Feature: A Chinese-Indonesian family's coffee dream

Source:Xinhua Published: 2015-7-26 21:17:41

Kapal Api is the best known aboriginal coffee brand in Indonesia and Southeast Asia. Its history is also one of the family's struggle for survival and dream of prosperity.

Go Soe Loet, founder of the coffee business, set his foot for the first time on the land of Surabaya port in 1920, when he was a 16-year-old youngster from Fujian, southern China. He made a living by selling vegetables on the roadsides.

In 1927, he started to sell self-roasted coffee. He carried coffee in a wooden yoke and peddled his products on foot in villages and harbors more than 10 km away. Most were sold to ship crew.

His eldest son, Go Tek Yok, used Kapal Api as a brand for his father's coffee in 1957 and wood was used as fuel for roasting coffee then.

The year 1979 saw the establishment of PT Santos Jaya Abadi, one of the largest coffee roasting companies in Southeast Asia. Now, it accounts for over 60 percent of the market share in Indonesia.

"My father established the business and we want to expand its business more and more," he told a Chinese delegation in the factory Sunday morning.

"From 80 years of experience of roasting coffee, tasting coffee and finding the best coffee from Indonesia and other parts of the world, we proudly offered some of the world's finest whole bean coffee made available to the market," the company said in its introduction pamphlet.

Nowadays, the company uses modern technology from Germany in coffee roasting and high expertise in coffee grinding.

Coffee freshness is part of its superb quality that must never be compromised. The company believes in coffee freshness and takes it as the company's sublime mission.

"We believe that building a roasting factory right in the heart of where the consumption takes place is the key to achieving the quality we wanted. This is the ultimate reason behind our decision to establish our second roasting plant in Karawang," some 120 km from Jakarta, it said.

Now, the company boasts the latest computer control technology in roasting, an advanced complete set of coffee cleaning machines, and modern water-cooling grinding machines.

"This is a family business and we strive for perfection," Go Tek Yok told Chinese visitors.

He said the company uses only the finest selection of coffee beans and its professional coffee testers check every bean to identify its taste. Each type of coffee is unique and must be roasted with different recipes, in a way that produces its excellent aroma of coffee.

To meet demands of the younger generation, the company expanded its investment by establishing an instant coffee plant and installed the world's leading manufacturer of instant coffee from Denmark.

The progress of an era has generated the changing lifestyle, the pamphlet said.

The finest varieties of coffee are grown in the countries close to the Equator.

In 1986, it acquired an abandoned coffee plantation from Dutch legacy in Toraja, South Sulawesi. The company decided to grow coffee in 1,200 hectares of mountain slope at an altitude of 1,500 meters above sea level.

The company's growth and expansion over the past decades is a typical story of coffee dream.

It is also a miniature of the survival history of Chinese Indonesians in the last century, reflecting the hardships they underwent and the strenuous efforts they made towards personal achievements and family prosperity.

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