In the heart of Bandung, Indonesia, locals would wait in front of a traditional coffee roaster, Aroma Koffie Fabriek, for a bag of fresh coffee beans, before they go home and brew their morning cuppa. The roaster doesn’t even sell a cuppa.
For these folks, the wait is all worthwhile, knowing that the bags of Arabica beans are of the highest quality from the local farmers which have been handpicked by the owner of the roaster and aged for eight solid years to develop the aroma. The aged coffee beans are later roasted in a German made ball-shaped roaster over rubber wood fuel, slowly but sure, to create brew that is low in acidity and fragrant. The whole coffee making process is a promise that Aroma Koffie Fabriek has been keeping for the past 80 years or so.
The man behind this humble business is Widyapratama Tanara, or simply known as Widya. The factory was founded in the thirties by his late father, Tan Houw Sian, who learned the art of coffee roasting from his Dutch boss during the colonial era. After several years of apprenticeship, Mr Tan started his own business using the same model, method and equipment. However, he had a guiding force – noble business ethics.
Young Widya took over the business in 1971 when his father passed on. He had everything he needed to run the business, both expertise and passion which he had been sharpening since young. By putting his heart and soul to the factory, the business grew bigger, but everything remains the same at Aroma – the warehouse with stacks of aged coffee beans, the roaster and the coffee-brown uniforms. He even ensured every process is not compromised, and done in old honest fashion.
The highly-flavored aroma of coffee will greet us as we approach a small-old door at a corner of Banceuy street. This is an age-old area that has long been present in the midst of the dynamic growth of the city of Bandung.
The “Aroma” coffee factory, established in 1930 in the Dutch East Indies era, is almost indistinguishable as it is located on a street side covered by parked vehicles and flanked on its left and right by automotive shops. For those whose main purpose is to discover and enjoy the original-organic coffee, extra attention must be paid so as not to miss this petite culinary establishment.
Around lunchtime, there will be people queuing up to buy the coffee. They will only be allowed to buy a maximum of five kilograms of coffee. Purchase is limited, so that more people can enjoy the freshly roasted Aroma coffee. This was asserted by Mr. Widyatama, a third-generation owner of the Aroma Coffee Factory.
Varieties of coffee come from all producing lands in the country, such as from Java, Sulawesi, or East Nusa Tenggara. What makes it so distinguished is that all supplying farmers and producers have been in business with the factory since their first generation of trade. It is therefore safe to say that currently the third-generation of the Aroma coffee factory is in collaboration with the fourth-generation of coffee farmers.
Such a long tradition of coffee business.
Indeed, sipping a cup of Aroma coffee is not how to maximize the pleasure of it. There are stories and long tradition behind each cup of coffee worth to know and share while we enjoy it in a wonderful afternoon at the city.
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