Arrival Medan

The 2011 Nordic Barista Cup winners have arrived to the Sumatran capital Medan. Alexander, Anne, Pernilla and Per will be joined by 11 other people on the one-week trip sponsored and arranged by Mercanta. The total group of 15 has people from Sweden, Denmark, Estonia, Great Britain, USA and Australia.

Medan greeted us with sunny weather and around 32 degrees celcius. The Swedish team arrived yesterday to acclimatize and to get a brief look at the cafe scene in Medan. Here they are at cafe Opal.

Today the going is easy. We are all getting ready for a week of touring around Medan, Lake Toba, Sidikalang and to host barista jams, pick cherries (if any ripe) and to indulge in the local cuisine.

We have already had Indonesian food such as duck feet, fried fish, seafood dumplings and the very local favourite cake: durian cake. You should know that when entering hotels and finer places there is a sign saying “NO DURIAN ALLOWED” and there is a big red X over a drawing of this innocent fruit. Here they call durian friut the “king of fruits”. So the cake itself looks a bit like Kermit. The taste… more like Animal.

Alexander of the Swedish barista team was the only brave person at the table, who tried this bright green but intensly smelly friend.

His description of the Durian cake was: “It has an intense tast of something gone (long) past the “best before” date.” To add a nother dimension to this culinary experience of his was the creamy texture and looong aftertaste. We will take his word for that!

The Indonesian flag.

The Indonesian flag

Here are some facts about Sumatra, just so you get the feel of the country:

Sumatra is a part of The Republic of Indonesia, which is an archipelago with around 17.000 islands amongst others Java, Bali, Sulawesi, New Guinea (West) and Sumatra.

Around 50 million people live in Sumatra, approximately 2 million of them in Medan. The majority of the Sumatran population (87%) is muslim, while 10% are Christian and 2% Buddhist and 1% Hindu. Sumatra has many different ethnic groups and they speak a total of 52 languages.

The average January climate for Medan is sunny, 25-30 degrees Celcius, some rain and thunderstorms and 75% humidity. Need we say more…?

Today the plan is to wander around Medan and to meet up later at night for dinner with the whole group. Tomorrow the fun begins. Lake Toba and then Wahana Estate.