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Bandung is the capital of West Java province in Indonesia, and the country's fourth largest city. Located 768 meters above sea level, Bandung has relatively year-around cooler temperature than most other Indonesian cities. The city lies on a river basin and surrounded by volcanic mountains. This topology provides the city with a good natural defense system, which was the primary reason of Dutch East Indies government's plan to move the colony capital from Batavia to Bandung.

Paberik Kopi Aroma
A visit to a real coffee factory in the heart of Bandung

If you are in for a visit to Bandung to see the heritage there, you should not forget to bring a visit to Paberik Kopi Aroma, which is one of the companies that has survived time and is still producing until today. They contribute to the uniqueness of Bandung as a city with a heritage.

The factory itself is a building that has been built in the Dutch colonial time and has characteristic features of that time in it's architecture. The building still has the same looks as when it was designed, the factory and the store haven't changed ever since, so it seems. The only thing that changed is the environment. The pavement is full of kaki lima and the street full of cars.
The factory of Paberik Kopi Aroma was built and run by oleh Tan Houw Sian since 1930. In 1936 Houw Sian could already afford to invest in machines to process coffee. These machines were German-made Probat machines. In 1971 his son Widyapratama became the first successor of the company, he runs the business until now.

The owner is very friendly and he will gladly take you on a tour to his coffee warehouse, processing area and shop while explaining the entire process of processing the coffee bean. Inside his small shop, attached to the processing area, you will also find several coffee grinding machines on display, the oldest one dates from the year 1900. The machines are well maintained and most of them are still functioning, as is claimed by Widyapratama.

Because Widyapratama holds on to the principles of his father Tan Houw Sian, the coffee that is produced here is completely natural without the use of chemicals and pesticides. This is stimulating the taste of the coffee in a very positive way when it is processed here. To produce the coffee that is completely in the style of Paberik Kopi Aroma, a lot of patience is needed. The entire process from fresh bean to coffee takes a long time, but guarantees the quality of Paberik Kopi Aroma that is known throughout the region.

It all starts with raw coffee beans that are imported from several regions throughout the Indonesian archipelago; the Arabica beans are imported from Aceh, Tana Toraja (Sulawesi), East Nusa Tenggara, Java and Medan; the Robusta type originates from Central Java and Lampung. The freshly picked beans have been dried for about one week by the local farmers before they are brought to the factory in the heart of Bandung. There they are dried for about one day before they are stored.

Beans to the storage

The next step is to store the beans which have been sun-dried already. They are put in bags of natural material and are then stored in a warehouse which is next to the processing area. Each individual bag is marked with the type of coffee and the date when is was stored. The Robusta coffee beans are stored for five year and the Arabica beans for as long as eight years. The three extra years for these Robusta beans is needed to get rid of the somewhat sour taste of this type of beans. After all those years they are ready to be processed.

Processing beans to coffee

After the beans have been stores for several years, they finally are ready to be processed into coffee. They are roasted on rubber-tree wood only, with a warm red fire. This traditional way of roasting is the same as Houw Sian used to process the coffee beans. When gas is used, the fire will become blue, which is too hot for the beans and will destroy the original taste of Kopi Aroma
Roasting of the coffee beans starts around eight in the morning. There is no production target in this company, nor is there a target form sales. This is caused because roasting the beans requires a very specific amount of time which varies on each bag of beans. For Paberik Kopi Aroma it is much more important to produce good coffee than reach production targets. With this daily process they are able to always sell the most fresh coffee to their customers as well.

After the coffee has been roasted it is selected on size. This is not done manually, but by a mechanical machine that doesn't need any computer to do the calculations. It perfectly selects the perfect beans from the somewhat less perfect, no extra check needed. After the selected beans are processed they are put in paper bags to be sold as beans or in powdered form.

In Indonesia, coffee is one of the most frequently used drinks after tea. Unfortunately coffee is often regarded as less healthy for your health, which is not true. According to Wida - short for Widyapratama - the coffee that is produced here is no risk to your health if used within proper limits. Coffee without chemicals doesn't cause stomach problems and can even be drunk on an empty stomach without getting ill, he told.


The shop, processing room and storage are all located in one historical building in the old quarter of Bandung. They are opened daily except for Sundays from 08:00 to 15:00. For those who want to have a look behind the scenes here, just ask for it in the shop and they will be happy to show you around. For those with an allergy to dust; it is better to avoid the processing area. Bring a hat if you don't want to have dust in your hair.

Watch the picture gallery
· Koffie Aroma - Old fashioned coffee from Bandoeng

Last revised on September 25, 2009
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