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It was 2013 when I first tasted fresh coffee. There was an event organized by my friends in a peak of Pegunungan Seribu in Purworejo Central Java Indonesia where coffee lovers from Jakarta, Bogor, Central Java and Yogyakarta gathered. What I meant by fresh coffee is a cup of coffee from the fresh coffee bean which manually grinded and brewed. I was an instant coffee drinker then. But when I tasted the coffee and smelled the odor of the fresh coffee, I instantly fell in love. I didn’t dare to drink black coffee at that time. I asked for a cappuccino, which contains milk and sugar. But I thought that it was very good.

My second cup of fresh coffee was when my friends and I launched a community gathering in my hometown. We invited the coffee maker, Pepeng, to come to our event and served our guests with many coffee beans from various regions in Indonesia. I had Wamena coffee and I loved it. This time, it was black coffee without sugar or milk in it. The coffee was very smooth. There wasn’t any bitter or sour taste in the coffee, even after it gets cold. It was like drinking water. It runs smoothly in my throat. That was the time when I decided to drink more fresh coffee.

And the time goes by. I taste many different coffee beans and start to hunt coffee beans from all over Indonesia. Every time my friends travel to different regions in Indonesia, I always ask them to buy coffee beans. My husband and I also start to collect coffee maker for our purpose. There was a time when we didn’t have the coffee grinder and he decided to use cobek (traditional chili sausage crasher). The coffee powder was not good, but we like it because it means that we can drink good coffee. Pepeng then gave his hand grinder to us. Maybe he felt sorry to see us..

There was also a time when I thought that instant coffee is for loser. Since I learned that instant coffee contains small amount of good coffee and a lot of corn powder (which if you drink it too much, it will ruin your usus), I tried to persuade my friend to switch their habit. Sometimes I mocked them and their habit. I started to call them bad names. I even create a whatsapp group called #antikopisahcetgarisikeras and use the hastag in my twitter account. My friends start to look at me as “a coffee lover fundamentalist” who judge you based on what type of coffee you drink. I felt superior and sorry for those who still drink instant coffee.

But then, I thought that my behavior is bad. The fact that many people still drink instant coffee is not merely their fault. There are reasons behind it, and it is not my duty to judge them. To be able to drink fresh coffee from fresh coffee beans require supporting systems such as coffee grinder, access to coffee beans and the brew tools. Those are not cheap or easy to get.

When I started mocking instant coffee drinker, there is  an Islamic-based organization in Indonesia who also loved to judge other people. If they see people don’t do as religion ask, they will judge them as kafir, non-Moslem etc. What this organization did make our society uncomfortable, angry and in the end, hate Islam even more. And I hate it. So, when I start to mocked my friends and judged them, I felt like I was doing the same thing as this organization. I judged my friends and I knew that my friends hate it, although they didn’t express it. I didn’t want to hurt my friends’ feeling as much as I don’t want this organization hurt mine.

So, I change my view and try to be emphatic. I try to understand why some of my friends prefer instant coffee. If I get the chance to change their habit, I’d do. But in most cases, it’s all up to them. And surprisingly, it feels good. I can make friends anywhere I can and still can drink good coffee. My friends see me as a coffee lover and sometimes ask my opinion when they want to consume fresh coffee.

Back then, for me, life is too short to drink bad coffee; it is neither instant nor too dark-roast coffee. Now, life too short to spend on which coffee style is better. I have my own taste and coffee style, and so do my friends. I like my coffee to be black without sugar or milk. But if I can’t have one, it is Ok for me to drink instant coffee or cappuccino. As long as we drink it with our friends, that will do.