PETALING JAYA: A sometimes quiet neighbourhood within the Johor city of Muar, there may be usually little cause to place Taman Bakariah on the vacationer map.
Appearances deceive, nonetheless. And if you happen to occur to move by means of this residential space, you may be capable of catch the scent of one thing inviting within the air: espresso.
The scent of roasted beans is difficult to overlook and, for many of the day, it pervades the senses. An excellent factor for coffeeholics, for positive.
The place is that this delectable scent coming from? Because it seems, Taman Bakariah is dwelling to a decades-old enterprise famed in Muar and past.
Most guests to Muar usually make a pitstop at Kopi 434 Muar, near the centre of city. It’s a in style spot the place locals and vacationers alike collect over hearty meals and, after all, robust espresso.
It’s a four-minute automotive drive from the coffeehouse to the manufacturing facility, the place an “elephant” stands guard outdoors. The statue is a landmark on this a part of city, the animal being a reference to certainly one of 434’s hottest merchandise, Elephant Espresso.
Kopi 434’s roastery continues to be in operation to today. Go by means of the manufacturing facility gates and also you’ll instantly spot the roastery, its staff engrossed in churning out the most effective espresso powder on the town.
Steam wafts out of nice machines as tonnes of espresso beans are processed and ultimately packaged to be delivered to locations far and broad.
On the grounds of the roastery is the humble homestead of the Kiar clan, the household that began the enterprise in 1953 and continues to run it to today.
Whereas the entire household stays concerned in its operation, Kiar Cher Yong, 38, is commonly on the forefront, and it’s he who FMT Life-style not too long ago spoke to relating to his household’s historical past.
Instantly descended from 434 founder Kiar Am Sai, this third-generation member of the household mentioned most vacationers wrongly assume the enterprise began with the coffeehouse on the town.
In actuality, he mentioned, it began with the manufacturing facility right here in Taman Bakariah. “We began off as espresso producers,” he mentioned.
Many of the beans at Kopi 434’s roastery are of the Liberica variant, generally grown in Johor. “We collaborate with some farmers right here, encouraging them to plant it. Once they have a harvest, we purchase it from them.”
He additionally confirmed the city legend that explains why the official identify of Sai Kee is commonly forgotten in favour of the favored identify of 434.
“Again within the day, most of our clients had been Malays they usually knew our espresso as ‘empat-tiga-empat’. And that identify has caught ever since.”
Based on Kiar, the roastery produces as much as two tonnes of espresso merchandise per day, a powerful yield for an impartial roastery.
“The recipe is totally different,” he mentioned relating to 434’s reputation. “The way in which we roast our espresso beans includes extra than simply roasting.”
Apparently, the household recipe includes a contact of margarine and sugar, though how a lot is a commerce secret. “It has been the identical recipe from 1953,” he mentioned.
Kiar added that one of the simplest ways to be taught why 434 has lasted so long as it has is solely to provide its espresso a strive.
“Take a cup of our espresso and drink it. Describing how the style is totally different is tough, as totally different folks have totally different experiences,” he mentioned.
He recommends the Elephant Bean Espresso, which was successful again within the day and stays so immediately.
Apparently, within the Nineteen Nineties, when different roasteries had been sourcing their espresso beans from abroad, 434 selected to proceed shopping for theirs from farms nearer to dwelling.
“With the Elephant Bean Espresso, we simply wished a espresso which might symbolize Malaysia within the espresso world,” he defined.
However 434 has garnered a popularity outdoors Malaysia, too, and though the roastery doesn’t instantly export its merchandise to close by Singapore, they nonetheless seem in on-line shops there.
To date, 434 solely has its roastery and two cafés to its identify, with one being the aforementioned Muar outlet and the opposite in Melaka. “The following outlet ought to be in Kuala Lumpur or Selangor,” Kiar hinted.
Requested if he feels proud for persevering with his household’s legacy, he replied: “After all I really feel proud, however there are additionally so many tasks and issues.”
Nonetheless, he stays optimistic. “If we are able to preserve this model working for 100 years, then we have to be doing one thing proper. That is my goal, my dream.”
Sai Kee Kopi Serbuk Sdn Bhd
111, Jalan Bakariah,
84000 Muar, Johor
Working hours: 8am-5.30pm (closed on Sundays)
Contact: 019-626 3434