When I’m on the road I’m always on the lookout for interesting cafes and new coffee experiences. On my trip to Yogyakarta I found an unusual brew called Jopi Joss: charcoal coffee.
[Kopi Joss – it tastes better than it looks.]
Kopi Joss preparation starts off in the usual Javanese style, with loose coffee grinds and sugar added to a cup and hot water poured on top. The magic ingredient – flaming hot charcoal – is then added to the brew. So basically this is a coffee with a piece of burnt wood floating in it.
Apparently the charcoal neutralizes the acidity of the coffee, making it easier to drink for those who get an upset stomach from coffee. I must have an iron stomach when it comes to coffee as I didn’t notice the difference. The coffee is surprisingly smooth though and it has no burnt or woody aftertaste like I thought it might.
A flaming red piece of charcoal is taken from the stove and the ash and loose embers are blown off.
The hot charcoal is added to the coffee.
The satisfying sight and sound of watching the charcoal sizzle as it cools.
Once the fire is out you can then fish the charcoal from your cup. Sometimes the coffee bubbles over, leaving messy cup covered in coffee grinds. No napkins here, so if you are offended by a few loose coffee grinds then you are in the wrong place.
I was in Jogja for over a week and I went back several times to get a charcoal coffee fix. One afternoon there was a storm passing through and it was getting dark. The kopi joss dealer lit up a kerosene lantern and continued on his business of preparing coffee. With the light of the lantern and the glow of the fire it felt like I was drinking The Devil’s Cup. It crossed my mind that this would probably not be legal in Australia.
There are a row of kopi joss stalls on the north side of main train station (Tugu) and they open around 4pm. One cup was 3500 IDR (35 cents USD).