The market for the jamu industry in Indonesia is quite large. Thomas Hartono, the vice chairman of Gabungan Pengusaha Jamu (Jamu Entrepreneurs Association), mentioned that in 2018 the turnover of the local jamu industry reached IDR 19 trillion.
The turnover then increased by around 10% in 2019 to IDR 21.9 trillion (Katadata; 2020). However, as the era is changing, jamu will also need to adapt to the changes to prevent extinction. The industry for jamu must metamorphose in order to keep up with the times in a sustainable manner.
The tradition of ‘jamu gendong’ (merchants who carry home-made jamu on their back and sell around the neighborhoods), the merchants make the same jamu every day. They make their rounds daily and have regular customers. This means that the jamu can be consumed on a daily basis.
So, why don’t we adopt the habit of consuming jamu as part of our lifestyle; just like coffee?
Jamu has the potential to adapt
to the art of coffee because it has a lot in common with coffee. Both are plants, have a bitter taste, boiled, for efficacy and later enjoyed by the consumer. Why is coffee trending as a lifestyle? How can a hundred-year-old coffee be called “modern”?
In the coffee world, there are three movements known as "waves." Each wave marks a change in consumer behavior in the coffee industry. Initially coffee was consumed due to its properties for energy as it relieves drowsiness.
The most common serving method was by boiling coffee in water.
In the early 1900s, modern industry produced various practical and feasible innovations. At that time, instant coffee was created, a huge development for coffee lovers. The invention of instant coffee marked the first wave in the coffee world.
During this era, the industry focused more on packaging innovation and practicality of presentation so that consumers could drink coffee to get rid of sleepiness more quickly and easily.
The second wave in the coffee world occurred when specialty cafes to enjoy coffee began to appear. The emergence of specialty coffee cafes or the so-called coffee shops shifted the role of coffee, which was originally only a sleep deprived-relieving drink, to become a lifestyle.
Then, the third wave was marked by the growing interest in coffee drinkers to the material integrity In this wave there was an increase in awareness of the source of material, the process of coffee planting, the post-harvest process, the processing, and the brewing.
Similar waves also occurred in the world of jamu. Jamu is consumed because it has health properties and is extracted by boiling the ingredients.
The first wave of jamu occurred in the 1980s, and it was marked by the emergence of various jamu companies that processed various herbs into instant crystalline powder and packed it into sachets to make it easier for consumers to brew at home.
However, the next wave has not yet occurred, in which jamu is consumed as part of a lifestyle.
Some businessmen saw this opportunity and built a herbal “shop” as a special place to enjoy jamu. One specific shop is Acaraki. The name 'Acaraki' comes from Sanskrit, to refer to the profession of 'herbal concoction' maker during Majapahit era.
Kedai Jamu Acaraki has an open kitchen concept, in which the consumer's choice of jamu is brewed directly in front of the consumer by the acaraki, just as coffee is brewed by the baristas.
How to Brew Acaraki JamuIndonesia Gastronomy Network
By adopting various brewing techniques and tools, Acaraki offers various brewing options to produce jamu with different flavors.
Kunyit Asam Brewed with V60 (Pourover) MethodIndonesia Gastronomy Network
For example, rice and aromatic ginger (kencur) can be brewed using pour over technique using V60 coffee tool to produce a fragrant aroma with a clean and light taste.
Rokpresso Brewing Method by AcarakiIndonesia Gastronomy Network
The taste will be different if similar ingredients are brewed with manual espresso technique by using a Rokpresso tool. This process will produce a thick and concentrated jamu mixture.
French Press Brewing Method by AcarakiIndonesia Gastronomy Network
There are also other techniques and tools available for consumers to explore the richness of the flavors in 'The Art of Jamu'.
Beras Kencur Brewed With Espresso MachineIndonesia Gastronomy Network
Beras Kencur, brewed with Espresso machine
Similar to the third wave in the coffee world, Acaraki also emphasizes the integrity of ingredients and offers herbal ingredients that they directly acquire from local farmers.
KA Dutch by AcarakiIndonesia Gastronomy Network
Consumers can try to identify the difference in taste between aromatic ginger (jahe) acquired from Lampung Sumatra and those from Wonogiri, Central Java. Consumers can also explore the different levels of warmth of jahe emprit, jahe gajah, and jahe merah.
Acaraki Cinagara by AcarakiIndonesia Gastronomy Network
Even though it is very modern in appearance, Acaraki is actually still rooted in a strong tradition. Jamu can be present in beauty products, food, and beverages. Just like Acaraki serves and provides. Acaraki's exploration shows that 'bhinneka' (diversity) is the strength and abundance of Indonesian herbal medicine.