Category Archives: Lembang

Cover Feature: Lessons in Life From a Coffee Grower (The Foodie Magazine, Mar 2015)

To honor the utmost effort given by the coffee farmers, The Foodie Magazine underwent an excursion to observe the great contributions they have given for us.

The envoy of the farmers was Yoseph Kusuniyanto, and this is his story.

Yoseph Kusuniyanto (5)

Ah, coffee and lifestyle nowadays. For several years now, we see people in suit dropping by at a famous chain coffee shop for their regular cappuccino takeaway, and in another place there are these hipster teenagers taking their compulsory Instagram shot on their piccolo with hands in frame and some croissant or cakes at a quirkily named, third-wave coffee bar.

Meanwhile at the same time, a fancy espresso machine is extracting some Central American single origin ground coffee and in one corner; a tattooed, slickly haired barista is demonstrating his skills with a 3D latte art. He’s surrounded by curious customers, ladies in particular.

It was fun right? Well, what we don’t know exactly is that it’s not all about the excitement of modern lifestyle at that end only. For once in a while, let’s see the flow backwards.

The roasters like Aroma, for example (since we also feature the owner in this issue), plays an important role in sustaining the lives of the farmers as well as the other end. Some modern roasters even gave more thoughts on how to cultivate specific standards that suits well with their and the consumers needs. They share their knowledge and needs directly with the farmers so at the same time they’re working to improve the overall quality of the coffee itself and the welfare of the farmers as well.

If it weren’t for these people, our side of the story may not as colorful as we think.

Yoseph Kusuniyanto (4)

Whatever came from this part, be it with other plants or coffee, it has a level of complexity that people often taken for granted. Meanwhile, there are heroes who spend long hours on the chilly, lonely part of the mountain to produce the best coffee who are often forgotten.

That’s why in this issue, we did some extra miles to see what they do and how their contribution can be remembered in history.

A coffee story to begin with

The slopes of highland Lembang after the rain was not only enchanting but the mist gave away the mystical aura you rarely see anymore living in the big cities nowadays. Although this hilly part of Bandung has now been developed into farms, rural housings, and tourist attractions such as ranches, theme parks, waterfalls to as far as Gunung Tangkubanperahu; it’s still charming and whimsical nonetheless.

Aside from being known as an area that produce vegetables, berries, milk and livestock; this highland has its share with our coffee world as well.

Yoseph Kusuniyanto (2)

Yoseph Kusuniyanto became our host that day who invited us to his humble abode for a cup of coffee and a story to begin with.

Years ago, it was never his intention to live a life as a coffee farmer but Pak Yoseph had been learning for a long time about farming, be it from books or from helping his friends out.

“Several years living in Jakarta working as an manager for a camera company was strenuous and stressful for me. I fell gravely ill and made a decision to withdraw to Bandung. It was a good call, since it took several years for me to recover fully and to finally taste my dream job”, said Pak Yoseph opening up his life story.

Now he’s in his late 40s. His hair has gone white, slim, and he has sleepy eyes. However, he appears like a figure that everybody could rely upon. He’s calm and collected as years of hardships have proved his mettle, but also educated with his experience as a farmer and a student of life.

Sometimes, he emanates this childish enthusiasm when talking about coffee and showed us his curiosity with each new thing that he just learned from us. We were lucky to bring a respected expert Adi Taroepratjeka with us. It’s as if they’re living their own world when talking about it.

“In the beginning, it was never easy. I used to become a pitbull breeder, sorting out my friends’ farms, and I even grew my own lily and rose”, he said. The latter at one point brought him immense success when several times he supplied the Presidential Palace needs for fresh flowers for events, but he stopped the flower business after reaching one point.

Until one time, a group of coffee farmers started to ask him to help and share his expertise as a green thumb. His coffee story finally began.

A farmer’s hardships

Our 4WD Cherokee finally reached the checkpoints at the edge of a pine forest. The stony road proved to be a no challenge for our adept off-road adventurer a.k.a The Foodie Magazine’s proud photographer, Dennie Ramon.

But there’s one other obstacle to tackle.

Pak Yoseph said specifically that we must respect whatever the guard has to say about letting us in or not. If he says we can go in with the car, then it’s a job well done.

Luckily, Pak Yoseph managed to convince the guy and spared us the fuss to walk the dirt path.

“Coffee farmers are accepted in this part of the forest because both Perum Perhutani (state owned forestry company) as the landowner welcomes improvements by enthusiastic outsiders like us. Kopassus, who is leasing some part of this land, also appreciates our work with the land and for taking care of the environments”, he said. “Even so, at times we would hear explosions and the soldiers training not far from our plot!”

We parked our car at one side of the road to explore the forest and continue to walk all across the coffee plantations owned by Pak Yoseph and his fellow farmers.

“Under these thick pine trees, the sunlight can’t get through well to support what the plants need. That’s why it may take longer to produce the coffee cherries”, he explained as we tread through the rough terrain. “The weeds are problematic as well. We had to share our fortune and pay the workers to clear things up for us once in a while. Luckily, I have formulated the effective way to put up with the cost, working hours, and the right timing to do that.”

In addition, Pak Yoseph did the extra mile to line up the plants so his plot looks tidier than other farmers. “At most, one worker could only plant around more than a dozen plants per day. Working in the mountain is not easy since the air is thinner here”, he continued.

Yoseph Kusuniyanto (3)

Pak Yoseph is currently growing Caturra beans from Brazil, an Arabica cultivar that has a high yield capability with wonderful flavor profile – naturally sweet with citric characters. We had several cups of it back at his home before and after we visited his farm. Did it the old fashioned tubruk way with sugar. Nice, but it was too dark roasted.

“From time to time, I offer thousands of seeds and fertilizer to people around here but they just don’t want it. What happened next was the seedlings went missing. I don’t know who did it but since then, I decided to cultivate the seeds at home first before planting them here”, said Pak Yoseph frowning.

On his backyard, he grows the seeds based on the criteria some Jakarta-based roasters asked. He’s now juggling between taking care of his plantations, catering the roaster needs, and his family as well. “Not only that the yielding capability of coffee is for long term, it also provides 90% of my family needs. The rest 10% I got from helping people with their farms. I am grateful for it”, he said.

On the horizon, the rainclouds were all that we could see. It started pouring down steadily as we head back to Pak Yoseph’s house. His wife had prepared us warm rice, good salted fish, and some home grown vegetables with delicious sambal. It was a lunch like we never had before and much more satisfying that I could ever ask.

Yoseph Kusuniyanto (1)

Life gives what Pak Yoseph and his family need by living a rural life as a hardworking farmer. Everything may seem simpler up here in the mountain, but it’s not without the challenge itself.

For Pak Yoseph, it’s a never ending cycle to learn more and contribute better for the society with quality coffee. Although sometimes he’s too shy to admit that, the farmers wouldn’t fare better without his counsel and hard work.

Now, the rest is up to us who can be the ones that support his work and appreciate each cup of coffee that passes us by in our lives. They all came from the tears and blood of the unsung heroes deep in the mountains.

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Featured in THE FOODIE MAGAZINE March 2015 edition

Download it for free here via SCOOP!

Photography by Dennie Ramon

TGA Teaser: The Invisible Coffee Plantation

Now, before I post the article about my very first visit to a coffee plantation, allow me to share some of the pictures taken during our road trip there. Here goes!

The coffee plantation lies hidden beneath the thick pine forest, uphill of Bandung. The surroundings were beautiful and serene. However, quite unfortunate for most – an entry here is forbidden unless you are a farmer or somebody from military.

After some intense research and helped by a prominent coffee master, I finally got myself a ticket to ride here with my entourage!

So, like I said before, here are the pictures and more on the story will be available soon on TGA!

Coffee Plantation - Situ Lembang 3 Coffee Plantation - Situ Lembang 1 Coffee Plantation - Situ Lembang 4 Coffee Plantation - Situ Lembang 2

The Escapist’s Getaway™: Lembang – Floating Market (Venture Travel Magazine, Oct 2014)

After an elephant theme park and a family horse ranch, now Lembang has become more attractive than ever with the appearance of Floating Market!

The highland town of Lembang feels like my second home, and I do think that other citizens of Bandung would feel the same way too. Back in my younger days, I’d head out here with my family to shop farm fresh vegetables with traces of dew that you can still see and of course, for the fresh milk and grilled sticky rice with the chili peanut sauce as a snack. Lembang is simply the place for a family day out.

Floating Market Lembang 4 Floating Market Lembang 5

It’s pretty much like what the people of Malang would think about Batu, but without the famous Jatim Park zoo. Back then, the charm of Lembang was because of its role as a hub for tourists heading for Mount Tangkubanperahu, Ciater, or Maribaya. Lembang has what families are looking for in weekends and it has since become the home for theme parks and resorts. Certainly when talking about the most current, it should be about Floating Market Lembang.

At a glance, Floating Market Lembang is more like a park with recreational amenities rather than real floating markets upon Mekong River or in Kalimantan. There are acres of open space with artificial lakes, trees, flowers, cabanas for rent, walkways, restaurants and other attractions.

Floating Market Lembang 1

The term ‘floating market’ is actually dedicated for its food court section situated by an artificial lake used for family recreational sports. Here you will see the lining up of small boats selling street food of many kinds from lumpia basah, satay, mie kocok, and burgers or Taiwanese fried chicken. This spot becomes so frequented by many in weekends and might be hard to navigate around, however the experience should be interesting.

Aside from food, there are also plenty of other activities for family and kids to try while visiting Floating Market. Kids can learn how to feed animals from swans, turtles, and also lambs; while also witnessing so many rabbits hopping around! Quite recently, to add more fun from eel fishing or flying fox, Floating Market Lembang just built a really elaborated train miniatures that would make anyone impress with the scale.

Floating Market Lembang 2

It’s a good change of view for the visitors of Lembang now and it’s good to know that there are more options for your family day out in weekends. It appears that with so many room to improve, Floating Market Lembang will continue to show its versatility by putting up something new from time to time. Enjoy your time there!

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FLOATING MARKET LEMBANG
Jalan Grand Hotel Lembang no. 33E, Lembang

Opening hours:
Mon-Thu 10am – 5pm
Sat-Sun 9am – 8pm

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Featured in VENTURE TRAVEL MAGAZINE July 2014 edition

Download it here via SCOOP!

Photography by Dennie Ramon

Quikskoop™: Ketan Bakar Lembang (Lembang, Indonesia)

So many years ago on almost every weekend, it has always been customary for my family to visit the wet market in Lembang in search for fresh vegetables and fruits. Since early morning, the grocers have displayed fresh carrots, cauliflowers, passion fruits, and many others still dusted with morning dew and so full of colors.

Meanwhile my parents haggle for the price, I took a walk with my siblings around the market to see the process of making fried tempe and oncom, looking for cold beverages, and of course, to have the ketan bakar.

Ketan Bakar Lembang - The Lady

I didn’t know how it was all started and why my parents specifically chose this particular lady who sells ketan bakar among others around her, but it has been proven that hers has always been the best, at least for my family.

Ketan bakar itself came from an soap-shaped glutinous rice, grilled, and then served with sauces such as a sweet peanut sauce, spicy peanut sauce with bird-eye chillies, and serundeng – fried grated coconuts. It has a complex layers of chewiness, sweet and spicy nutty texture, and crispiness from the coconut. When I was a kid, I didn’t like spicy food that much and I always asked her to give more of the sweet peanut sauce.

Ketan Bakar Lembang - Ketan Bakar

It has always been a treat for me. How can it not? The ketan bakar got sliced in the middle and all the sauces were put inside, then lastly, showered by serundeng. It’s the Sundanese definition of sandwich right?

Some twenty years later, when visiting Lembang has become a luxury for me who now live in Jakarta, I always give a chance to visit the market once in a while, although it happens only like one or a couple of times within a year.

Ketan Bakar Lembang - Peanut Sauce

When I arrived last time, everything was so different. What I once saw as a busy, thriving market now abandoned by many of the grocers and only a few remain there including my parents’ old vegetable grocer and the ketan bakar lady!

I can’t help but feeling a bit sad about what I saw there although the tourism have always been exciting here thanks to Lembang’s proximity with Gunung Tangkubanperahu and other places of interest such as Tahu Tauhid, De Ranch, fresh milk restaurants, and the current hype – Floating Market.

I greeted the lady with a warm smile and she remembered me still although it was probably a year since we last met. What impressed even more aside from her wonderful ketan bakar was that she still remembered my preference of having sweet peanut sauce albeit many many years had passed!

I sat by with my lovely wife and enjoy the ketan bakar which she love so much also and it became a routine for me to feed her the ketan bakar while we’re there. Last time it even became a romantic brunch for us even though only with this simple yet humble dish. I had my second and complement it with a fresh hot milk and my wife with a glass of bandrek susu. With the cool air and how everything feels easy in the countryside, everything that happened there was simply priceless.

“What will happen next with this market?”, I asked her and she said it may be renovated soon but she didn’t know where she will move her ketan bakar stall in the meantime. Of course, it made me sad to hear such thing especially that these hardworking, honest people have been around in this market for many years.

Time may have been cruel to some but from what I saw, she didn’t give that desperate look nor sadness. She chose to lead this way of life and enjoy every moment of it as much as we enjoy her ketan bakar. 

Now I can only hope that I will always have a chance to enjoy her ketan bakar for many years to come at her place, not only to seek for good food but also to reflect again whether we have contribute so much to the society so far or not.

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KETAN BAKAR LEMBANG

Halal-friendly

Suitable for vegetarians

Address:
Pasar Lembang, Jalan Raya Bandung-Lembang
Look for the lady according the the picture, among several other ketan bakar sellers.

Opening hours:
Early morning – late afternoon.

Spend: IDR 10,000 – IDR 15,000 / person.

Restaurant Review: Burgundy

It’s far and literally over the rainbow though worth the effort. Nicely designed and owing many thanks to the greatness of Mother Nature for providing such an excellent landscape of lush and beautiful greens, not to mention the freshness of mountain air and its cool breeze.

Originally heading for Selasar Coffee for the exact same reason. Good morning breeze, good coffee, and great place but the intersection gave me a temporary dilemma. To the right, Selasar and to the left, Burgundy. I took the risk right away by choosing to go left. It was a wondrous journey of climbing  up and up to the mountainous area that surround Bandung. Until I hit the newly established, but still vacant, resort town by Pramestha that miraculously gave the shortcut to Burgundy and to as far as Lembang!

Anyway, Burgundy would be a great place to spend your brunch time, lunch time, late afternoon tea or coffee, and even dinner though I pretty much opted for the broad daylight time of the day for the beautiful landscape since at night you can only have the romantic dinner minus the night lights of the city since this hilly side is on the other side of Bandung!

We came too early at 10 AM and the kitchen starts at 11 AM so we chose to have the coffee first. Mine’s would be the standard black coffee and my wife with her iced caramel latte which I actually amazed since it’s a bit chilly there. The service was supreme but at several occasions we were assisted by the not-so-confident staff. Though helpful and polite, he’s hesitant in ‘fulfilling our demands’ when we asked about olive oil and parmesan cheese.

The coffee itself was not that bad although they don’t have this gigantic coffee machine like you usually see at Starbucks or local coffee shops with extra budget for that kind of extravagance. While the black coffee is almost impeccable if it wasn’t for the high acidity rate. The coffee beans used to be Illy there but they don’t use it anymore. What a shame!

The caramel latte was not that impressive though but I would give them credit for the nice arrangement of it especially with the whipped cream, which however simple but it matters somehow. The caramel itself wasn’t of the best kind. I can sense a good caramel or not by the clear indication whether it tastes like a medicine or not. If it’s fresh and homemade or from the best brand, I can assure you that it’s good but when it feels like to taste a medicine fresh from the pharmacy then it’s not the best caramel. Hey coffee bars, it’s something you might want to think about!

Despite of all the good things you encounter at Burgundy, I was made petrified about how general Burgundy’s dishes are and how pricey all those that resides in it. The name Burgundy actually bears a huge responsibility. First of all, it’s a legendary region in France and that should make this place into a culinary haven of plenty of French flavor, plenty of great dishes and plenty of wine list. But they’re definitely lacking in the French section so they compensate it with a quite extensive wine list but however, not the food. It’s pretty limited, pricey, and too general.  But once again, this is my idealism and they own the place so you’d better not complain about it anymore. It’s one of their prerogative rights forgodsake!

As for our brunch, we picked a simple test of Italian pair of pasta and pizza. I opted for the Pepperoni Pizza (IDR 45,000) and her for the modest Tomato Pasta (IDR 30,000). Jeez.. They should have thought for better names but then again, it’s another series of their prerogative rights!

The taste was not special especially for the pizza no matter how you may succumbed with the fullness of your tummy for encountering 8 slices of a thin pizza baked halfheartedly. Thank God they invented olive oil to fix the mess. While the pasta itself was quite okay with the tomato sauce not too overpowering, light, but still fulfilling. We switched our dishes halfway since she preferred the pizza. Not too shabby but still requires research about how real Italian serves real pizza. And oh, don’t forget to learn more about the pasta as well.

For your lovely night you can have your usual fix of steak, poultry, and fish. The exotic side of Asian dishes are hefty priced so you might want to accompany your wine preferably with the Western dishes. They do however serve a very expensive dish of Wagyu steak for as high as IDR 1,000,000! But you gotta order it a day prior and still in doubt about everything since you wanted everything to be perfect because of the long journey so that one million rupiah steak better be good!

In all, as a Bandung citizen I’m proud that we’re now escalating into a new level but I still found it rather ‘uncultured’ if you compare it with posh eateries from Jakarta who designed their establishments carefully in style, picking cool names for the dishes, importing foreign chefs, excellent service, great food, and at the same time putting a hefty price for providing such luxuries. Here in Burgundy I found no heavy reason for the expensive price aside from the good service and the nice place. Perhaps you should put more weigh in those reasons and I can find my way back again to visit you. But for those of you who doesn’t pay too much attention for those stuffs, you’d still enjoy the place and the cool air though. Good for you then! 🙂

PS: I’m using the experimental lo-fi pics for this posts. Enjoy!

BURGUNDY DINE & WINE

Jl. Raya Maribaya no. 163, Lembang

RSVP : 022- 2787 126, 2787 126

Delivery Availability: Dine in only.

Website: http://burgundy.co.id

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000586870953&sk=info

Twitter: @burgundydine

Halal Meter: TBA

Vegetarian Friendly: TBA

Ambience & Interior: Everything’s great. The air is cool, the landscape is amazing, the decor’s good but they just lacking in…. vineyards! Which is understandable of course.

Service: Uneven while some staffs still in doubt about specifics such as olive oil or parmesan but some also have confident in countering my requests.

Pricing: TBA

Recommended Dishes: TBA

Reservation: Recommended especially for weekend.

Operating Hours: Mon – Fri 11 AM – 11 PM, Sat 11 AM – 12 AM, Sun 10 AM – 12 AM

Payment Methods: All cards accepted.