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Converting Caffeine into Code, One Cup at A Time

“Black as the devil, hot as hell, pure as an angel, sweet as love.”

Charles Maurice de Talleyrand

We’re talking about coffee, of course! The magical drink that fueled warriors to bring kingdoms down in ancient times. Also, the same one charging the battery of the current digital generation and pushing them to keep going.

Indeed, coffee is arguably the world’s favorite beverage, Mitrais employees included. This comes as no surprise, though, with Indonesia’s Kopi Luwak being one of the most coveted - and extremely expensive - on the planet.

For Muhammad Erik Rahman Mulyana, one of the company’s highly skilled software engineers, coffee is more than just a morning pick-me-up.

Productivity-Boosting Hobby

Manual coffee brewing is Erik’s favorite activity during his downtimes. Born out of his aversion to instant coffee with its sugar and artificial flavor contents, he started making his own brew three years ago.

After trying out several manual brewing techniques, including French Press, Vietnam Drip, and Cold Brew, Erik discovered the V60 method and decided it was his best match. He now found it delightfully simple to make a great cup without coffee grounds. All he needed to do was fold and fit the filter into the top of the V60 brewer, add the coffee with medium grind, and then pour water onto the top in a slow and steady spiral motion.

Now that he has mastered the process, it takes Erik only 2-3 minutes to create the perfect cup of joe. While the process of brewing offers a much-needed break in the middle of the workday, it is the beverage itself that provides the energy and ability to focus on the work at hand. Or so swears Erik.

Coding With Coffee?

With caffeine percolating in his system, Erik is able to meet his deadlines without compromising on quality. He quips facetiously, “There is a jargon that goes - a programmer is an organism that converts caffeine into code.”

For this Bandung native, the idiom could be closer to reality. After all, the career path he traversed from his hometown to Jakarta was paved with cup after cup of java. “I started working at a small IT company in Cimahi,” he relates, “and then moved to Jakarta seeking greener pastures. But I moved back to Bandung after getting married. There I joined a medium-sized IT company.”

A year later, a friend informed him of a software engineer job opening at Mitrais. “It is one of the largest IT companies in Indonesia known for offering competitive salaries as well as countless benefits. I couldn’t let the opportunity pass.” After a series of interviews, Erik landed his dream job.

Brewing A Work-Life Balance

Despite working full-time as an analyst programmer at Mitrais, Erik is content with being able to leisurely prepare his caffeine fix twice a day - in the morning after breakfast and in the afternoon after lunch. He considers not rushing the process a reward in itself. Taking 5-10 minutes each time, his hobby keeps him sane and focussed at work.

“Back then, when we were still working from the office, I brought my own manual brewing tools,” Erik muses, “but I am confident that if my colleagues and I request for one to be installed in the office, the management will gladly oblige. I am grateful to belong in a company that values and supports their employees’ hobbies.”

Such wise and heartwarming words from a man who, as a child, dreamed of being a policeman. Growing up on a steady diet of the TV series CHiPs, with the main actor his namesake, Erik aspired to perform the same heroic feats.

Little did he know then that he would also become a hero someday, albeit on a different platform. To the clients whose businesses he protects, Erik is their personal Ponch. And to his office teammates, he is their Super Barista who believes:

“Good ideas start with brainstorming. Great ideas start with coffee.”

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