（Contributed by Rintaro）
Beans of Difference
Drinking a cup of joe after my first meal is a daily routine of mine. Not that it gives me any kind of boost like it would to many others (ah, how I wish it did), but I rather savor the aroma and taste – two very inseparable things for any coffee aficionado. So, among dozens of other things that I was very concerned about coming to Jakarta, finding my kind of coffee beans would make it to the top of my list (ah yes, all you avid readers of my blog – which I doubt are that many – may have realized by now that I am very particular about quite a lot of things. Guilty as charged).
As has been with most other things I am so particular about, once again I found myself rather disappointed. But before we get into how that came about, let’s be fair; Indonesia produces some of the most sought-after beans on the planet: locally grown arabica such as Sumatra Mandheling, and kopi luwak to name a few. So the problem was, once again, it wasn’t them; it was me. I had grown used to dark roasted beans which are very hard to find in Jakarta unless you are shopping at an ever-present chain café, whose signature coffee beans are usually on the dark side on the continuum.
One coffee store after another, I tried buying what seemed to me the darkest kind they had to offer, but all were very disappointing. I have come to accept that this is the way people enjoy their coffee in this country, and perhaps the dark and shiny kinds are more an exception than the rule. What I did next was this: I bought this specific kind of beans from an online retailer in Japan; had three bags of them shipped to my home; and asked my mother to ship them to me here in Jakarta. They are called Guatemala French and they have a very distinctive smoky, fruity, and sweet aroma that no other bean can quite match. I’d say it was worth the import tax at the local post office. Three 200-gram packs won’t last long, I know, but please let me indulge myself while they last…