‘Kopi Sawah' finds fame on social media, draws visitors from near and far

23 Dec 2023 08:30am
Situated at Jalan Parit 8 in Kampung Sungai Leman, Kopi Sawah is owned and operated by bosom buddies and business partners Muhammad Izzat Zakwan Samudin, Muhammad Redzuani Ismail and Mohammad Faqhrul Nisyam Ismail, all aged 25. - Photo: INSTAGRAM / KOPI SAWAH
Situated at Jalan Parit 8 in Kampung Sungai Leman, Kopi Sawah is owned and operated by bosom buddies and business partners Muhammad Izzat Zakwan Samudin, Muhammad Redzuani Ismail and Mohammad Faqhrul Nisyam Ismail, all aged 25. - Photo: INSTAGRAM / KOPI SAWAH
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KUALA LUMPUR - Going viral on social media for the right reasons is the dream of any business owner.

Perhaps, it is Kopi Sawah’s premium location in Sekinchan - dubbed the rice bowl of Selangor - which is about 100 kilometres from the capital city, that inspired its patrons to promote the small food and beverage outlet on their Facebook, TikTok and Instagram accounts, prompting people from other parts of the state and even the country to patronise it.

After all, there is nothing quite like sipping a hot cup of local coffee whilst feasting one’s eyes on the colours of the rice fields that stretch as far as the eyes can see and enjoying the crisp countryside air.

Situated at Jalan Parit 8 in Kampung Sungai Leman, Kopi Sawah is owned and operated by bosom buddies and business partners Muhammad Izzat Zakwan Samudin, Muhammad Redzuani Ismail and Mohammad Faqhrul Nisyam Ismail, all aged 25.

Born and raised in Sekinchan and obviously proud of their scenic village, the youths wanted to showcase the simple yet profound beauty of their birthplace.

"The padi fields here are the pride of Sekinchan and they are the symbol of our little café (which they opened towards the end of 2021).

"We also came up with the tagline, ‘ngopi dulu baru ke sawah’ (‘have coffee first before going to the rice field’), because traditionally the elders in our community would enjoy a cup of coffee first before heading to the padi field to work,” said Muhammad Izzat Zakwan, the son of a padi farmer.

SOCIAL MEDIA FAME

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Thanks to word-of-mouth and social media "advertising”, business is brisk at Kopi Sawah, which operates from noon to 7 pm daily and offers freshly-brewed local coffee and a tantalising menu comprising delicacies prepared by some of the villagers residing nearby.

Muhammad Izzat Zakwan told Bernama he is grateful to his fellow villagers who helped to promote their outlet on social media platforms.

"They uploaded photos of themselves sipping coffee against the panoramic backdrop of the rice fields... the pictures went viral and our coffee shop became increasingly popular,” he said, adding even the Sekinchan Facebook group extolled the charms of Kopi Sawah while many customers described it as a "hidden gem”.

Soon, the owners found themselves getting really busy, especially during the weekends and school holidays, with visitors from Selangor, Kuala Lumpur and other states stopping at their place to savour the Kopi Sawah experience.

They now have three full-time staff and eight part-time workers to assist them in their daily operations.

Muhammad Izzat Zakwan said they also built a simple single-storey structure from where visitors can treat themselves to sweeping views of Sekinchan and capture some memorable shots for their social media accounts.

"Our café has become a place of choice for many people, or as the youngsters put it, an appealing ‘ootd’ (outfit of the day) port,” he said, smiling.

Relating how the idea of starting a coffee outlet came about, he said after he and Muhammad Redzuani graduated from university in March 2020, they worked part-time at a restaurant and also did food deliveries.

"We had no business experience or capital then but we were determined to open a coffee shop by the padi fields,” he said, adding that eventually, they managed to raise RM8,000 which they used to get their business off the ground.

Later, they invited their friend Mohammad Faqhrul Nisyam to be a part of their venture as the latter was jobless then.

BARISTA WHO DISLIKES COFFEE

Ironically, Muhammad Izzat Zakwan is not a coffee lover but seeing the growing popularity of coffee joints - from hipster cafes to roadside stalls - he wanted to jump on the bandwagon and create his own unique-tasting coffee.

"Brewing coffee is challenging for individuals like me who don’t like to drink coffee and milk. However, because I love challenges, I learned about coffee making on Facebook and also joined its barista community groups,” he said.

By chance, he also knew a coffee powder supplier who gave him the idea of doing some research and development on the beverage using his (supplier’s) coffee powder.

"It worked and in two weeks, I succeeded in producing the desired coffee taste (bitter yet sweet and creamy) without using a coffee machine,” he said, adding that besides their signature coffee served hot or cold, Kopi Sawah also offers kopi Melayu or black coffee and cold chocolate at prices ranging from RM3 to RM5 each.

Initially only beverages and Korean fried chicken were available at Kopi Sawah but its menu expanded after some of the local villagers asked Muhammad Izzat Zakwan and his partners if they could help to sell food prepared by them.

"We thought it was a good idea as we could diversify our menu as well as enable some of our fellow villagers to earn extra income.

"So now we also offer various dishes such as laksa utara, bihun soup, curry noodles, keropok lekor and different types of Malay kuih that satisfy the taste buds of our customers - all made by the people living in Kg Sungai Leman,” he added. - BERNAMA