The Magical Tale of Coffee

Travel14 August 2018

By Adelia Ayu

The Magical Tale of Coffee

Our journey to Kawisari Coffee Plantation revealed the magical story that deeply touches the cultural and spiritual aspects of coffee beans.

Discovered in Ethiopia back in the 11th century, the red, cherry-like fruit had blossomed all over the globe and formed unique taste notes since then. At 900 – 1000 Meter above the sea level in Malang, the magical tales of coffee are passed through generations and celebrated through an annual holy ceremony at Kawisari Coffee plantation owned by Tugu Group at Blitar, East Java.

We started the journey from the first altar at the mountain slope where Javanese legendary tales such Lembusuro Maesosura came from. Wishful prayers in Kejawen, Hindunese, and Arabic are whispered through the incense filled-air. Punden (places where mountain holy spirits belong) is placed in three different places around the mountain, including the plantation main house’s front yard.

The crucial part comes when traditional dancers, coffee pickers, factory workers, and ceremony leader head to second punden to start the marriage between Sri Gondel (bride) and Joko Gondel (groom) alongside 14 beans that represent Javanese primbon (horoscope) of Legi Saturday. Similar to those of wedding ceremonies, they held a feast by sharing berkat consisting of rice with various meat and vegetables—a symbol of prosperous future through the union of Sri and Joko Gondel.

Closing the ceremony with prayers and wishes, attendees celebrate the coffee harvesting by paying gratitude for the ancestor at an altar—facing towards the bright, sunny sky. With such a happy ending, the coffee ‘fairytale’ is not only a symbol of prosperity throughout the year, but also an eye-opening journey beyond imagination.

PHOTOS Courtesy of Hotel Tugu Malang