Doddy Samsura traumatized by coffee, now Indonesia best barista
By Syanne Susita
No one knew Doddy Samsura – Indonesia’s best barista and second winner in World’s Barista Champhionship last year – did not enjoy coffee at first. Originally from Medan, Samsura admitted that he was traumatized by coffee when he tasted espresso for the first time. He was forced to do so when he first worked at a cafe in Yogyakarta back in 2008.
“Before I worked as a barista, you could say that I didn’t like coffee. I tasted my first espresso, and the strong smell and flavor shocked me. For the next month or so I continued working as a barista but never tasted or drank coffee anymore,” Doddy pointed out.
However, that bitter experience encouraged him to find out why many people are addicted to coffee. He researched further and learned from browsing the internet, reading books, and talking to coffee experts in person or through social network such as Facebook or Twitter. Over the next three months, Doddy’s knowledge grew from doing “kopi sobek” (instant coffee) to becoming the trainer barista for the company. This new opportunity allowed him to travel around Indonesia and he eventually became inseparabale to the world of coffee.
After trying out many coffee competitions and consistently practicing for 8 hours a day for several months before the competition, Doddy’s hard work finally paid off. He managed to come out as a winner of Indonesian Barista Competition in 2013 and was selected to represent Indonesia in the World Barista Championship in Melbourne, Australia. He finished second in Australia, losing the top place to New Zealand. This achievement is quite surprising considering Indonesia does not participate regularly in international barista competitions. Working full time as a barista is not exactly a common career choice in Indonesia.
Coffee, according to Doddy, has plenty of factors to be explored. Every step of the coffee making is something new and interesting. He studied coffee from the planting, the handling, the roasting process, the brewing, and finally, the art of displaying coffee to a customer.
“To get coffee with high quality beans, there are several determining factors – starting from the beans, water, temperature and pressure. The brewing process, for example, could be determined by the processing machines. There are various machines that can extract the best quality out of the beans, but some actually damage the quality. The climate and terrain of where the beans are planted will influence the end result. Coffee berries planted in highlands such as Gayo highlands will give different quality from coffee berries planted in Bali,” said Doddy.
And it’s the same careful handling that is given to coffee picking, storing and roasting. With so many things to be explored about coffee, competition organizers usually do a variety of things. Doddy added that some competitions judge on the apperance of the coffee instead of the quality of the coffee. This is where latte art competition comes in.
“In a competition like that, the flavor is not graded but judges look the physical presentation when the coffee is served in a cup,” said Doddy.