April 9, 2014

Roasting of Coffee - Asian Style

Most of us who had grown up in Sibu during the early 50's and 60's would be very familiar with this scene.

Before seeing the man and his roasting machine, we would be able to smell the fragrant aroma of the roasting coffee, mixed with a heavenly scent of butter.

Photo from the Malaysian History and Heritage Facebook. Published with thanks.

there were two specific areas where roasting of coffee was done in this way: at least what I remember.

One was behind the coffee shop called Bang Chuan (opposite the Chung Hua Primary School) and the other one was behind the Lok Huen Coffee shop, alongside the People's maternity Ward.

These two coffee shops were owned by Hailam towkay. So there was no doubt that their coffee was the best in town!!

Although the population was small in Sibu in those days, the two "coffee roasters" were at work every day. Some of their coffee beans and coffee powder were sent to coffee shops in Kanowit, Bintangor and Sarikei by motor launches.

However I remember my father buying their coffee powder in brown paper bags which he later poured into a big Horlicks bottle. Each morning he would make the thickest of coffee for himself and for my mother.

The morning's coffee aroma would fill the air and it signalled to us children to wake up and go to school. The smell of coffee would always be a wake up call for me.

Until today, just smelling the aroma of coffee would wake me up.

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