Wood fire roasted coffee beans. AFP
A Malaysian worker pours roasted coffee beans into a pot of bubbling, melted sugar as an ageing machine stirs the ingredients into a sticky black mixture over a crackling wood fire.
The Antong mill, believed to be the oldest such set-up in Malaysia, has been using the same methods to produce its popular coffee for almost nine decades.
"I want to let young people know what coffee factories looked like 50 or 100 years ago," Thian Boon Chung, the boss of the small mill in the Malaysian town of Taiping said.
"I want them to appreciate the old ways of making coffee."
The mill — built by Thian's grandfather and two others in 1933 — is a small wooden building with a zinc roof.
It houses machines for roasting coffee, removing the husk from beans and mixing them up with sugar.
Many of the contraptions are original, dating from when the factory started operations, although their motors have been replaced.
The mill workers use wood gathered from construction projects and abandoned houses to roast the beans, giving it a distinct, smoky flavour.
Thian said his wood-roasted coffee tasted better than other varieties: "It has 'power' in the taste that cannot simply be explained by words."
After the beans are mixed with sugar, they are dried and crushed into a coarse powder before being packaged and sold to restaurants and other customers.
The mill can produce up to 2,000 kilograms (4,400 pounds) of coffee products a day, with half its beans sourced in Malaysia and the rest imported.
The type of sweet coffee produced at the factory has long been popular in Malaysia, where many like their drinks sugary, and is commonly served at restaurants.
Governor Sindh Imran Ismail has said that the Pakistan Pavilion in the Expo 2020 Dubai is one of the best pavilions and appreciated the team who made it, which incorporates the country’s culture, heritage, places and people.
Perhaps the largest and longest celebration of local and global cultures in the UAE and the region, the three-week festival from March 20 – April 10, is organised by the Sharjah Institute for Heritage (SIH).
Over the weekend and before the celebratory graduation party for 13 women who dared to learn about coffee-making and mixology – that which is about all the wide range of aperitifs and mixed drinks, Fahim Arrif who began as a barrista himself in his native South Africa 18 years back, said: “Over the nine years I have been in the UAE, the consumer palette for coffee has changed drastically. People have learnt to educate themselves about food they consume.
The Emirati Families Pavilion is proud to offer visitors a wide range of local products and handicrafts, which are particularly attractive to those interested in artistic items that reflect the spirit of the UAE.
Charles was particularly taken by a card showing a dog feeling sorry for itself after medical treatment, with the message: “At least you don’t have to wear a cone.”
The actress added: "We've had a lovely time. We really hope to do something to make people enjoy it.
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