Tahlil Coffee, Spice Coffee from the Tradition of Tahlilan
The chant “Laa ilaaha illallah” wafted beautifully in certain nights in Pekalongan. This city of batik, also known as the city of Islamic students, is indeed thick with its Islamic culture. One of them is Tahlilan ritual–which, consequently, gave birth to a glass of Tahlil coffee.
Tahlil means an act of remembering by continuing to utter the Tawhid phrases. This ritual is usually done to pray for the souls of the dead, consecutively on the 3rd (nelung ndino), the 7th (mitung ndino), the 40th (matang puluh), the 100th (nyatus), and the 1000th day (nyewu). Besides, Tahlil is also common to be conducted on the eve of Kliwon (Javanese calendar) Friday night, or on other Islamic celebratory nights.
For these sincere prayers and zikrs to blend warmly, a spice-laden coffee is born. With the population of Pekalongan consisting of people from Arab, Javanese, and Chinese descent, this coastal city is indeed vibrant with cultural acculturation.
Pak Usman was the man who dubbed himself as the first seller of Tahlil coffee in 2002. “During Tahlilan event, I made a coffee mixed with spices. Only to make it fresh,” he said in an interview with one of the media outlets. Since there were a lot of spice coffee aficionados, Pak Usman also decided to sell his spice coffee on the roadside.
When asked, Pak Usman answered that the coffee he served was ginger coffee. However, the coffee connoisseurs protested, because they could feel some tastes other than ginger. Since this coffee blend was obtained by Pak Usman at the Tahlilan event, he decided to name his coffee Tahlil Coffee.
For hardcore coffee lovers, do not imagine an extraordinary way or techniques of brewing. The way Tahlil coffee is made is pretty straightforward. The spices for Tahlil coffee are pounded, then boiled for two hours inside a pot. After it is boiling, add brown sugar and mix well. Only then, this spice water is brewed together with ground coffee. The intense fragrance of spice immediately filled the room.
Ginger flavors, cardamom, cloves, cinnamon, pandanus, lemongrass, and nutmeg tasted spicy and warm in the throat. The fragrance of the spices keeps us awake due to its freshness. The taste of coffee can only be traced a little, at the end of every gulp. This is what they call spice coffee, or Tahlil coffee.
Tahlil coffee that was previously distributed only during tahlilan events can now be found in every corner of the city of Pekalongan. Do not worry, almost all the fringe stalls in Pekalongan provide this coffee. You can also add the pleasure by mixing in some milk to the coffee if you like.
For an authentic taste, visit Pak Usman’s stall that is located in front of the fruit market at Jalan Patiunus.
Due to Tahlil coffee’s warming property on our body, the coffee stalls were usually open from 4 pm until dawn.
If Tahlil coffee warms the body, dhikr, and tahlil warm the soul. Hopefully, a glass of Tahlil coffee can always be a reminder for us to continue our dhikr, to warm our heart and soul by giving thanks and praising the Creator!