The warmth of Ali Sadikin in a cup of coffee

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The coffee brewing are made directly by the youngest child of Ali Sadikin, Yasser Umarsyah Sadikin. (photo: IO/Aldo)

IO, Jakarta – There is no doubt that Indonesia is one of the largest coffee-producing countries in the world. Coffee was introduced into the Indonesian archipelago by the Dutch, who initially planted coffee trees around their territory in Bata­via. Dutch planters rapidly expand­ed their coffee production to areas of Bogor and Sukabumi, West Java in the 17th and 18th centuries. In­donesia proved to have an ideal cli­mate for growing coffee, and there­fore coffee plantations were soon established across Java, Sumatra and Sulawesi.

To enjoy the delicious coffee of Indonesia, many locations can be visited by coffee lovers, especially in a big city like Jakarta. However, behind the existence of coffee places in the Capital, there is one location that gives the feel of historical edu­cation about a very influential figure in Jakarta, in the era of the 1st Pres­ident of Indonesia, Ir. Soekarno.

The first President of the Repub­lic of Indonesia, Soekarno once told him, ‘Make Jakarta the pride of all the people of Indonesia, garner the admiration of all mankind’. The re­cipient of the message, Ali Sadikin, tried to practice the message from Sukarno when he served as the first Governor of Jakarta for two periods, between 1966-1977. On Thursday, April 28, 1966 Ali Sadikin was inau­gurated directly by President Soeka­rno to became the Governor of DKI Jakarta.

‘Bang Ali’, Ali Sadikin’s familiar name, later became the name of the coffee shop established by the youngest son of Ali Sadikin. Known as a firm and courageous figure to act when uncovering injustice, Governor Ali Sadikin was also mer­itorious in developing Jakarta into a modern metropolitan city. Under his leadership, Jakarta experienced many changes due to Bang Ali’s vi­sion and way of thinking, such as Taman Ismail Marzuki, Ragunan Zoo, Senen Project, Taman Impian Jaya Ancol, Monas Park, Pluit Sat­ellite Town in North Jakarta, as well as the preservation of Betawi culture in Condet, Southeast Jakarta.

Encountered by Independent Observer, in the Jatimurni neigh­borhood, South Jakarta where the ‘Bang Ali’ coffee Shop stands, Yas­ser Umarsyah, the youngest son of Ali Sadikin, tells the story of anoth­er side of his father. ‘I do not really perceive of him as Governor, as what I experienced was a truly fatherly figure,’ said Yasser. He added that Bang Ali never became grumpy. In his old age, Bang Ali gave a lot of advice to Yasser who was still a teen­ager. ‘He just reprimanded me gently, advised me not to smoke, or to do an­ything unnecessary,’ Yasser added.

To showcase the memory of Ali Sadikin, Yasser opened a cof­fee shop under the name of ‘Kedai Bang Ali’. A portrait of his father was displayed on one side of the wall of the coffee shop, complete with biog­raphies of Bang Ali. ‘We hope that guests who come here will feel his warmth,’ said Yasser.

Kedai Bang Ali is set with a con­cept of a ‘populist’ gathering place by providing dishes at friendly prices. Within a price range of Rp 20,000, a visitor can taste cappuc­cino coffee brewed from a variety of coffee beans, originating in Malabar, Bali and Toraja. ‘Even though we’re located in a garage, we still use a se­rious coffee machine; we want to let everyone know that at a low price, they can still enjoy high-quality cof­fee,’ said Yasser. In addition to en­joying coffee, visitors can also snack on roasted rice flavored with fish roe and anchovies, at just Rp 15,000.

There is a section in the wall that displays Bang Ali’s memorabilia items, such as portraits of photo­graphs from his childhood to his old age, ancient cameras, and also there are several biographies of Bang Ali.

Kedai Bang Ali is open from 10:00 to 20:00, Monday to Thurs­day and Saturday, while Friday it opens from 10:00 to 21:00. (Aldo)