Creativity Magazine

Kopi Magma, for the Magnificent Mount Malabar

By Aristippos

Looking at these pictures, you may think they were taken in New York City or in any of the modern western cities where baristi selfie-celebrate their talents and feel like hip professors in the marveled eyes of attentive guests, awaiting to taste specialty coffee of the third-wave kind, that they may picture and instagram it under #coffeeporn.

But these pictures were taken in the Eastern hemisphere - 7°02'39.4″S 107°33'57.2"E - right under the equator, on a historic and principal coffee island to the world. Namely, south of the capital of the West Java province, Bandung, between the towns of Cangkuang and Banjaran, and just a curvy ride away from Mount Malabar, where all things coffee began for the region in the late 18th century, when the Dutch brought coffee plants to the continent. And in honor of this coffee (and tea) mountain, Kopi Magma operates with knowledgable baristi who are not only passionate about brewing and serving coffee but about a product that grows in their very own neighborhood, often in their backyard.

The company name stands for magnificent Malabar, and Kopi Magma makes every effort to present their coffee and their culture magnificently. Aris, the owner, and Deri, owner of the nearby Kopimage ( instagram, facebook), delight in sharing with me the history but mostly the quality of their local coffees. They work directly with small farmers and are engaged in assisting them with the development of their land, with a focus on organic farming. They understand the importance of a prosperous community, while bringing Indonesian quality to the rest of the world.

Putra, a young and rising barista in the coffee and restaurant scene Jakarta's, put me in contact with some Bandung coffee farmers, coffee shop owners, baristi and enthusiasts, and we all sat together a couple of hours eating, having coffee and chatting about coffee in the open air by Kopi Magma, before heading up to the altitude of 1,850 meters. Kopi Magma offers their coffee in the context of the science and technology that Italians and Japanese have contributed to the coffee world. Order an espresso and they will master the espresso machine; order an iced shot, they will meticulously prepare it for you with the Japanese method. Yet another possibility on their menu is cáscara.

Long before humans began roasting coffee seeds, they steeped the husk of the coffee berry in hot water. Today, east and west know it for the most part as cáscara (meaning peel in Spanish). In Bolivia it is called sultana, and in Yemen they add spices and call it qishr. But after having drank several cáscara infusions in the past, I find the one Kopi Magma produces to be exceptionally good. These coffee husks taste like coffee berries, while most I drank before, tasted more like prunes.

What a treat! Being in the middle of nowhere could equate to being in the middle of a relevant center. Thank you, Kopi Magma!


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