Bulan Mei 2011 lalu, seorang kenalan saya di Amerika – penggemar Kombucha – meminta saya untuk menceritakan perkembangan Kombucha di Indonesia di sebuah forum. Wah.. gimana ya? Soalnya modal bahasa Inggris saya pas-pasan. Kalo kata pepatah guru SMA saya: “Cukup buat pergi, nggak cukup buat pulang..!“, hahaha…
Tapi, saya benar-benar terdorong untuk menceritakan bagaimana kondisi Kombucha di Indonesia, dibandingkan dengan Amerika. Saya perlu beberapa hari untuk merenung, memikirkan apa saja yang harus diceritakan dan kemudian menterjemahkannya ke bahasa Inggris
Singkat kata, inilah isi hati saya yang terdalam tentang Kombucha di Indonesia yang saya beberkan ke Forum di Amerika; Salah satunya adalah Visi dan Misi Indo Kombucha. Selamat menikmati
Firstly, I am very honored to have opportunity to write an article in this forum. This is first time in my life I have to write an article in English. I still have difficulties with grammar and explain things in English. but thanks to Victoria and Hannah who helped me in editing this article. I believe this article will be much easier to understand.
I am Arsenius Sutandio and I work in Pencil Manufacturing (Faber Castell, Staedtler, Lira, Berol, Fantasia.. you name it..) as an IT Supervisor (Computer Stuff) I also have a Kombucha blog called Indo Kombucha. You can read my articles by utilizing google translator.
I first discovered Kombucha about 8 years ago. I received my first SCOBY from my friend at the office. I tasted it and I loved it. It was love at the first taste :). My Family also loves it. Since then, we continue to drink Kombucha and share it with our relatives.
Indonesia: The Largest Archipelago Country in the World
Let me tell you about my Country. Indonesia is the largest Archipelago Country in the world. We have about 17.000 Islands and hundreds of Tribes. It’s the third largest population in the world; We have 5 legal religions on our country: Islam, Christian, Catholic, Buddhism and Hinduism. Islam is the major religion in our country. In fact, Indonesia has the largest Islam population in the world.
So, why I’m telling you this? What is going to do with Kombucha? Well.. Since Kombucha contains Alcohol, I have to do extra homework to be informed and make sure that Kombucha is ‘Halal’ (Kosher) to drink. Another thing: Most people here don’t know what Kombucha is, and those who know about it, still have a misunderstanding about the word “Mushroom”. In Islam, some foods or beverages that are fermented with mushrooms are categorized as “Haraam” (Not Kosher). So with this situation, I had to inform them that Kombucha is not a mushroom, but a colony of Bacteria and Yeast.
According to MUI (Majelis Ulama Indonesia = Indonesian Ulema Council), a beverage still can be categorized as Halal if the Alcohol is less than 2%, but someone else told me that it has to be less than 1%. Well, I don’t wanna argue with that, so I searched for an article from MUI about Halal standards, and then copy & pasted it to my blog and then let them decide for themselves if they want to drink KT or not. I’m Christian, and I don’t have any rights to judge on anything about Islam’s rules. But what I can do is to give them information that the Alcohol in KT can be reduced by heating up the tea up to 70-80 Celsius for about 10 minutes. Still, in this case I just give a personal opinion, that hopefully by reducing Alcohol will make KT “Halal” for them.
Why am I concerned to encourage my fellow countrymen to try Kombucha? Because most of our people are poor. Several days ago, I read in the newspaper that if the Indonesian people used the US standard for poor people (average salary US$2 per day) then 134 million people in Indonesia are categorized by Poor! Can you imagine that? It means more than half people in Indonesia are poor people.
I’m writing this article at St. Boromeus Hospital – Maria Building, Room 2203 (Bandung – Indonesia) 9:24PM because I have to accompany my mother in law. She had a heart attack, so she had to take care in SU-IC (Stroke Unit Intensive Care). Its day 5 now, and the hospital cost is very.. I mean Very Expensive! It takes 3 months of my full salary to pay for her hospital stay for a week. Can you imagine how the people who only had US$2 per day? What kind of living they have? And how if they get sick and have to go to hospital? Now I know that Kombucha is a very cheap herb that they can use for keep their health. At least they only have to spend cheap tea and sugar to keep them in good shape. That is one of my missions: to keep people healthy in a very cheap way.
Birth of Indo Kombucha
We, Indonesian people, especially “Javanese” Tribe (the largest tribe in Indonesia), called Scoby Kombucha as ‘Jamu Dipo’ (Dipo herb). Kombucha is not available in stores here as there are no commercial brands. Some people make it and sell it to their neighbors but maybe I will be the first one to make a commercial brand here! The picture here is a traditional herb seller. we called it “Jamu Gendong”. She carry several types of herb on their basket. Some people sell the KT for their neighbourhood area. Some people sell the Scoby in a very small size on the traditional market (with the poor quality) for US$ 0.5. No one has ever thought that Kombucha could become a great thing like in US. Well.. my marketer brain side thinks this is a Huge Opportunity! Well.. I didn’t realize that either until something happened back in 2009.
I was writing an article about Kombucha on my first blog: arsenius-sutandio.blogspot.com in 2008. I wrote two entries and then completely forgot about it. About a year later, my article received a response. A man called me on the phone and told me that he needed Kombucha. He asked me “How much?” I thought to myself: “is it real that Kombucha can be sold?” and while on the phone I start to Googling. That was December 26, 2009 8pm.. and that day is a historic day for me, (and for Kombucha in Indonesia also – I think.. hopefully..).
There were so many ads selling Kombucha! And there are several Indonesian Blogs about Kombucha, I had never realized it before. I believe that man was an Angel calling me that night, because he’s opened a new world in my life. He never bought one from me anyway, but ever since that night I had a BIG dream about Kombucha. I was Googling and bookmarked all the websites, all the articles and all things about Kombucha all night long until the next morning. I am so amazed what Kombucha has become in America and other countries. That day I knew about GT’s famous product; Hannah’s Kombucha with her blog and cool tutorial videos (I download all of her videos..;-) )
I was thinking very hard about this. Why people in other countries had a very high appreciation about Kombucha? So much so that it has become a Hollywood artist’s drink? While here in Indonesia, we’re treat it like old fashion herb, nothing more. And also there are no blogs or websites that explained in detail about what Kombuha is.. I found several websites that had the same content about Kombucha, like one from Kombucha.de, wikipedia.com. It’s just copy-paste article! No Kombucha making video, no article about Personal experience or other.. So.. on December 27, 2009 I had a plan to make a blog that 100% talk about Kombucha. I have a vision to raise Kombucha status from just only a herb to become an Intellectual people choice (we have Local TV’s advertising says “Smart people drink xxx”. I tell myself, that someday people will say “Smart people drink Kombucha!”). I have a vision to make a website that will be an ‘Indonesian Kombucha’s information Center’. I also had a dream to make a book about Kombucha, and create a video tutorial like Hannah did, make a Product like GT’s Kombucha and sell it at the Supermarket. And I think the name “Indo Kombucha” is a good name to represent “Indonesian Kombucha”.
On December 28, 2009 2.30 AM – In the name of God – we declare (I, me and myself) the birth of “Indo Kombucha” [YAY! ]
I’m still searching for the best way to brew the Kombucha for best taste and best smell (for original tea). I had try Carpe Diem before and wondering if I can set the taste and smell like that. Right now Carpe Diem is my pace setter for my product.
Right now I’m trying to brew tea with “Cold Brew Method” with White Tea and Sencha. Cold Brew Method is brewing tea with cold water and let them in the refrigerator for about 12 hour.
I’m using Stone Sugar for my Tea.. maybe in your country it’s called Raw Sugar.. (Sugar that shape like Cryptonyte Stone!)
I’ve tried kind of fruits and flavor for my second fermentation, but my flavor so far for is still Ginger Lemon.
I do both continuous brewing and batch brewing. I have 6 continuous Brew jars (8 litre), 4 batch brew 12litre, 4 batch with 4litre and dozens with 1 litre capacity. It’s for my family supplies and also for my personal experience.
I sleep only 3-5 hours a day for years, not because I’m having insomnia, but since I have some projects to do, I always work until early morning, and my body keeps fit. I rarely get the Flu; And if I do, my body’s immune system works great! I got the flu for about 2-4 days with no medical treatment.
My Father never misses a day without drinking at least a glass of Kombucha. This July 2011, my father will be 76 years old and he is still in great physical shape. When my father had a General Check Up, the doctor said, “Sir, you are much older than me, but your body and your internal organs are in much better condition than mine.. and I am a doctor! You have a 75 year old body, but your internal organs are like a 50 year olds! Everything is normal and in a good shape!” Until now, my father still had his routine exercise: running cross country to the mountain twice a week every Tuesday and Friday. And since he has been retired for several years, he’s doing his hobby all day: carving wood – He’s a natural carpenter. Nobody taught him how to carve. But he’s really doing great job with his hand!
I have a beautiful daughter. Her age is 4 years old now and she likes Kombucha too. Everytime when she sees me drinking KT, she smells the glass and yells “Kombuchaaa!” :))
Thank you for reading about Kombucha in Indonesia. You are welcome to visit my blog anytime!