THE COFFEE CULTURE IN BELITUNG

Image by Waldemar Bajda from Pixabay 


Coffee has been widely known in Belitung since the era of Dutch colonization. In those days, some merchants and Dutch soldiers brought the Arabica and Robusta coffee beans to Belitung and sold them to the locals. That’s why coffee has become an important part of societal norms on that island.

In the Dutch occupation, Café Senang is an elite hangout place in Tanjung Pandan Town. The staffs of the Tin Mining Company and the Europeans usually went there to have a cup of coffee in the morning or in the afternoon. Some cheap coffee shops were often visited by the laborers who worked at the Tin Mining Company.

The coffee shops in Belitung only sell black coffee and coffee with milk. Coffee lovers can also buy some traditional cakes and nasi bungkus (banana leaf rice) for breakfast. You may smoke cigarette to add more pleasure and satisfaction because the traditional coffee shops use electric fans and all the windows and doors are open.

People like talking about business, everyday activities and politics or play chess at the coffee shops. Especially when the presidential election is approaching, the coffee shops will be full of politicians and political observers.

Every coffee shop in Belitung has its own way to make a cup of perfect coffee. The strong aroma can be smelled while you’re passing the shop by bicycle or motorbike. The coffee experts have their own coffee recipes and no wonder they can be so popular.

In Manggar, there’s the special place where a lot of coffee shops open 24 hours a day. Tourists who would like to taste the outstanding Belitung Coffee can go there whatever time they choose. Some guys like drinking coffee in the evening or before dawn. Therefore, people call Manggar the Town of 1001 Coffee Shops.

It is said that drinking coffee can improve energy levels and make you smarter. It’s not surprising that many well educated people, businessmen and celebrities like coffee a lot. Coffee can also drastically improve physical performance, so that you may drink a cup of bitter coffee before going to the gym. Besides, there are still a great number of advantages and disadvantages of drinking coffee. Drinking coffee isn’t good for some illnesses. Coffee should be avoided if you have gastric ulcer.

The traditional coffee shops in Belitung still use longneck kettle and charcoal stove to boil water and brew aromatic coffee, while the roadside coffee stalls in Jakarta use hot water stored in a thermos to make instant coffee. The coffee lacks flavor if the water isn’t hot enough.

It’s so enjoyable to drink a cup of black coffee while reading newspaper or magazine at your favorite traditional coffee shop. Some young guys like talking about lifestyle and gossips at coffee break. Having roasted garlic bread with a cup of Arabica coffee is indeed fantastic.

Some tourists are fond of drinking coffee at Tanjung Tinggi Beach. They bring the coffee and fried peanuts they bought at the coffee stalls in the village. Eating fried peanuts and drinking coffee at sunset will give them another kind of sensation. You will be aware that life is so short but meaningful.

Belitung people call the coffee shop kedai kopi or kopitiam. If you go to Belitung Island, don’t forget to visit a kopitiam at your spare time. It’s a good opportunity to see the expert making hot coffee with the traditional method. Compared with the coffee shops in other regions and provinces, you’ll know that Belitung Coffee is really something.

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