Even though the word “java” is synonymous with “coffee,” many people don’t know that “java” has anything to do with the island of Java, where Java is, or that it has its own rich cultural traditions, as illustrated by this beautiful script. This sign says “Javanese” in the traditional but endangered Javanese script, and reminds us that even a commodity as American as coffee literally has its roots in other countries that have their own identities, which deserve our attention and respect. The small fanfares at each end, by the way, are not just decorations; they are the way Javanese denotes a title—much more attractive and interesting than mere quotation marks.

Java holds almost 60 percent of the entire Indonesian population, making it the world’s most populous island!

Map of Java

This carving hangs in Speeder and Earl’s Coffee House and Roastery in Burlington, Vermont. A similar piece can be commissioned. All sales of carvings support the non-profit work of the Endangered Alphabets Project. Twenty percent of all profits go to Rokpa International, supporting sick and homeless children in the Himalayas. To order, or to inquire about commissions, email brookes@champlain.edu.