IO – Most of us don’t really know that the Karo Highlands in North Sumatra grows its own coffee. Karo coffee has a distinctly fruity flavor, thanks to the proximity of coffee plantations to fruit orchards, such as orange and strawberry. Berastagi, the center of coffee plantations as well as a deservedly famed tourist destination for those heading to North Sumatra, and especially Medan, also “grew” coffee houses to express its welcome of tourists. Imagine sipping on fragrant, exotic Karo coffee in cool Berastagi, a town with a minimum temperature of 13o Celsius at night. There is a sense of meditative stillness there.
This sensation is precisely what Junius Ivan Buci, founder of Kalamera Coffee Space, sought to present in his Medan coffee house. “We opened Kalamera on 20 December 2021, after various surveys that included an inspection of coffee plantations for possible supply here in Karo land,” he said.
Kalamera Coffee Space was supposed to open in mid-2021. However, a second wave of the pandemic forced Ivan to delay his dream of opening in downtown Medan. “The hiatus period forced me to continue walking around, to deepen my knowledge of coffee – as well as to discern an optimal taste and concept for my future business. I lived in Berastagi area too for a while, to talk with coffee growers and learn more about how to make delicious coffee,” Ivan explained. “I named my space ‘Kalamera’ from a local species of anthurium that blooms freely in our highlands. It is a vibrant red oval cup of a flower, offset with a yellow ‘horn’ in the center.
This unique flower is locally called the ‘flamingo blossom’ even though it’s blood red instead of pink, because the cup is vaguely heart-shaped and people think pink when it comes to hearts. But in any case, this is the flower of my heart – it perfectly expresses my love for coffee and the love that I share with my customers in each cup my café serves.”
The Coffee Space is located near the Focal Point shopping center at the Ring Road of Taman Setiabudi Indah 2 Housing Complex, Block 11 Number 1C, Medan. It has two areas for visitors who want to enjoy the special taste of Karo coffee: an indoor space and an outdoor one. Indoor is minimalist and industrial, with 34 seats, while the two-level outdoor setting is set with 47 seats each. From the upper level, visitors can quietly observe the bustle of Medan City and even enjoy the skyline as the sun goes down, weather permitting.
Kalamera Coffee Space’s menu offers both hot and cold coffee drinks. “We have Kalamera Good and Green Bitter as our signature beverages, as well as non-coffee items like Red Velvet and Taro cakes,” Ivan said. “Kalamera Good is Karo coffee mixed with plain milk and palm sugar. With its thick, naturally bitter texture, the coffee smoothly blends in with the silky sweetness of natural palm sugar. Lovers of plain coffee will find it an interesting alternative, because its sweetness is not cloying or overpowering. Green Bitter is an innovation that we came up with when we mixed green tea with Karo coffee on a whim. Its exotic, fun taste made it a favorite among our regulars.”
Kalamera also has White Coffee items on the menu for those of us who don’t like strong, huge shots of caffeine: Tiramisu Latte, Hazelnut Latte, Caramel Latte, Vanilla Latte, Cafe Bombon, and Mochaccino. They also have the perfect choice of snacks to go with their coffee: French fries, shawarma, banana fritters.
Lovers of black coffee, especially single-origin based coffee, will get their choice of deep flavors in Kalamera. They can choose from “natural brewed”, “honey-brewed”, or “winebrewed”, made using filters or a V60 method. “A lot of people don’t know the delights of Karo coffee. With Kalamera, I want to introduce Karo coffee to the masses and elevate it to the same level of recognition that other Sumatran coffees have. Furthermore, coffee lovers don’t need to go all the way to Berastagi just to have a taste: they can enjoy the warmth of Karo coffee right here in Medan,” Ivan said in his interview with the Independent Observer.
Kalamera Coffee Space opens every day from 10.00 to 23.00. It is now one of the places to go to when you need to have a cup of java in Medan, Indonesia’s third-biggest city, especially during the weekends. As we are still in the grip of the pandemic, remember to always follow the house rules and implement health protocols in Kalamera. Keep your hand sanitizers handy, keep your mask on unless you’re eating or drinking, and keep your distance from other visitors properly.
Enjoy the unique sensation of Karo coffee, right in the middle of Medan’s dynamic bustle! (Freddy Wally)