Rumah Kopi Ranin: I run into the forest for coffee!

(Photo: Freddy Wally)

IO – The growing number of coffee shops in various places in Indonesia accessorized with contemporary attributes is like the blooming of mushrooms in the rainy season. During the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the habit of drinking coffee as a stress reliever has become an escape for some urbanites, especially those who live in boisterous cities.

If the habit of drinking urban coffee gets boring, there is a cafe that is breaking the concept by providing coffee in West Bogor countryside: Rumah Kopi Ranin. “Ranin” stands for “Rakyat Tani Indonesia” embeds patriotism and idealism in its name; in fact, the owner, Tejo Pramono, grew up in the middle of a large coffee plantation in Jember, East Java.

“Unforgettable childhood memories, being able to live in the middle of a coffee plantation in Jember, helping parents take care of coffee plants, so in a way, I got to know coffee. Moreover, I took a lecture on agricultural science at the Bogor Agricultural Institute (IPB),” opens Tejo Pramono, the owner, who stopped by the shop he started in 2012.

Rumah  Kopi  Ranin  expresses Tejo’s idealism to introduce Indonesian coffee to the public, especially IPB students. “Initially it opened in the IPB canteen, but there were few enthusiasts, especially on weekends.

Then we tried to open it in the middle of downtown Bogor. We moved twice, from Jalan Bangbarung to Jalan Kresna, before finally settling here since 2017,” continued Tejo on a wet afternoon. Following a heavy rain.

The calm flow of the Ciapus River, the peaceful natural atmosphere, added to the sound of birds chirping and insects with the all-green surrounding scenery is indeed a distinct advantage. At the first time, visitors who came from IPB-Dramaga Alternative highway had to “struggle” to descend a steep cliff from neatly arranged river rocks, through gardens and artificial ponds, then arriving at the Rumah Kopi Ranin whose architectural design is that of an artistic Javanese stage pavilion.

Beyond a valley that was previously forgotten because it used to be a rubbish dump for residents, Ranin offers a different atmosphere for its guests. Not just a coffee ritual, but getting to know Indonesian coffee more intimately.

“Apart from being a garbage dump, this was a place for buffalos to wallow, next to Ciapus River, and we still keep the traces of it; one of which is through the artificial pond, as well as waterways when it rains,” added Tejo, pointing to the pond which is also used as an entrance.

Inside the shop, we are lulled by some of the past attributes. Tejo did not hesitate to insert a sewing machine that was turned into a table, iron benches from an ancient school, and several old coffee machines in the platform hall measuring more than 30 meters x 20 meters, which can accommodate more than 40 guests.

Apart from the pavilion, visitors can enjoy sipping a coffee next to the natural beauty of the outdoor side, which is designed to be no less artistic, with long benches and tables made of scrapped wood. The atmosphere is even more serene, because this area is surrounded by coffee plants from various regions. “For those who don’t know the origin of coffee, starting from small, fragrant white flowers and fruit that look like melinjo, Ranin can be an initial educational tool for coffee lovers.”

In tune with the name that Tejo used for his shop, a variety of Indonesian coffees are offered here, from Mandailing, Semendo, Kepahiang, Toraja, to Bogor. “I curate these coffees myself directly from the farmers. I come to coffee plantations in the regions to educate farmers on how to make good coffee; then I buy beans at a reasonable price to be marketed to the public. Honestly, many coffee farmers in Indonesia do not know well what they plant, even though the potential is very large,” said Tejo. Apart from coffee as the main offering, Ranin also offers a menu of typical Indonesian foods or snacks, such as palm sugar marrow porridge, fried cassava, fried banana, lodeh vegetable chicken rice, to geprek chicken with tiwul rice and tempeh salad. “This is one way for me to introduce Indonesia, not only through coffee but also how the food in coffee-producing places has developed. In the past, there was a menu of gomak noodles from Tapanuli, but because the chef has left, this menu item has temporarily disappeared from Ranin,” said Tejo.

Rumah Kopi Ranin also provides a small corner to explore more Indonesian tastes, the Rasa Gallery. This is a kind of small shop selling a variety of specialty grade Nusantara coffee beans starting from 200 grams as souvenirs to be brewed at home.

Here, the visitors also can see a map of coffee in Indonesia on the Taste and Aroma Map of Nusantara Coffee which was specially made by Tejo to record Indonesia’s coffee trail. Visitors who are curious about the Indonesian farmers’ coffee storage can also take a look at the rice barn, whose building is made of traditional wood and is located right at the gate of the Rumah Kopi Ranin.

In general, Rumah Kopi Ranin is not only an attractive coffee shop as an escape when stress strikes. Here too, we can learn to get to know Nusantara coffee more intensely because the baristas do not hesitate to provide education about the origin of the coffee served. Don’t forget to always apply applicable health protocols such as wearing masks when not eating and drinking and keeping your distance because the COVID-19 pandemic is still not over.

Enjoy your coffee – hope you get a new inspiration today! (Freddy Wally)