1000 Faces is proud to present our first offering from the Indonesian island of Java. In December, Benjamin Myers traveled to Java to begin searching for a coffee to bring forward from this remote source. Here are some notes from Ben’s journal.
I am staring into the eyes of a snake. I can’t stand snakes. I once ran a quarter a mile from one. They send a shiver up my spine that somehow activates all the chakra’s like a fire alarm in theater during a silent film.
The road here was not easy. I indulged in sleeping pills somewhere in midnight layover in Malaysia in order to find some semblence of memory and time. By the time I arrived in the city of Surabaya I stumbled for cell phone reception and currency like a baby for a bottle. Not knowing where I was or whom the stranger was whom would be acting as my translator.
The first hazy sights in Surabaya are of endless shanty tents lining the streets. Kiosks filled with gawkers and kids hunching on motocycles. I find this culture to be riddled with walls by which I could not seem to see over, a spirit by which my access was seemingly embraced and denied. The warm breath of a land so distant from mine own is constant.
I spend a day in a foggy warehouse drinking coffee after coffee that has been poorly sample roasted. Dark charcoal like smoke plumes out of the small drum as I try to decipher what it is I am learning. There are muslim prayer mats on the floors in seperated rooms and clocks reading numbers that make no sense to my sense of time.
Everything I tasted during this visit is obscured and I realize I have a long way to go in understanding Indonesian coffee’s. When you stare into the eyes of a snake, like the great serpant that looks deeply into my own private mythology, you are present with mirrors which reflect against mirrors. I have to embrace confusion as I board a plane out of Java. I have endless notes of potential sources which I will continue to seek further understanding of.
Some months later, after spending months searching through numerous small lots from Java we were find a coffee gem in small warehouse in Oakland the days preceding our acceptance of 1000 Faces’ 2013 Good Food Award. Time, memory, and place all fell into the catagory of the unexpected, though we had found our reward through the persistance of seeking thoughout the dim shadowlands of dire prospect.
We are always searching for coffee’s that are emblematic of the unique qualities that speciality coffee embraces. The coffee from the Mayang project in Western Java is just that. The Mayang has a remarkable flavor profile of dried peaches and hazlenut with a luscious creamy body…it is hard to even begin to describe this coffee as being “Indonesian” as it challenges all the preconceptions coffee drinkers have when it comes to what we expect out of this region. Absent is the wet earth, vacant is the spice.
The journey of seeking isn’t linear. A key quality in establishing something great is learning how to collaborate and how to throw yourself into the well of the unfamiliar. We hope that when you drink this coffee, you feel the a similar sense of wonder that it inspires in us.