To Java Raung’s HQ
Jember to Bondowoso only took one hour in black-and-new Toyota Avanza which belong to Yusri. And also there is Willy and Mono both from Kediri and we start our trip from Puslit Jember at midnight last Friday. I am using this opportunity to meet with H. Sumarhum, a well-known figure bot only in Bondowoso, but also gains a top position in Gabungan Asosiasi Petani Perkebunan Indonesia (Gaperindo) on national level. This person is a central figure for farmer groups in Bondowoso which tasted the up-and-downs of this business, start as a farmer who rent on other people soil until he can buy his own farm, and the person who is always there if farmers needed his help.
Bachelor Degree become a coffee farmer ?
On the way to Bondowoso with cloudy and moist weather, Yusri told his story on how he end up becoming a coffee farmers, a job that he always refused even there is a family heritage on it. As a Bachelor Degree why should I become a coffee farmer was the only reason why he refused it. “I wanna prove to my parents that I can be successful, but not as a coffee farmer” saysYusri.
He starts his job as a delivery driver for vegetables to main market and saw a good opportunity in it, so he became involve right away. A decision that not so approved by his father, Sumarhum, but his father doesn’t take any action.
The quest as a vegetable supplier makes him famous across main marker in Java island and starting to got various demands. Cabbage from Bondowoso is very famous, until one day the payments begin to stuck due to local bookie tries to play with this new comer from Bondowoso. Hundreds of million Rupiah from selling Sumarhum car, which he use as a marketing fund, has vanished.
I have to payback My father money that I usedfor a capital.
Because he has to payback the money to his father, he do not dare come back to his homeland and only has two million rupiah that he loan from a friend, he started his business again from the beginning. His business only around a local market in Tangerang, but luck hasn’t got to him. Along with his wife, Dita, he lives in small house. Then he have to come back to Bondowoso due to his wive illness after living in smallpalce for almost six months.
Upon returning to Bondowoso, he was asked to deliver coffee to Anomaly Café by Sumarhum. This turns out to be the turning point of his life as he feels good vibration from café’s aura. “I recently always dealing with people in local market without caring for clothes, whereas in the world of coffee is totally different”, that was his thoughts after sitting for a long time at AnomaliCafe in Jalan Senopati, Jakarta, and then he went home to Bondowoso.
Back to coffee farming
Sumarhum smiles when he notice that his son has wanted to try this. And let Yusri sold his truck as a capital. Yusri used the money to buy all the processing coffee utilities near his house which he still use today. One of his friends told him to open a blog cikopi.com and this is how I met him last April. He tell a funny story when participating a event held in Surabaya with Governor Soekarwo attends. Suddenly, the governor comes to his booth and notices on syphon and ask Yusri to demonstrate it. Yusri just bouht that machine and doesn’t know how to use it. Fortunately his laptop is connected to internet and he can demonstrate it while looking on a website.
At half past three on afternoon we eventually arrive at Yusri’s house and couple of moments later Sumarhum welcomes us with fried banana and a coffee from french press. “My mother has to use Hario because she thinks the coffee grounds really filtered compared to other brands so it taste nice”. According tioYusri, his mom was only consumes coffee for one time, now since using Hario’s, his mom regularly drinks about 3-4 times a day. Not only his family, his employees also had Hario’s fever even though it has cost him 6 broken machine.
To the coffee plantation and Iwan’s father
Only a brief conversation with Sumarhum berfore we switch vehicle to tougher Daihatsu Taft to begin our journey to arabica coffee plantation with 1000 metre of altitude. After 45 minutes we got to the last village and switch again to motorcycle dur to rough terrain. Farmers with Maduranese languanges maybe feel strange to see group of city boys entering their village. But they all greet us very friendlyeven they use Maduranese language. A guy with mustache and muscular figure has greet us first and then we know him as Iwan’s father. He was call that because his son named Iwan Fals, a singer that he always admire.
“Iwan’s father is the guardian of this plantation” says Yusri. Sometimes this field has a hostile visitor when harvesting and they tries to rob us using a machete. For this particular reason, Iwan’s father has a reputation on the village as he once defeated the three robbers bare hand. Not only that, he also experts in hunting and tracking wild animals on the area.
This trip continues with motorcycle and I chosen Iwan fals to be my driver on standard factory bike. Willy confident with his choice to ride motorcycle himself, while Yusri with Mono.
Midway to the journey, we stop for a while and Yusri shows us one of many variety coffee plantaion which is not to length and his plan to change it from robusta to arabica. Our journey ends about 45 minutes when we arrived in a little “hut” which is Yusri’s daily headquarters. An oldman then comes and Yusri introduce him as Mar, one-acre farmer, small size for commercial. “Take your friend to taste my coffee”, probably that what he said to Yusri in Maduranese, which we soon agrred.
The beginning of this journey is quite fun although the roas is very slippery due to rain yesterday. Cold air started to felt and I know from the farmers here that we are located 1200 metres above sea level. Soon the road started to narrow with width about 20 metres, on the side of the road is bushes and sometimes small gorges. Roads ascends and Willy’s bike is getting difficult to handle and sometimes slips as Iwan Fals smiles.
45 Minutes to 1600 metres
In order to get there quickly, Iwan speeds up his bike that was carrying me and left everybody behind. Up here, this road is his daily routes and carrying me is not a big deal for him. “If I carry 150 kg coffee its hard because of the wight and road condition” he said, “But I used to it”, while shimmering. But the further up, the colder the air was with fog and I forgot to bring a jacket.
Mar only lives with his faithful wife on a small hut not more than 30 square metres. There are no living room, just a simple divan where they sleeps and straight with kitchen utensils that they use daily. No radio nor tv because electricity is a rare thing in mountains, but this married couple always looks out for their soil and has been living here for years.
He then asked his wife to boil water and soon we got a cup of hot coffee in climate about 15℃ and 1600 meters above sea level.for some people this is usual, but for us then, coffee acts as symbol for finding one’s true self while enjoying coffee with person like Mar, and his colleagues. I am sure you’d agree with that.
Reni Farida dan kendang kempul Sumiyati
We have to get back to avoid unfriendly fog and drizzle while saying goodbye to Mar and his wife. Back at the basecamp almost 7 PM and already there is dinner served. Menus are corn rice, young bamboo soup, fried noodles, vegetables bean and crackers in Iwan’s father’s house. Cold air makes stomach really hungry and all those food rapidly gone, with a laughter with our host and few neighbors.
Unfortunately, back then, radio didn’t play Pantura artists such as Reni Farida or Sumiati with their songs “Mendem Roso” and “Cemeng Manggis”. But this is the end for a closure in a trip and a little adventure on Java Raung Headquarters and “P”.
Civiliation in their hand
I have been multiple times visiting arabica coffee plantation, but Bondowos give me a quite remembrance for reviewing my meaning to the meaning of a cup of coffee. Agricultural proffesion like Bondowoso’s coffee farmers it is not for those who give up easily. Harsh nature, lack of infrastructure, risk being rob and wild animals, not forget to mention the risk if harvesting gone bad, yet despite all of that, they always try to survive.
Let me enjoy their and other farmers coffee freely because maybe we tend to forget, as Daniel Webster says, people like Mar, Arham, Iwan’s Father, Iwan Fals and Yusri are the main core of a civilization that makes us enjoy a lifestyle of coffee drinking.