I am a coffee lover. No, that's not entirely accurate. I am a coffee addict needing over 5 mugs of kopi kau (thick coffee) every single day.
So, since I started Johor Kaki blog in 2011, I have asking around and looking for opportunities to visit a coffee plantation in Johor, but with no success. So, you can imagine how thrilled I was to have the chance to visit Sai Kee Coffee 434 or Elephant brand coffee plantation in Muar, thanks to Tourism Malaysia Johor's Muar food trail.
Here are the stages of production of Elephant brand coffee at Sai Kee Coffee 434.
The ripe premium grade Liberica berries ready for harvesting. It takes 3 to 4 years for a coffee seedling to mature into a fruit bearing tree. The ripe and best berries are hand picked - cherry picking, literary.
Sai Kee Coffee 434 uses the traditional "dry" method to separate the coffee seed and the pulp. The Liberica berries are simply spread on the clean ground in a "green house", turned regularly with shovels and allowed to dry. The "green house" protects the berries from dust, sand, and rain. It felt very hot and humid inside the "green house".
When the berries become wrinkly and dry (10% moisture left), the pulp and seed are separated (a process known as hulling). The pulp is used as an organic fertiliser while the seed is the much sought after coffee bean.
To make traditional kopitiam coffee, the beans are roasted with margarine, sugar, sesame seeds and other ingredients. This style of roasting coffee beans is unique in Malaysia and Singapore. Here, workers are air cooling the freshly roasted over 200ºC hot beans by spreading them out using shovels.
The roasted beans are oily and tacky, caked and stuck to the shovel - a bit like that stubborn used chewing gum stuck to the bottom of our shoes.
Worker transferring the caked, roasted beans in buckets to the separator.
The caked, roasted beans spun and separated.
These are Elephant brand premium Liberica beans ready for grinding.
The final step in the production process - packing the grounded beans into sachets and bags.
Making coffee at Sai Kee Coffee 434 the old way by pouring boiling water through roughly grounded beans in a white muslin sock. Sai Kee was founded in 1953 by, you guessed it, Ah Sai. The number 434 was the telephone area code for Muar in the 1960s, and today it is synonymous with Sai Kee coffee.
Our sample of freshly brewed Elephant brand coffee in a styrofoam cup. The coffee was full bodied, robustly flavoured, bitter and sweet. Love it.
The rather gay and lavish interior of Sai Kee Coffee 434 Cafe at Jalan Maharani in downtown Muar.
(Note: Johor Kaki has no affiliation with Sai Kee Coffee 434. There are no fees for this or any post in Johor Kaki. LOL Sai Kee Coffee may not even be aware of this post :) )
Restaurant name: Sai Kee Coffee 434
Address: 121, Jalan Maharani (across the road from the central bus station and wet market)
Hours: 8:00am to 5:30pm daily
Date visited: 17 Mar 2013, 25 Jun 2013
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