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  • Syiva Zahra

The Distinctive Brewing Technique of Kopi Tubruk


(Image credits: simplygroup.co.id)


Being one of the largest coffee bean producers in the world, Indonesia has at least more than 10 kinds of beans that is native to the country. Kopi Tubruk is one of Indonesia’s most famous and simplest black coffee. The coffee originated in the 17th century, when The Dutch introduced Arabica coffee via their governor in Malabar, India. The coffee seedlings were later planted by the Dutch Governor in Batavia (currently Jakarta), but it did not flourish because of Batavia’s constant flooding issues. However, later on, the Arabica coffee seeds were successfully planted and exported by the VOC (Vereenigde Oostindische Compagnie) in 1771.

The word Tubruk comes from the Javanese language which means "to collide". Some of the coffee grounds that are "hit" with hot water and sugar are added to the already-in-the-glass grounds. It's simple to make Tubruk coffee because hot water, coffee grounds, and granulated sugar are all mixed together at the same time. Additionally, Tubruk can also refer to bumping, because at the time, modern grinders were not accessible and were only owned by the Dutch. A tool, specifically a pestle and mortar, were used to pound the brewed coffee beans until they are crushed. Most people ranging from daily drinkers to professional connoisseurs prefer to use this coffee-making method as it allows the true taste and aroma of the coffee


According to the history of coffee-brewing, Kopi Tubruk was first introduced by traders from the Middle East in the colonial era. If you look closely, it almost resembles the Turkish Coffee/Ibrik brewing technique. The difference is that Ibrik is heated directly on top of hot sand in a container with coffee and water. Initially, Java and Bali were the origins of Tubruk coffee, where in the Bali region this type of brew is known as Kopi Salem (black coffee). Tubruk coffee has spread widely across the archipelago over time and has also been influenced by the migration of the population.


In the modern coffee industry setting, Tubruk method is often compared to Coffee Cupping. How do these two things correlate? Coffee Cupping is a method to analyze the characteristics of a certain coffee, and it is brewed using the Tubruk method. What makes it different is Tubruk coffee is made using medium ground coffee beans, while coffee cupping requires coarse coffee grinds. According to baristas, Kopi Tubruk is best served 3-4 hours after the beans are freshly roasted, with 10 grams of coffee powder and 200 milliliters of hot water.


Nowadays where coffee shops have become a major percentage of people’s expenses, Kopi Tubruk sometimes still stands out when compared to foreign recipes such as lattes or americanos. People are also starting to go back to traditional-themed coffee houses such as Kopi Klotok in Jogja, where it is famous for its Kopi Tubruk Klotok, which is commonly served along with banana fritters. Despite the evolving recipes of coffee, Kopi Tubruk is still special for Indonesians to enjoy due to its authentic form, and people love authenticity.



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