Coffee Culture: A Brief Refreshment Break in Surabaya

‘Kamu mau minum kopi susu?’ one passer-by asked their companion as they plowed the streets of Surabaya. They knew each other well and felt comfortable enough using the more formal pronoun. Their place of origin is unknown, although the clumsy nature of their Bahasa suggested they were visitors.

Nevertheless. ‘Ya, saya mau minum kopi susu dan makan kue,’ responded the second. Sustenance thus called for, the duo continued on their way with a renewed sense of purpose. The search for coffee was under way.

As it turned out, the quest was a comparatively short one. Java’s eastern capital is a big place and the familiar rat-a-tat of wooden gerobak carts plying refreshments is a ubiquitous one.

The pair were wandering along a main arterial road, the Gelora Bung Tomo Stadium receding behind them. They alighted down a side street and heard the familiar sound, smelled the unique aroma of Javanese coffee. Dua kopi susu quickly ordered, they turned to observe their surroundings. The heavy lunchtime traffic continued unabated as a kettle boiled behind them.

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