With the way people need and revere it, you’d think coffee was prescription medication. The effects? Alertness, increase in focus, and an overall better mood. Sure there are some people who can’t function without coffee, but there are also those who seek it for the simple joys it provides.
At one Jogjakartan coffee shop, caffeine is prescribed as a breather instead of a brief wakeup call. A quaint house just north of the hustle and bustle of one of the city’s busiest universities, Klinik Kopi is where Jogja’s coffee-appreciative go for a cup of coffee and meaningful conversation. Simple in appearance, the main fixture of the shop is Mas Pepeng, the owner slash barista who greats every customer at the door with a warm greeting and a number.
Why a number? Well, this is a clinic. Mas Pepeng sees to each customer one by one as a doctor would at a clinic, and therefore everyone must wait their turn. Once your number is called, you’ll be ushered in to the cozy confines of Mas Pepeng’s living-room-turned-coffee-bar where he’ll tell you the coffee he’s serving at the moment along with their individual characteristics. You could pick for yourself, or entrust Mas Pepeng with the choice by telling him what you’re looking for – or ask to be surprised! From there, he and his trusty assistant (or shall we say nurse) will get brewing.
No espressos or lattes in sight, the only brewing method available is the pour over, made with Mas Pepeng’s own clay Koka dripper. Simple as it is, the unfussy brewing method brings out not only the best of each coffee, but also stories about the people who grew them. You see, with each cup of coffee, you’re bound to get a back story of how that cup came to be – where the coffee originated from, how it was processed, and even the characters of the farmers. Besides being passionate about brewing, Mas Pepeng is also passionate about forging strong, transparent relationships with the people who represent the backbone of the coffee world.
Of course, the system set in place at Klinik Kopi means that Mas Pepeng can only serve so many people in a day, but he’s one to vouch that coffee really is an experience made to be shared and not a standard commodity to be served and consumed in a rush. To him, coffee deserves better.
Alas, there’s only so much time Mas Pepeng can spend with one group before having to move on to the next so feel free to finish your cup of coffee lesehan style (sitting down on the floor) or in the garden. From what I’d observed, most people were not in a rush to down their coffee. Instead, people took their time reading, talking to friends, or from the looks of it, contemplating the meaning of life (no, really). It must be something in the coffee – something other than than caffeine.