Depati VII Coffee Jambi, Coffee on high – fresh-brewed at 1,453 m asl

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Jambinese miniature house and granary
Other than the Jambinese miniature house and granary, traditional coffee-related equipment from Kerinci is also on display. Photos: Freddy Wally

Jambi, IO – The Regency of Kerinci, located on the Western border of the Province of Jambi, directly abutting the Province of West Sumatra, is blessed with many natural tourist attractions. One of these is Depati Tujuh Coffee, more commonly written as “Depati VII Coffee”, located right at the entrance of the Kerinci Seblat National Park. 

“Up here, visitors can enjoy the sensation of drinking freshly brewed coffee at an altitude of 1,453 meters above sea level. When it’s bright out and there’s no fog, you can even see Mount Kerinci in the distance out north,” said Jamin Safdi Mardi, the coffee shop’s owner who gracefully spared time for us from the Independent Observer that afternoon. 

Having coffee at Depati VII Coffee is a nostalgic, deliciously melancholic experience. It is a distinct romance born out of its consistently cool weather, with its frequent rains and fogs. With its tagline of “sekepal tanah dari surga” (“a piece of Heaven”), this coffee shop serves items that you won’t find in other places’ menus. Most popular among these is the cinnamon latte, which Jamin created to make use of the cinnamon trees that grow abundantly around his café. “Our cinnamon latte, which we abbreviate to ‘C2L’, is a truly local product. I noticed that cinnamon grows plentifully in the Kerinci area, but it is not at all highlighted. Well then, I thought to myself, ‘Why don’t I mix coffee with cinnamon?’ We serve our cinnamon latte the traditional way – using bamboo mugs and coconut shell cups.” 

The wild
The wild, solemn atmosphere that makes the coffee taste even better.

As a romantic coffee shop, Depati VII offers suitable snacks and dishes to complement their coffee: special fried rice, fried banana, tofu in crispy batter, noodles, and ayam geprek or “fattened chicken”. “To protect the local wisdom and values, as well as to introduce Jambinese culture especially in Kerinci, we serve local dishes like lemang bakar (grilled glutinous rice cakes),” Jamin said. 

Here, visitors can try out original Kerinci coffee brews made using various methods: espresso, V60, plain, Vietnamese drip, or Frenchpressed. Other than its proximity to a natural preserve, Depati VII Coffee is an attractive destination, because it is surrounded by an active coffee plantation. Furthermore, they feature a tree house, a mini museum on Jambinese culture, and camping grounds. 

That rainy afternoon, we inspected Depati VII’s active plantation. “We are growing both Arabica and Robusta-type coffees here. Highland climate is more suitable to grow Robusta beans, while the Arabica ones grow slower here. We harvest our beans once a year and use part of the take to supply the café. We consume at least 30 kilograms of coffee beans a month for our products,” Jamin said. 

Depati VII Coffee
Depati VII Coffee, where you get to enjoy warming coffee, safe from gray fog and cold rain.

Coffee trader Jamin took us to inspect the tree house he deliberately constructed to enhance his business: “From up here, you can see Mount Kerinci and Mount Danau Tujuh in the distance clearly, during nice weather. That’s how I got my idea for the logo to brand my Depati VII coffee. I chose the name ‘Depati Tujuh’ – ‘seven Adipatis or Deputies’ in honor of the seven adipati – founding fathers of Jambi,” he said. 

Depati VII Coffee grounds is quite a large facility, at 2 hectares. If they so wish, visitors may stay the night in the camping ground and explore. “If you choose to stay the night at Depati VII, it will be easier for you to hike around the forests of Bukit Tapan and the Kerinci Seblat National Park to view the endemic avian ecosystem of the region. Kerinci Seblat, Mount Leuser, and South Bukit Barisan National Parks are all protected as UNESCO Natural Heritage Sites.” 

Jamin’s fervent creativity allows him to establish Depati VII Coffee as an educational leisure and education tourism site for people who want to learn about Jambinese culture more deeply, especially in the Kerinci region. It contains a miniature Jambinese rice granary and home, traditional coffee grinder, and it even features local wild animal neighbors like musang civets and local birds. In this natural coffee depot, visitors can see coffee made from scratch: “I take my visitors to see how their cup is grown and developed: I show them how we plant and care for coffee; how the plants start to flower and bear fruit; how to pick the coffee berries properly; how to dry and roast coffee,” he said. 

Entry to this unique getaway spot is quite cheap at IDR 10,000.00. This fee includes parking and selfies in the tree house, the coffee plantation, seating in the café proper, as well as use of the saung or gazebo. 

Interested in visiting? This hideaway is located in the hills right before the Kerinci Seblat National Park, about one hour’s drive from Sungaipenuh town, with either two- or four-wheeled vehicles. Take the Tambak Tinggi road, use the Sungaipenuh National Road in the direction of Tapan town, and you’ll see the turn towards the Park clearly marked. 

As always, please maintain proper health protocols: keep your distance from other visitors, keep wearing your medical masks, and properly and frequently wash your hands when you’re at Depati VII Coffee. Have fun exploring the exotic taste of coffee on high, right at the doorstep of Kerinci Seblat! (fred)