Coffee is a beverage brewed from roasted coffee beans. It is one of the most beloved beverages worldwide.
Many countries have created their signature coffee, like Café Cubano from Cuba. There's the Turkish and Irish Coffee, not forgetting America's renowned Starbucks iced coffee. Apart from the coffee bean used, coffees from around the world are also distinctive in how they are prepared and served.
Kupi Khop, the Upside-down Coffee
Kupi Khop or kopi terbalik, which translate as upside-down coffee, is known for its unique serving style. It is a specialty drink in the capital of West Aceh – Meulaboh. The coffee is brewed and stirred in a glass, then turned upside down on a plate.
Each Kupi Khop (hot and cold) is served with a straw because to drink it, one needs to slowly blow air into the glass with it. This allows the coffee to seep out onto the plate, and with the same straw, you then sip on the coffee on the plate.
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How is Kupi Khop prepared?
Kupi Khop uses coarse coffee beans of Robusta. Large chunks of beans are mixed with sugar inside the glass, then brewed with hot water before stirring. You can also add milk to it and ice if you want is cold. The final steps would be to place the plate on the glass and flip them upside down, and it is ready to be served.
How did this unique Indonesian sensation of drinking coffee come about? Legend has it that this unique upside-down coffee came from the old habits of Aceh men in the coastal areas. These men worked at sea, so they would always cover their coffee that way by flipping it upside down to keep their drink warm and clean.
It is the acidity of coffee that contribute to its aroma and flavour. The longer the coffee beans stay in the water, the more acid is extracted and released. Hence, it is also very likely that each time these men return to take a sip of their Kupi Khop, they taste better over time!
Kopi Joss, the Charcoal Coffee
Another must-try Indonesian coffee is Kopi Joss from Yogyakarta. This coffee is unique because burning charcoal is added directly into the cup of brewed coffee and served with it too! It is believed that the beverage is named after the sizzling sound of burning hot (red) coal plunging into the coffee.
To drink this unique coffee, one has to wait for a few minutes for the ember to cool down. Next, remove the charcoal and enjoy your cup of Kopi Joss. Do not leave the charcoal in there longer than a minute. Any longer, your coffee may taste really burnt!
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Indonesians have been making kopi joss for a long time. If you are looking for this traditional beverage, you will have better luck finding them from street vendors than in fancy-hipster coffee shops. Getting coffee from street vendors is very much part of the Indonesian coffee culture. The taste and aroma of coffee may differ slightly from stall to stall depending on how each vendor grounds, brew and filter the coffee.
Kopi Joss is usually made using coffee beans from Central Java. The charcoal dipped into the coffee is basically from the same burning charcoal the vendor uses to boil water. Our first thought would normally be, is that even safe and hygienic for consumption?! Most of us would remove burnt parts of any food!
The first thing to note is that "activated charcoal is not the same substance as that found in charcoal bricks or burned pieces of food". (Source: MedicalNewsToday) Surprised? We are too!
Kopi Joss was allegedly invented by a vendor who had an upset stomach. Knowing that charcoal has detox properties, he gave it a try by adding it into his coffee and to his surprise, it worked! He began to serve it to his patrons and more testified to its benefits. That is how kopi joss has become a novelty in the city of Yogyakarta.
According to the locals, the main benefit of burning charcoal in coffee is that it neutralizes acidity. Many have shared that it also adds a subtle caramel flavour to the coffee. For those who love coffee but suffer from conditions such as acid reflux and other gastrointestinal issues, kopi joss might just be for you!
Countries all over the world have their signature local coffees. A cup of local coffee could also go way back to tell stories of the culture and heritage of its people. So if you're a coffee-lover, be sure to add a local coffee tasting experience into your travel to-do list! STAY SAFE!!!