Yogya's Barista With a Difference

Eko sets off for work, accompanied by a neighbor in Besi, Yogyakarta, on Saturday (21/07). (JG Photo/Yudha Baskoro)

By : JG | on 11:10 PM July 25, 2018
Category : Eyewitness, Multimedia, Photos

Eko Sugeng is not an ordinary barista – he is a barista with a disability.

Eko lost part of his arms in a work-related accident in 2002, and after a long and sometimes lonely struggle to come to terms with had happened to him, he decided to go to Yakkum Rehabilitation Center in Yogyakarta early in 2004. There, the 33-year-old not only learned to adapt, he also regained his confidence and the conviction that he could work again someday and be independent once more, despite his disability.

He did all kinds of exercises and even learned to type on a computer using his feet.

In 2017, a café with a difference opened at the rehabilitation center. Cupable Café adopted an innovative business model that is about much more than just serving delicious coffee. It also provides training opportunities for people with disabilities.

Eko, who worked as a receptionist at Yakkum at the time, saw the barista training offered by Cupable Café as a golden opportunity. "'Why am I only enjoying coffee if I can make it?' That question gave me a strong determination to learn to be a barista," he said.

Eko has since become one of the first disabled baristas working at Cupable Café. His signature drink is a manual brew of arabica beans from Suroloyo, Kulon Progo and Jambi. He can make at least 15 cups of coffee per day.

With help from his mentor, Arka Pawiwit, Eko is currently learning to make coffee latte, because some parts of the process, such as steaming the milk and creating latte art, are very difficult for a person lacking fingers.

Eko and his wife have one child, whom he says motivates him to overcome his challenges. His dream is to open his own café one day where he can employ people like himself, living with disabilities.

"I make coffee without hands, but it does not mean without love," Eko said.

Eko Sugeng, 33, lost part of his arms in a work-related accident in 2002. (JG Photo/Yudha Baskoro) Eko Sugeng, 33, lost part of his arms in a work-related accident in 2002. (JG Photo/Yudha Baskoro)

 

Eko walking to work along Jalan Kaliurang in Yogyakarta on Saturday (21/07). (JG Photo/Yudha Baskoro) Eko walking to work along Jalan Kaliurang in Yogyakarta on Saturday (21/07). (JG Photo/Yudha Baskoro)

A friend at Cupable Café helps him put on an apron. (JG Photo/Yudha Baskoro) A friend at Cupable Café helps him put on an apron. (JG Photo/Yudha Baskoro)

Eko prepares to create his signature drink – a manual brew of arabica beans from Suroloyo, Kulon Progo and Jambi. (JG Photo/Yudha Baskoro) Eko prepares to create his signature drink – a manual brew of arabica beans from Suroloyo, Kulon Progo and Jambi. (JG Photo/Yudha Baskoro)

He was one of the first disabled baristas employed at Cupable Café. (JG Photo/Yudha Baskoro) He was one of the first disabled baristas employed at Cupable Café. (JG Photo/Yudha Baskoro)

Eko operates an espresso machine. He is still learning to make coffee latte, because some parts of the process, such as steaming the milk and creating latte art, are very difficult for a person with no fingers. (JG Photo/Yudha Baskoro) Eko operates an espresso machine. He is still learning to make coffee latte, because some parts of the process, such as steaming the milk and creating latte art, are very difficult for a person with no fingers. (JG Photo/Yudha Baskoro)

He says making coffee without hands does not mean it is made without love. (JG Photo/Yudha Baskoro) He says making coffee without hands does not mean it is made without love. (JG Photo/Yudha Baskoro)

Eko and his friend Ade learning to use a Hario V60 coffee dripper at Cupable Café in Yogyakarta. Eko says he can brew at least 15 cups of coffee per day. (JG Photo/Yudha Baskoro) Eko and his friend Ade learning to use a Hario V60 coffee dripper at Cupable Café in Yogyakarta. Eko says he can brew at least 15 cups of coffee per day. (JG Photo/Yudha Baskoro)

Eko serves a customer at Cupable Café. His dream is to open his own café one day where he can employ people like himself, living with disabilities. (JG Photo/Yudha Baskoro) Eko serves a customer at Cupable Café. His dream is to open his own café one day where he can employ people like himself, living with disabilities. (JG Photo/Yudha Baskoro)


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