February 11, 2016
Sarawakian Local Delights No.15 : A Coffee Story of Sarawak(Teck Lee Seng )
The coffee brewed in the longhouse would usually be a local brand. Nescafe or any other imported brand would be considered too expensive.
Teck Lee Seng Coffee powder is often given as a gift by children to their elders in the ULU (Upriver). So whenever visitors arrive, the kitchen would be very busy and the first thing that is made is the coffee. A big kettle is used to boil the water, and soon after boiling perhaps half a packet of coffee powder is added to the boiling water.
After boiling for a short while, the KOPI is mixed with lots of sugar. This is then served to the guests in a glasses or small enamel mugs. A huge enamel tray, the pride of the family, would also be used to bring out the mugs/cups.
This is longhouse style of brewed coffee, or Kopi Masak.
Once when my friends and I were stranded by low water as our longboats could not pass , we were invited up to a longhouse . We had to wait for the rain to stop and the river to rise. The hospitable family, without any electricity, lit a small kerosene lamp, gave us very thin but hot kopi masak, some very thin soup and cold rice. It was way past their dinner time.
That was truly a life saving moment. Five us were refreshed and by the next morning, we were on our way. After much persuasion the family accepted a small token of appreciation from us.
That special kopi masak was so refeshing that it remains in my heart forever.
Now a few words about Teck Lee Seng of Kuching.
Teck Lee Seng is a Sarawak brand, founded in 1969 in Kuching.
It was founded by Mr. Goh Kim Sin. At the beginning, coffee was sold delivered from door to door. Today it is a high technology company using the best of machinery and famous throughout Malaysia.
In most coffee shops in Kuching, TLS coffee is used. It has a good aroma and a great flavour, perhaps due to its unique roasting style and the beans used. It is not as black as some West Malaysian coffee.
So when you go to your favourite sundry shop or supermarket, you might like to look up Cap Tangan Coffee Powder. That's something made in Sarawak.
In Malaysia, a cloth filter makes a lot of difference when local coffee is brewed. Perhaps that is why the coffee shops always have such an attractive aroma which beckons early morning coffee drinkers.
It is so relaxing to order a cup of Kopi-o, Kopi-C, Kopi (you will surprised if you are not a local, this is Coffee with Condensed Milk), Kopi-0 Kosong (Coffee without sugar and milk). They come in Big or Small cups/mugs. In some coffee shops you can even order the very healthy 21st century, Kopi-Tou Leng (Coffee with Soy Milk)