Jamu, the traditional medicine made from herbs and spices, has seen around a millennium of existence in Indonesia. Two young and creative minds from Jakarta decided to refresh and revive the passion again for the metropolis citizens and present us these refreshing drinks in form of a modern café.
Despite the fact that people nowadays, who live in the city, seem to believe more in modern medicine, you cannot simply set aside the fact that traditional jamu is still running strong within the veins of so many people in Indonesia – especially in Java.
From the oldie flicks back in three or four decades ago, there’s always a scene of people drinking jamu. Or there will always be the jamu peddlers who sell these potions from neighbor to neighbor by foot, although some of them use bikes and plastic bottles now. But of course, in-between houses you can always find a small jamu watering hole open until late night to keep you awake, if you know what I mean.
Traditional big jamu pharmaceuticals are known to employ technology on their jamu recipes. You can now find jamu in form of sachets, tablets, and capsules. In actuality, the tradition is far from gone and is kept alive strong, but is it still appealing for the so-called modern society nowadays?
That “traditional feel” is probably the reason why and that’s exactly why Nova Dewi, alongside with her business partner, decided to showcase jamu in form of a nice café, served alongside good coffee and good meals.
The catchy name, derived from a classic Javanese song, was chosen as the name for the café. Within a short period of time, Suwe Ora Jamu has gained prominence within the hearts of teens and young adults of Jakarta. Many of them became intrigued to try what their parents and grandparents have been enjoying all this time and chose to set aside their usual café drinks for this experience.
Suwe Ora Jamu concocts its own basic potions such as the beras kencur (galangal rice) and kunyit asem (sour turmeric) for drink-in and takeaways, but also provides other interesting options such as those that utilize tamarind, alang-alang (graminae), rosella, temulawak (curcuma), cabe puyang (chili and rhizome), and even vitality potions for husbands and wives.
For those who may be reluctant and afraid with the taste, the café also provides assorted shot glass-sized drinks for you to try. At anytime, you can always ask for honey to make it sweeter. So we guess that there’s no more excuse for not trying our proud ancestors’ drinks and revive the traditional values, in style. Cheers for good health!
SUWE ORA JAMU
Suitable for vegetarians
Jalan Petogogan no. 28, Jakarta – Indonesia
Everyday, mall opening hours
Spend: IDR 25,000 – IDR 50,000 / person
Featured in THE FOODIE MAGAZINE Oct 2014 edition
Download it for free here via SCOOP!