine “kurang manis” (less sweet) or else it’ll be a sugar bomb. Annie gets her drinks “kosong” (no sugar) and adds Splenda.

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