A New Wave of Jamu at Acaraki

"If you type ‘jamu modern’ on Google's page, Acaraki is always at the top of the search results. Since its establishment, Acaraki has continued to attract attention. Acaraki is the new face of jamu in the millennial era. Young, fresh, stylish, and innovative but still has strong roots of jamu traditions. It's no wonder that Acaraki succeeded in embracing young people to get to know and consume jamu. The novelty in the process of making and serving this 'old' drink has succeeded in making jamu 'upgraded'. For Jony Yuwono, founder and owner, Acaraki is an idealistic and philosophical journey."

Published by : Farida  -  28/05/2021 18:20 WIB

3 Minutes read.

The word jamu is believed to have come from the Old Javanese language: Djampi and Usodo. Djampi means prayer, while usodo means health. If the two meanings are combined, jamu has the meaning of prayer for health. “So according to our interpretation, our ancestors considered jamu as anything that is used by our bodies for health purposes and confirmed by prayer,” said Jony.

Image Resource : www.paprikaliving.com

For Jony Yuwono, jamu is not always the same as medicine, but medicine is a form of jamu. Other forms can be in the form of food (using turmeric, ginger, galangal as a kitchen spice), drinks (such as wedang), even cosmetics (Sari Ayu and Mustika Ratu, refer to their beauty products as Jamu).

 According to Jony, comparing jamu to modern medicine is like comparing pencak silat with boxing. If the two practitioners did a fight, the winner would be depending on whose rules were used for the fight. If a pencak silat practitioner is asked to fight a boxer in a boxing ring with boxing rules, the chances of pencak silat winning will be very low.



The regulation or benchmark of modern medicine is a stopwatch. Jony gave an example, if he has a headache and takes paracetamol, with a stopwatch count, what is measured is how quickly the headache goes away. If the efficacy of jamu is measured by a stopwatch, it is clear that it will be difficult for jamu to win against modern medicine.

The Madhawapura inscription from the Majapahit era records several professions that existed at that time: Abhasana was a clothing maker, Angawari was a cooking pot maker and Acaraki  was a jamu maker. It is said that at the time an Acaraki was believed to pray, meditate, and fast before concocting jamu to gather positive energy. When the jamu has been prepared, consumers are asked to pray to acknowledge that God is the ultimate healer.

So the efficacy of jamu does not only depend on the compounder, but also the mental and spiritual condition of the user. So, proving the efficacy of jamu has always been a challenge for the medical world. However, even though jamu has not been clinically proven, it does not mean that jamu is not efficacious. That is the reason Acaraki tried to explore jamu from an artistic and cultural perspective.

If we look at the practice of jamu gendong, the jamu gendong sellers make the same jamu every day (they do not make, as an example,  Beras kencur for Monday, Kunyit Asam for Tuesday, Paitan for Wednesday, and so on). The route of the jamu gendong sellers tends to be the same every day, circling the same route and dealing with the same consumers. That is, the jamu sold by the jamu gendong sellers are jamu that can be consumed every day. This shows that jamu is a lifestyle drink like coffee and tea.

Acaraki processes jamu by adopting the coffee process. These two types of drinks do have something in common. Some similarities that can be found, among others, are both from plants, both have a bitter taste, both are drunk for their benefits (in the beginning, coffee was drunk to dispel sleepiness), both were processed by boiling (in the beginning, the coffee beans were ground using a pestle or mortar and then boiled). The hundred years old coffee is still regarded as contemporary and has become a trend because it has experienced several waves of evolution.



At first the coffee was brewed at home. Then, came the first wave of coffee in the form of instant coffee, which can be brewed quickly. Practicality is the key. The second wave came with the innovations in various tools and coffee machines, so that coffee can be brewed in front of customers at the café by the baristas. Taste is the key, with the emergence of various drink menus with coffee-based ingredients such as Latte, Frappuccino, Macchiato, and others. Finally, the third wave, when it happened, coffee drinkers began to have awareness of coffee farmers and the coffee they produce. The integrity of the ingredients is the key, appreciation of the area of origin of coffee beans such as Gayo Coffee, Toraja, Kintamani, resulted in the term single origin coffee.

According to Jony, jamu is still  in the first wave, which is if it is not cooked at home, it is served in the form of instant sachets. Acaraki tries to introduce a new wave of jamu, which he calls ‘Jamu New Wave’, jamu is brewed in front of customers by the acaraki while not forgetting to help the jamu farmers to improve the integrity of the herbal ingredients.

Research conducted by Jony and the Acaraki team shows that the area that produces jamu ingredients will affect the compounding processes and the taste produced. “In line with coffee, jamu ingredients from different regions produce different flavors. For example, we have kencur from Lampung and Wonogiri. Our findings are that kencur from Lampung is more fragrant (aromatic) when brewed but less dense. Kencur from Wonogiri shows the opposite characteristic, it is not very fragrant, but has a thick taste,” he said.

Therefore, the two kencur will be adjusted to different brewing techniques at the Acaraki cafe. The Pour Over V60 technique will be very suitable for Lampung kencur because this technique can optimally remove the aroma from the ingredients. For Wonogiri kencur, it will be suitable to be brewed with the Infusion French Press Technique where the ingredients are soaked in hot water or with the Manual Espresso Technique where the ingredients are brewed under pressure.

“The difference in taste like kencur also occurs in rice, turmeric, ginger from various parts of Indonesia. Bhinneka is our strength, if there has been an exploration of the archipelago’s coffee and tea, in the future we hope to explore the archipelago’s jamu, “continued Jony.

Currently, Acaraki serves two types of jamu, Specialty Jamu and New Wave Jamu. Similar to Specialty Coffee, Specialty Jamu is jamu that is brewed without any additives so that the area of origin, ingredients, and brewing techniques determine the taste. For now there are 5 brewing techniques, namely:

  • Saring – Pour Over V60
  • Tubruk – Infusion French Press
  • Pekat – Manual Espresso
  • Syphon (Only at Acaraki Kemang)
  • Aeropress (Only at Acaraki Kemang)

Meanwhile, New Wave Jamu comprises various jamu-based menus, where soda, honey, milk, ice cream, etc. are added to make a fresh drink. The 3 most favorite menus at Acaraki are:

  1. Saranti (Beras Kencur+Milk+Creamer)
  2. Golden Sparkling (Kunyit Asam+Soda+Sugar)
  3. Bereskrim (Beras Kencur+Ice Cream)