TENOM: Its aroma, fragrant. Its taste, enticing. That is the general experience when visiting the Yit Foh Coffee Factory, here.
The factory is one of the producers of Kopi Tenom. It has been operating since 1960 and is still employing the traditional way of producing coffee grounds: by roasting the beans over woodfire.
"This method is best in bringing out the true aroma of coffee," said its factory manager, Alex Yong, when met at the factory in Kampung Chintamata, some 3km away from Tenom town.
Alex, who inherited the family business, opened up a new factory in 1993 and is now working at expanding the market for his products globally.
Making coffee starts with the process of sun drying coffee cherries for 14 days. After that, the outer layers of the dried cherries are hulled. It is then roasted from 7am to noon by a "coffee cook" while packing is done from 8am to 5pm.
Yong has 36 trained staff, including six "coffee cooks", capable of producing some 600 packets of coffee products daily.
Today, the company produces 10 coffee products that are marketed nationwide as well as in the neighbouring Brunei.
Besides providing local farmers income opportunities, Kopi Tenom has also helped familiarise Sabah in the way Cameron Highlands popularised Boh Tea.
Coffee is one of Tenom's most important agricultural produce, so much so that the district has been dubbed "Sabah's coffee capital".
To further promote it, a coffee festival is being held from today (Nov 12) until Friday (Nov 14).
The festival will culminate in an event this Friday where 4,000 people will simultaneously drink coffee, to break the current record of 3,068 people as stated in the Malaysian Book of Records.
Continue reading at: Kopi Tenom fest kicks off.