The Legendary of Aceh Coffee

Currently, Ulee Kareng coffee is available in a sachet, both for self-brewing and for travelling

Long before Arabica coffee become ‘well-known’ like nowadays, the culture of drinking coffee has become a hereditary tradition for Acehnese people. Many traditional coffee shops have already presented with typical coffee mixes.

Especially in Banda Aceh, Robusta coffee has already captivated the heart of coffee lovers in this Heritage City. Kopi Ulee Kareng (Ulee Kareng Coffee) has been stated as the icon for this legendary Aceh coffee.

The Robusta coffee is processed and produced in a place of traditional coffee processing at Simpang Tujuh (a seven-way intersection) area, Ulee Kareng. Currently, Ulee Kareng coffee is available in a sachet, both for self-brewing and for travelling. However, its sensation still can’t match the enjoyment produced by the traditional manual pour-over method of Ulee Kareng coffee which is known as ‘kupi sareng’.

This coffee is brewed manually. First of all, the coffee powder is put in sareng (a sieve) made from a fabric that is specially sewn in a cone shape. Then, the coffee is brewed with boiling water and filtered over and over until the aroma of its coffee appears.

Through this process, the coffee grounds will be filtered automatically. So, when the coffee is served, it does not need to be deposited anymore, not like the usual kopi tubruk (grounds black coffee).

These days, this kupi sareng (manual filtering coffee) becomes a favourite attraction for tourists, both domestic and international. The tourists, who come to Banda Aceh, intentionally visit this traditional coffee shop to view this traditional coffee brewing process. Even, they are so eager to try.

The traditional coffee shops are serving the Robusta coffee in that way until now. One of them is Solong coffee shop at Simpang Tujuh (a seven-way intersection) Ulee Kareng.

Toward this area, from Simpang Lima (a five-way intersection) Ulee Kareng, you only need a few minutes of walk. You will also find various other coffee shops along the road. At Ulee Kareng, you will also have chance to see Robusta coffee processing before being distributed to the coffee shops.

Robusta coffee beans are obtained from the coffee farmers in Aceh Jaya and Gayo. Every day, this home industry roasts the coffee beans manually all day long. The amount depends on the demand of each coffee shop.

The Robusta coffee from Ulee Kareng can also be a typical gift from Banda Aceh. There are also many coffee shops in Banda Aceh that sell the package of coffee grounds. So, you need to wait no more. []


Reporter: Munawar Hafizhi

Photographer: Mustawazir

Editor: Ayu ‘Ulya