A traditional healthy beverage with healthful properties: The new urbanite trend

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The restaurant has a traditional design giving it a calming ambience. (photo: IO/Aldo)

IO, Jakarta – Although modern medication is the primary choice of capital citizens, some people still put on their beliefs over the advantage of traditional remedies. It is still common to discover people drinking herbal beverages to boost body immune or merely maintain their health condition. On a special term, Jamu often referred as Indonesian traditional drinks, in which lately being popularized as herbal drinks or herbs. Jamu is made from natural ingredients, part of herbaceous plants such as rhizomes (roots), leaves, tree bark, and fruit. Some of its kind mixed with animal substances, such as goat bile, snake bile, or male alligator’s genital organ. Oftentimes egg yolks are also used for additional ingredients.

In fact, Nova Dewi Setiabudi, the owner of Suwe Ora Jamu said, this year, jamu’s popularity is rising among Jakarta’s crowd. At her own shop, she often found many visitors ordering traditional herbal mixtures, from young people to the adults. “I think this moment was driven by the increasing people awareness of healthy-living as well as the importance of consuming natural raw-based drinks,” she told the Independent Observer, Monday (5/3/2018).

Nova Dewi Setiabudi Mathovani with her husband, Uwi Mathovani, is the founder of Suwe Ora Jamu, a herbal medicine shop serving a variety of herbs and traditional dishes. Today, Suwe Ora Jamu has four branches in Petogogan, Bentara Budaya Jakarta, Warung Jati, and Salihara, all spread evenly in Jakarta.

The name was chosen, according to Nova, as a kind of indirect expression, “These words show a wistful longing for jamu drinks. Hopefully, by this name, this shop could become a place where we enjoy sips of jamu while also having a conversation with friends in a fairly comfortable place.”

Meanwhile, a vintage concept was also grounded as the main theme of this herbal shop. Growing as a child who lives in such a modest way, back in the day she already familiar with her grandmother’s old furniture, therefore she wants to carry on these childhood memories in her own shop. Nova’s family house at Jalan Bubutan Gang 5, Surabaya, was built in 1890, has been well preserved to date and the originality also remains. Therefore, this place often visited by architectural students as a historical research object.

The homey vibes arise when entering the shop building. Since its establishment in 2013, this shop consists of two old-nuanced rooms, the first floor which illuminated by a yellow dim light, and a third floor occupied with several open windows. The entire room decoration is dominated by brown and monochrome colours. There are several posters and old paintings on the walls, as well as a variety of antique items displayed in a glass cabinet or placed in the room corners.

Apart from providing fresh jamu to be directly consumed on the shop, Nova also supplies ready-to-drink jamu bottles. She was aware of the increasing daily orders towards her bottle-based products since she opened shipping out of town and local delivery services via online taxis. However, she is able to maintain the production of 200 bottles per day, assisted by 25 people in its production process. Up to this day, she still preserves a homemade approach on the production line, with the manual brewing method to blend raw materials and the likes of natural spices.

Suwe Ora Jamu Shop is charging 30 thousand rupiahs per bottle (330 ccs). There are eight jamu variants offered, encompassing kunyit asem [turmeric], hot ginger drinks, beras kencur, rosella, alang-alang, asem jawa [tamarind], temulawak, and kayu manis [cinnamons]. Special jamu for adult men and women is also available with the likes of galian putri montok and ginseng prakoso. These products are highly demanded not only by Jakarta customers but also requested by consumers from surrounding cities and islands. In fact, these products have also penetrated foreign markets like Malaysia, Singapore, United States, and other regions.

Healthy living trends are popular among urban societies. Natural-based food and beverages are often becoming their top of mind. This condition is a blessing for jamu industries, especially who provides the ready-to-drink product. More people are consuming jamu to maintain stamina and body health. Moreover, “It feels good and not bitter,” said Intan Apriliani, a jamu consumer.

Novi Setio Budi, the owner of Suwe Ora Jamu, claims that jamu is a prosperous business, given that it has always been popular among locals and the consumers itself are beginning to rise. She spotted that a number of young people possessed with such curiosity and willing to try new variants along the way. In fact, 70% of the shop consumers are young people. The herbal medicine ingredients which she often acquired are the various rhizomes from Simpenan Village in Pelabuhan Ratu, while brotowali and jati belanda were supplied from East Java and Central Java plateau.

Besides, there is a mutual partnership with Udayana University as the campus will planting raw materials of herbs, in which later the harvested crops would be bought by Suwe Ora Jamu. Suwe Ora Jamu also established cooperation with Jamu Iboe who supplies bitter herbs. Previously, Nova had conducted a research in 2012, following the preparation of the store establishment, which showed jamu consumers were around 40 to 60 years of age. The aim to introduce jamu to the public, especially the younger generation, is currently progressing further as it previously initiated.

(Muhammad Akbar)