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Friday, March 17, 2017

Limin And His Aming Coffee

I always have a dream of producing talkshow that features our friends who, I think, have made it in their lives. It must be very inspiring to hear about how they worked hard to reach where they are today. I tell you a little secret here: there was supposed to be a section for this particular programme when I organized our High School Reunion 2014 that took place in Jakarta. Out of the three candidates, one was actually with us on that day, but due to time constraint, the talkshow was eventually cancelled. Since then, the idea would always resurface from time to time, until I recently realized that I actually have a platform to execute it in the form of writing. Now, for the first time ever, I proudly present the story of our dear friend Limin.

His story began with the coffee powder staring back at him. His Dad had been doing this business since the 70s, so Limin was no stranger to anything related to coffee. Limin might not know it yet at that time, but that fragrant and exotic smell that he grew up with would one day change his life forever. Long before that fateful day, though, he was just a kid like any of us. He studied, he played, he graduated and he got a nine-to-five job, a typical path of life for many young men in Pontianak. 

It was only in 2002 that Limin thought of opening a coffee shop as an extension of what his Dad already did. Since the family business was producing and selling coffee powder, why not brewing and serving the drinkable form to customers? However, Pontianak was far from ready for coffee culture then. Only old men would frequent coffee shops. Young people, especially girls, would be frowned upon. Limin himself, then in his twenties, was also still finding his way and trying his hands on other ventures, too, but none was proven to be successful.

As luck would have it, a few years later, Limin found himself stuck with the coffee shop, the only business that survived the test of time. In fact, it started to look rather promising, partly thanks to the changing landscape. That was when he gave 100% of his time to focus on it. 

Limin picked up where he left off. He put on effort to master the art of coffee making and learnt that the best coffee drink should be served in a freshly made condition, not mass-produced only to be kept aside and heated up when there were orders. He also observed what the public demand was like. Robusta was the way to go, but the sour tasted coffee was a complete no-no. The he added in some personal touch that made his customers feel welcome. This was achieved by knowing what the preference of each and individual customer was, ie. some would like it sweet, others would like their coffee filtered and so forth. Last but not least, he started to realize the importance of branding and presentation, something that many from previous generation overlooked or ignored. When coffee culture was becoming more and more trendy, Limin understood that a comfortable atmosphere was something that would differentiate his coffee shop and others, hence the innovations such as modern interior, free wifi and charging points, wide screen TV, etc.

The effort above was done without forgetting the quality of the most important ingredient: the coffee itself. Everything, from the purchase of the coffee bean, the roasting and every single process that were required to produce a cup of coffee went through a strict quality control routine. To ensure the consistency of the coffee taste, the man himself would have coffee several times a day.

The hardwork was for nothing if it wasn't properly advertised. In a small town such as Pontianak, word-of-mouth marketing was the way to go. Apart from that, advertisement was also done via social media or the more conventional mass media in order to reach out to a bigger audience.

Success didn't happen overnight, of course. Nevertheless, Limin was on the right track and before he knew it, Aming Coffee was the talk of the town. He was then sought after, interviewed and God knows what else, because the best is yet to come. Always a humble person to begin with, Limin is smart enough to know that the next step is what brings him ahead of the competitors. A coffee expert these days, he never stops improving his Dad's original formula and refreshing the look and feel of the packaging. The result eventually goes to supermarkets and other distribution channels.

A bright future lies ahead for the humble and happy family man who keeps expanding his business to a new territory such as Kopi Luwak. He won an award from Go-Food in 2017. He also got a chance to serve a cup of Aming coffe to President Jokowi recently. The coffee is what his success smells like. As you can see now, his is a story of passion, hardwork and persistence combined together, but still this doesn't deter the non-believers to come and ask, "what's your secret?" 

Unlike many others, perhaps Limin does have a secret. He did tell me that the coffee served at Aming Coffee has this special ingredient that makes it stand out among the rest. I'm afraid I didn't really get it when he mentioned about the chewy feeling (how is it possible or what does it even mean?), so I don't think I should describe it until I give it a try. Oh, talk about what I wouldn't give for a cup of Aming Coffee now!
The man and the coffee
Image credit: Limin

Limin Dan Warkop Aming

Setiap orang mempunyai cerita. Satu impian yang ingin saya kerjakan dari sejak dulu adalah menyelenggarakan talkshow yang menampilkan teman-teman seangkatan dimana mereka bisa berbagi kisah dan pengalaman. Tentunya menarik jika kita mendengarkan langsung kisah perjuangan mereka yang akhirnya mengantarkan mereka ke posisi mereka hari ini. Jika boleh saya membuka rahasia, sebenarnya acara talkshow ini sudah dijadwalkan sebagai bagian dari rangkaian acara Reuni SMA tahun 2014 di Jakarta. Satu dari tiga kandidat acara talkshow bahkan hadir dan sudah bersedia untuk tampil. Sayang sekali, karena kendala waktu, acara tersebut akhirnya dibatalkan. Semenjak itu, idea ini selalu terngiang-ngiang di benak saya, sampai akhirnya saya sadar bahwa saya sebenarnya bisa mewujudkannya dalam bentuk tulisan di blog ini. Sekarang, untuk pertama kalinya, saya persembahkan hasil wawancara jarak jauh dengan teman kita, Limin.

Kisah Limin bermula dari bubuk kopi yang selalu ia lihat di masa kecilnya. Ayahnya sudah menekuni usaha ini sejak tahun 70an, jadi Limin kecil tidaklah asing dengan segala sesuatu yang berkaitan dengan kopi. Sebagai seorang bocah, ia tentu tidak menyangka bahwa aroma wangi yang ia hirup setiap hari itu akan mengubah hidupnya suatu hari nanti. Jauh sebelum hari itu tiba, Limin hanyalah anak biasa seperti kita. Dia bermain, sekolah, lulus dan kerja kantoran. Selangkah demi selangkah seperti pemuda Pontianak lainnya.

Di tahun 2002, Limin membuka usaha warung kopi, suatu pilihan yang masuk akal mengingat ayahnya berusaha di bidang bubuk kopi. Akan tetapi Pontianak di awal tahun 2000an bukanlah tempat yang ramah bagi penikmat kopi. Di kala itu, warung kopi identik dengan hal-hal negatif sehingga anak muda di kota kecil ini, apalagi seorang wanita, jarang mengunjungi warung kopi. Limin sendiri, waktu itu berusia 20an, masih mencoba menemukan jalan hidup dengan cara menjajal beraneka usaha yang ada, tapi seringkali kandas di tengah jalan.

Pada akhirnya hanya tinggal warung kopi yang bertahan. Bukan cuma itu, seiring dengan perubahan zaman yang membuat warung kopi mulai diterima sebagai tempat yang lumrah, usaha ini tampaknya kian menjanjikan. Di saat itulah Limin merasa barangkali ia harus terjun 100% untuk mengelolanya. 

Limin mulai lagi dari awal. Ia belajar menguasai seni menyeduh kopi dan dari percobaan yang terus menerus ia lakukan, Limin menyadari bahwa kopi yang disajikan haruslah dibikin langsung, bukannya dibuat dalam jumlah melimpah dan dihangatkan ketika ada yang pesan. Dia juga mulai mengamati seperti apa sebenarnya minat pelanggan, misalnya jenis kopi yang digemari adalah Robusta, lalu kopi yang enak seharusnya tidak terasa asam. Lebih lanjut lagi, ia pastikan bahwa ia mengenal pelanggan dengan baik sehingga sebelum mereka memesan, dia sudah tahu seperti apa penyajian kopi yang pelanggan inginkan. Limin juga memahami pentingnya branding dan image, hal yang seringkali diabaikan oleh para senior warung kopi dari generasi sebelumnya. Pentingnya suasana bagi pengunjung membuat Limin memperhatikan tata ruang, menyediakan wifi dan charging gratis serta TV layar lebar dan fasilitas lainnya.

Segala upaya di atas adalah penting, tapi yang terutama tentunya adalah rasa kopi itu sendiri. Segala sesuatu yang berkaitan dengan kopi, mulai dari pembelian biji kopi mentah hingga pengolahan dan pengemasan dikontrol secara rutin supaya kualitasnya terjaga. Di Warkop Aming, Limin turun langsung untuk menikmati kopinya demi memastikan agar rasanya tetap konsisten.

Semua kerja keras ini tentunya tidak berarti jika tidak dipromosikan. Di kota kecil seperti Pontianak, tidak ada yang lebih ampuh dari bisikan mulut ke mulut. Nama Warkop Aming pun mulai terdengar berkat para pelanggannya. Akan tetapi Limin sendiri tidak tinggal diam. Dia jeli dalam melihat dan memanfaatkan peranan media sosial yang gratis tapi bisa menjangkau massa.

Sukses tentunya tidak terjadi dalam semalam, namun Limin sudah berada di jalur yang tepat. Warkop Aming senantiasa dibanjiri pengunjung dan bahkan Presiden Jokowi pun mampir ke sana untuk menikmati kopinya. Warkop Aming juga memenangkan penghargaan dari Go-Food di tahun 2017. Popularitasnya melejit belakangan ini, sehingga koran pun mewawancarai pemiliknya untuk memuaskan rasa ingin tahu publik, seperti yang bisa kita baca di link berikut ini: https://goo.gl/9fo3vd

Satu hal yang patut diteladani dari pria yang telah berkeluarga ini adalah di dalam kesederhanaannya, dia mengerti bahwa langkah berikutnya adalah apa yang membedakan dia dan para pengusaha warung kopi lainnya. Limin terus mengembangkan usaha bubuk kopi yang telah dirintis ayahnya dan memasarkannya ke supermarket dan berbagai jalur distribusi lainnya. Ia juga mencoba terobosan baru seperti Kopi Luwak. Asalkan ia tetap memiliki visi selanjutnya, niscaya masa depan terbentang cerah di hadapannya...

Aming Coffee bisa ditemukan di Google, lengkap dengan jam buka dan tutup dan info lainnya
Image credit: Google

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