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I was enjoying my V60-ed Rwandan coffee and a copy of Penguin Classic book when a sixty-something lady stepped into the coffee shop carrying her beaten iPad. I had frequented this specialty coffee shop for the last year and had never seen this lady before. She looked kind of lost. She picked a comfortable seat, and a quick moment later realised that there would be no waiter to approach her. In this small coffee shop every customer simply had to approach the bar and place their order directly to the barista.

So she took two steps to the bar, bewildered with the chalk scribblings coffee drinks menu displayed at the back wall. She asked for a menu book instead and studied it behind a pair of thick glasses. After a long while trying to understand what had been written there in small letters she decided to go for the espresso.

A lone, sixty-something lady ordering a shot of espresso is not a common sight in Jakarta – a city where the previous generation is still wondering what in the world is “third wave coffee”. The unlikeliness of the scenes unfolding before me triggered my curiosity, and I started observing it closer from my quiet and comfortable corner.

As the barista handed her the demitasse cup of espresso, a sense of amusement came to her eyes; the sense of wondering was palpable as she tried to figure out what was in that very small volume of coffee beverage. Yet, she was polite enough to not say anything.

She sat and tried to sip the coffee. Predictably, she quickly asked for sugar. The barista did not hesitate to help her adding sugar to the supposedly already sweet – by the standard of a coffee snob, of course! – cup of coffee. She tried taking another sip, and immediately asked, “More sugar, please!”

I am pretty sure that most specialty coffee enthusiasts and connoisseurs would frown and mentally judge the old lady for being “uncivilized” and “uncool” with her repeated requests of sugar. Obviously, I was guilty of delivering that judgment myself too.

The old lady smiled as the coffee became as sweet as she liked it. She was happy. I was relieved that the coffee blasphemy scene was finally over though my disapproval on how she treated her espresso was still intact. It was her next statement to the barista that gave me the hardest nudge.

“I wonder why my son always drinks espresso with no sugar.”

It was then I realised what that old lady was actually doing in that coffee shop.

No, she wasn’t there for the free wifi. No, she wasn’t there to take pictures to parade on her Instagram account. And, no, she definitely wasn’t there for the espresso.

There she was, a lady from the previous, analog generation, trying to keep up in the digital era with her old iPad. Her son was probably already in his early thirties; someone who had built a career somewhere, and probably was quite successful. Someone who went from one coffee shop to another. Someone who might be thinking to quit his job to open his own coffee shop. Or, at least, someone who had been taking this new trend of third-wave coffee rather too enthusiastically. Someone whom this old lady is trying to understand and to connect.

So there she was, stranded in a small coffee shop that to her might as well be another planet, trying to understand her son as much as she tried to understand the iPad she was holding for no further purpose than chatting on WhatsApp in bigger screen with bigger font size.

There she was, an old lady trying to reconnect with his son, trying to stay relevant in his son’s life. It did not matter what the espresso tasted like. What mattered to her is to relate to her son and his lifestyle.

The old lady’s voice woke me from my thoughts. She handed her iPad to the barista, and said, “Please take a picture of me and my espresso. I want to send it to my son.”

Dear specialty coffee shops,

Every customer who walks into your place has a story. Let them pour sugar on the precious espresso that you have geeked yourself out for. Let them order iced lychee tea and ignore your urge to sell them Panama gesha. Let them use your wifi and isolate themselves from your enthusiastic coffee stories. You never actually know where they came from, what they have been through, and why they are there.

Editor: Dianthus Saputra

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Pasti tidak sedikit yang pernah jalan-jalan ke pasar-pasar yang ada di Melbourne, Sydney, Amsterdam, atau kota-kota di Amerika, lalu berharap bukan dalam hati lagi, tapi diucapkan lugas, “Kalau saja pasar-pasar di Indonesia bisa seperti ini.”

“Bisa seperti ini” biasanya berarti menyenangkan untuk dikunjungi. Ada toko kelontong berdampingan dengan bakery. Ada lapak sayur-mayur yang berteman dengan kios produk-produk rancangan anak-anak muda kreatif. Ada toko kain yang berteman dengan toko t-shirt.

Pasti tidak sedikit yang pernah berharap bahwa kegiatan nge-mall setiap akhir pekan di Jakarta bisa diganti dengan sesuatu yang lain. Makan di restoran dengan harga mahal dan rasa yang begitu-begitu saja juga butuh alternatif.

Apakah itu artinya kita harus membangun sebuah gedung baru yang didisain khusus untuk jadi pasar jadi-jadian?

Pasar Santa sama sekali tidak dibangun dengan visi atau misi menjadi sebuah pasar seperti di Melbourne. Tidak ada infrastruktur fisik yang menunjukkan Pasar Santa direncanakan menjadi sebuah pasar yang bisa jadi objek wisata. Koridor-koridor sempit. Lahan parkir sangat terbatas. Sirkulasi udara tidak ideal.

Memang tidak sepatutnya Pasar Santa dipaksakan menjadi tempat nongkrong anak muda.

Namun, apakah sepatutnya lantai atas Pasar Santa menjadi mati selama tujuh tahun? Apakah sepatutnya ratusan kios terbengkalai tanpa ada yang menggubris? Apakah sepertiga dari potensi ekonomi kerakyatan di Pasar Santa patut dipadamkan begitu saja?

Selama tujuh tahun, baik Pengembang (Developer) maupun PD Pasar Jaya seolah tidak punya ide untuk menghidupkan potensi ini. Selama tujuh tahun, pemilik-pemilik kios di lantai atas melupakan investasi mereka begitu saja; listrik tidak dibayar, retribusi tidak dilunaskan, pajak tidak ditunaikan. Kios-kios tersebut menjadi kuburan bayi. Usahanya belum juga dimulai, tapi sudah divonis mati.

Padahal, Pasar Santa selalu bersih, selalu aman, dan selalu strategis. Kenapa tidak berkembang? Kenapa selama tujuh tahun PD Pasar Jaya dan Pengembang (Developer) buntu ide?

Ketika kopi dan piringan hitam menjadi daya tarik anak-anak muda dan kalangan kreatif untuk datang ke Pasar Santa, lantai atas ini jadi terlihat seksi. Anak-anak muda merasa bukan hanya tempat, tapi juga kesempatan buat memperkenalkan ide-ide kreatif mereka ke publik. Ide-ide kreatif yang akan terpaksa jadi komersil kala dibebani biaya sewa di shopping mall.

Dan, tiba-tiba saja – tanpa rencana, tanpa persiapan, tanpa perhitungan – Pasar Santa jadi wadah yang menampung banyak ide kreatif.

Ketika masyarakat semakin menerima wajah Pasar Santa yang baru, dan media selalu lalu-lalang di koridor-koridornya untuk mencari berita menarik, siapakah yang siap untuk mengelola hal yang baru ini? Tidak ada. Siapakah yang memahami dan mampu mengimplementasikan teori tentang bagaimana dinamika ekonomi kreatif dengan pedagang tradisional semestinya dibina? Tidak ada. Siapakah yang cukup berkuasa untuk menentukan batas-batas pengembangan? Tidak ada.

Lantas, siapakah yang kini sibuk menelaah berbagai kelemahan dan ketimpangan Pasar Santa? Banyak. Siapakah yang asyik menggarisbawahi kesalahan-kesalahan berbagai pihak – mulai dari anak-anak muda yang buka kios mewah, PD Pasar Jaya yang kurang tanggap, pihak Pengembang yang sibuk jualan – tanpa peduli untuk memahami situasi dan kondisi Pasar Santa secara menyeluruh? Banyak. Siapakah yang bangga karena merasa dirinya cukup pintar untuk berkomentar soal Pasar Santa tanpa merasa perlu berkunjung dan berbincang-bincang dengan para pedagang kecil, pihak Pengembang, pihak PD Pasar Jaya, dan para “penghuni baru” Pasar Santa? Banyak sekali.

Pasar Santa yang sekarang berubah secara organik. Pasar Santa yang sekarang ini adalah sebuah barang baru yang tidak ada buku manualnya. Bisa jadi banyak teori, tapi apakah teori-teori tersebut bisa diterapkan atau tidak hanyalah mereka yang benar-benar setiap hari ada di Pasar Santa yang tahu.

Berbagai langkah sudah mulai dicoba diambil sejak berbulan-bulan lalu. Penghuni-penghuni baru membentuk asosiasi yang tujuan utamanya adalah menjalin hubungan, bahkan melindungi pedagang-pedagang lama di Pasar Santa yang hidupnya sangat bergantung pada kios-kios yang mereka sewa. Advokasi dan diskusi dengan PD Pasar Jaya dan pihak Pengembang sudah dilakukan selama berbulan-bulan. Interaksi antara pedagang lama dan pedagang baru juga dijalin lewat transaksi, silaturahmi, dan acara-acara bersama.

Usaha untuk bertemu dan berdiskusi dengan Bapak Gubernur DKI pun sudah lama kami coba, tapi belum juga terwujud.

Daya tarik komersil Pasar Santa semakin mengalahkan daya tarik kreatif. Demikian banyak peminat yang mau buka usaha di Pasar Santa yang kini ramai dan hidup. Mereka bawa uang, berani bayar mahal untuk satu kios. Mungkin tanpa mereka sadari, mereka membeli kios yang minggu lalu masih ditempati pedagang baju batik untuk mereka ubah jadi toko yang menjual barang mewah.

Banyak sekali pihak yang bisa dituding bersalah. Ada yang mau mengaku, ada yang tidak. Tuding menuding ini tidak akan membawa solusi apa-apa, dan juga tidak menjadikan penudingnya tambah pintar ataupun tambah bermakna. Bukan berarti isyu ini dibiarkan saja berlalu. Karena, pada saat ini yang menjadi korban adalah pedagang kecil dan pedagang lama di Pasar Santa. Mereka yang menghidupi keluarga lewat kios berukuran 2×2 meter persegi saja.

Itu sebabnya gerakan #SustainableSanta diluncurkan. Pada saat ini, sementara menerima kritik bahkan cacian sinis dari publik, kami para usahawan baru di Pasar Santa masih berharap ada dukungan juga. Dukungan terutama untuk melindungi para pedagang kecil dan pedagang lama di Pasar Santa. Dukungan yang diawali dengan menandatangani Petisi kepada Pak Ahok untuk Melindungi Pedagang Pasar Santa ini.

Ini bukan petisi untuk menjadikan Pasar Santa sebuah pasar modern dan keren seperti di luar negeri. Ini bukan gerakan menciptakan tempat nongkrong anak gaul Jakarta. Ini bahkan lebih dari sekedar permohonan perlindungan atas sekelompok pedagang di Pasar Santa.

Ini adalah bagian dari pembelajaran bersama. Bahwa ternyata ekonomi pasar tradisional yang seharusnya menjadi fondasi kita dengan mudahnya tergerus oleh ekonomi gaya shopping mall. Ada yang memang posisinya menjadi penonton dan komentator saja. Ada yang menjadi pemerhati yang berwawasan jauh ke depan.

Apabila semua gagal, dan Pasar Santa kembali jadi lumpuh sebagian, atau jadi “shopping mall bukan, pasar juga bukan”, kami yang terlibat langsung di dalam kisah ini mungkin dirugikan secara materiil. Namun, usaha yang kami lakukan, dan pembelajaran yang kami dapatkan nilainya jauh lebih tinggi daripada sekedar adu pintar (bahkan adu lucu!) berkomentar.

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I have been trying to keep this a secret for quite some time, but now the word is out already. I am talking about a coffee place unlike any others in Jakarta, or the whole Indonesia in this case.

What is ABCD? How would I define this small kiosk further than “A Bunch of Caffeine Dealers”? For sure this is not a cafe. But, yes, you can order espresso, cappuccino, latte, piccolo, or filtered coffee processed through different manual brew methods – using V60, Clever Dripper, AeroPress, or Kalita Wave. There is no set price, but there is the tall, red tip jar with a rather demanding text saying “as generous as you can be”. With a smiley.

Occasionally there is food, but it’s mostly brought by the regular patrons who love to share their favorite snacks. There is AC inside, but outside can be quite warm. There is music usually coming from the store next door that sells vintage vinyls. There is a few, uncomfortable seats and coffee tables, but most of the time people are enjoying their coffee standing. To know when ABCD will pop-up as a coffee bar (or, open for public), follow their Instagram account: @abcd_coffee.

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Hendri Kurniawan has been studying coffee since early 2000, and is among the first experts who introduced third-wave coffee movement to Indonesia. He is known as a trainer, a consultant, a certified World Barista Championship judge for technical, sensory and visual (latte arts), and a heartbroken man. When one wants to open a coffee shop in Jakarta, Hendri Kurniawan is the first go-to guy for some advice. He has helped setting up a lot of successful coffee shops in Jakarta, Bandung, Malang, Bali and other cities.

Since most of the top baristas know Hendri Kurniawan personally, ABCD then has become a playground for them. Champion baristas from posh and stylish cafes in Jakarta usually hang out in ABCD, and some of them are more than happy to brew coffee for other guests. During the Indonesia Barista Championship 2014, many competing baristas use ABCD as the training place. For home baristas and brewers, ABCD is where they dig more knowledge and practical skills. Hendri Kurniawan also uses the tiny space to give private course for those who really, really want to learn to be a barista.

Pictured below is Josh Estey (right) from Bear & Co. Pop-Up Coffee Bike asking some advice from Hendri Kurniawan (left) himself.

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The coffee served in ABCD is varied, from Matt Perger’s championship beans, Panama’s geisha beans for the coffee snobs, carefully selected local coffee, to Hendri Kurniawan’s own blend lovingly named Phat Uncle. Every visit to ABCD will give you a different coffee experience, and surely will gain you more coffee knowledge and buddies.

ABCD is located in a traditional Pasar Santa market, on the second floor, practically right above Dapoer Kopi. It is far different from the usual stylish coffee places, but the beans and the baristas are top notch. ABCD is definitely a playground, and a hub for those who are really passionate over coffee. And this highly caffeinated bunch of people is jumpy enough to welcome strangers as new buddies.

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Additional Notes:

The official hashtag for ABCD on Instagram is #ngopidipasar – “Ngopi” is a slang for “having coffee”, and “di pasar” means “at the market”. Whatever you do, please don’t take pictures of your coffee here along with Monocle or Kinsfolk magazines. They are more into Calvin & Hobbes comic books.

RELATED: Notes from Indonesia Championship Barista 2014
RELATED: Why Dapoer Kopi is The Perfect Indonesian Style Coffee Shop
RELATED: Bear & Co. – Jakarta’s Pop-Up Coffee Bike
RELATED: Jakarta’s Best Coffee Shops
RELATED: The Ten Commandments of a Coffee Connoiseur

The Trophies. | Anggara Rizki (3rd Place), M. Aga (Runner-Up), and Yoshua Tanu (Champion).

The Trophies. | Anggara Rizki (3rd Place), M. Aga (Runner-Up), and Yoshua Tanu (Champion).

Indonesia Barista Championship 2014 – #IBC2014 – was wrapped today, and here are my personal notes as one of the many Sensory Judges involved, as well as member of the organizing committee.

Best Ensemble of Grand Finalists

In other kinds of competitions, we – or, at least, i – would have at least one person in the final rounds that we wish would not win because of one or many reasons. Yet, I honestly, honestly felt that none of the six Grand Finalists of IBC 2014 should lose. I did have a favorite, and my favorite actually was not the one declared Champion. Yet, I was still ecstatic when the name Yoshua Tanu from Common Grounds Jakarta was called by Head Judge Danny Pang (from Toby’s Estate, Singapore) as the Champion. In short, the ensemble of the Grand Finalists could not be any better. They indeed represent the new level of skills, talents, creativity, and professionalism of Indonesian baristas today.

Running to Extra Mile

Yoshua Tanu painstakingly selected the beans by the size. He only used 6 mm to 7 mm long beans. Another competitor deselecting the defected beans one by one by his own hands. Most of the competitors knew exactly the story about the beans they used. Some of them roasted the green beans themselves. Some of them connect with the farmers directly, and did their research carefully. Meanwhile, another competitor creatively made a presentation tray from Lego bricks! They did it all in a very short time span. Kudos for all the great efforts!

Intan Kumalasari won Best Espresso Award | M. Aga - The Celebrity Barista

Intan Kumalasari won Best Espresso Award | M. Aga – The Celebrity Barista

Awesome Espresso

I sat as one of the four Sensory Judges to score Intan Kumalasari‘s performance. She was one of the six female baristas in the Final Round – of all total 24 Finalists. Her espresso was the best I ever tried during the whole competition. (In total, i actually judged 15 competitors.) Until the end of the day, I couldn’t forget the excellent balance of sweetness, acidity, and bitterness of that shot, and all the bright and pleasant flavours. In fact, Intan also created the most beautiful crema. I was so, so happy when Intan Kumalasari from Caswell’s Coffee Bali finally won the Best Espresso Award!

The Birth of a Celebrity Barista

I first met Muhammad Aga from Tanamera Coffee when he was still working for another cafe in a shopping mall. I was sitting as one of the three judges in the Latte Art Throwdown held by Toni Wahid‘s Cikopi.com in 1/15 Coffee. That was also my first time acting as a coffee judge. Aga won the throwdown. Later on, he moved to another coffee shop before finally found home in Tanamera Coffee. He progressed a lot especially in embodying the word “barista” and projecting it to his audience and customers. It is not hard to say that today Aga is Indonesia’s iconic barista, if not celebrity. As the Runner-Up in Indonesia Latte Art Championship 2014, and also the Runner-Up in IBC 2014, Aga actually stays as number one in the hearts of his fans. And – boy! – does he have a lot of them! His performance in IBC 2014 – from Elimination, to Final, to Grand Final rounds – always drew the most attention. He was confident, professional, and he befriended the crowds (and the cameras!) rather effortlessly now. By remembering to always stay humble and respectful to his seniors, Aga will definitely make it to the very top in future tournaments.

Tray made of Lego bricks by independent barista Izman Ramdhan. | M. Fauzan Umar creating his Signature Beverages using AeroPress.

Tray made of Lego bricks by independent barista Izman Ramdhan. | M. Fauzan Umar creating his Signature Beverages using AeroPress.

Passion, Passion, Passion!

We had foreign judges flying from Sydney, Singapore, Hong Kong, and other cities. Not only they were doing voluntary work, but two of them actually did more than that. The judges from Hong Kong were from Wah Shing Coffee, and they actually offered to sponsor IBC 2014 with hard cash! Meanwhile, the small committee members comprise of owners of coffee shops, consultants, and other professionals who were very occupied with their day jobs. Yet, they were all willing to do the impossible; to hold this national event with less than two months of preparation. Without getting paid. When I came up with the tagline “Where Passion Brews!” for IBC 2014, this is actually what I was talking about. With no pure passion and spirit to improve the whole industry of specialty coffee and the talents of baristas in Indonesia, this event would never happen.

Yoshua Tanu - The Champion of IBC 2014. | Anggara Rizki - 3rd Place Winner of IBC 2014.

Yoshua Tanu – The Champion of IBC 2014. | Anggara Rizki – 3rd Place Winner of IBC 2014.

Once again, congratulations for:

Yoshua Tanu from Common Grounds – Champion, and Best Cappuccino Winner of IBC 2014
Muhammad Aga from Tanamera Coffee – Runner-Up of IBC 2014
Anggara Rizki from 1/15 Coffee – 3rd Place Winner of IBC 2014
Intan Kumalasari from Caswell’s Coffee – 4th Place Winner, and Best Espresso Winner of IBC 2014
M. Fauzan Umar from Trafique Coffee – 5th Place Winner of IBC 2014
Gandhi Pramita from Caswell’s Coffee – 6th Place Winner of IBC 2014

Yoshua Tanu will represent Indonesia in World Barista Championship 2014 in Riminy, Italy, June 9-12. Let’s give him our biggest support!

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dapoerkopi_101. It sells nothing else but kopi tubruk, or mud coffee. They do it with the right grind size, ratio, and water temperature. The crust breaks neatly to stay in the base of the vessel. All the flavours and aroma come alive.

02. It’s a bean-to-cup experience, and I’m talking about green beans. There’s a kiosk to store the green beans, and a Hottop roaster that Christine Tandibua – the owner – operates herself. Cups of mud coffee are made out of freshly roasted beans that have had enough rest. Dapoer Kopi supplies their magnificent green beans to some of the best and stylish coffee shops and roasters in town.

dapoerkopi_203. Super-excellent coffee in real Indonesian price. They only sell Toraja coffee that comes from different region. The Sapan Toraja beans are the best seller. Pulu Pulu beans are extraordinary but very seasonal. Try the excellent and fruity Ya-Le! Oh, and a cup of these wonderful coffee will cost Rp6,000. Yup, that’s US$0.55.

04. It upholds the original warung kopi atmosphere. It does not dress up at all. There are two long wooden chairs with one long table, and that’s it. Enough only for six customers. Set in a corner of a traditional market, this warung kopi – or, coffee shop – serves fellow market vendors and familiar faces around. The men will sit and smoke over the coffee, then talk randomly about politics. You’d be crazy to open a laptop here. Have a chat with the owner and sip those delicious Toraja cups!

dapoerkopi_305. It’s unstylish at all. As mentioned before, it’s in a traditional market of Pasar Santa. It has no proper signboard. It has no decor. It has no branding. It has no identity. It has no website, no Facebook page, and its Twitter account is barely functioning. I will only share here that the location is in Pasar Santa. Make an effort to find this hidden gem, and please try to make it stay that way.

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Bear&Co popped up in front of Wisma BNI 46, Jalan Jend. Sudirman, Central Jakarta, February 2014.

Bear&Co popped up in front of Wisma BNI 46, Jalan Jend. Sudirman, Central Jakarta, February 2014.

Josh Estey is a long time friend. Back in the days when I was still working as an editor in a magazine, Josh was one of the contributing photographers. He’s an accomplished photographer with brag-worthy clients such as Oprah Winfrey, Meg Ryan, and Christy Turlington. Yet, he remains the one behind the camera, living in Jakarta with his kickass wife Dian (oh, take it as a mighty compliment, lady!), and three kids – Diva, Xenia, and Nic.

Josh and I bumped with each other every now and then since we were practically neighbours. And, two or three months ago he specially sat down with me in Pandava Coffee, telling his newfound passion of brewing. He told me how he wanted to do a pop-up coffee bike, and to set it up on Sunday mornings in Jakarta’s principal street during the car-free hours. He has built the bike with his own hands, and he has all equipments ready. He was just trying to find the perfect timing to start it up amidst his shooting gigs in Kenya, Ethiopia, Zimbabwe, India, and other exotic parts of the world.

With a little bit of trick, the freshly roasted beans are quickly ground manually using a Hario grinder, before brewed through the cone drippers with pourover method.

With a little bit of trick, the freshly roasted beans are quickly ground manually using a Hario grinder, before brewed through the cone drippers with pourover method.

Finally, Bear&Co was launched in front of the old building that used to be the French Embassy in Jalan MH Thamrin, Central Jakarta, on January 5, 2014. Josh calls his children “bears”, and the initial plan was to make the three of them helping him to work on the streets, but, “There’s child labour issue there,” he said. So, the plan was simply held in the brand only.

Related: Jakarta’s Best Coffee Shops (So Far!)
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That first day saw Bear&Co selling out everything Josh carried. He manually ground one kilogram of beans the night before to make cold pressed coffee. He also brought freshly brewed beans from Morph Coffee – the local, boutique roastery – to serve hot cups of cone-dripped coffee. They were beans from Bali, West Java, and North Sumatera. Each hot cup took around five minutes to make. Wondering customers – the joggers, the cyclists, and the passers-by who are not familiar with third-wave coffee movement – always asked why does it take so long just to make a cup of coffee.

“Because I prepared everything manually. I ground the beans right here for you so it’s in perfect condition to brew. I use the pourover method. And, basically, I have had enough with everything that’s instant in Indonesia. This coffee takes time, yes, but you will taste the big difference with instant coffee.” That will be Josh’s typical answer that he never gets tired of repeating over and over again.

Coffee dripping puts quite a show in the streets of Jakarta. Bear&Co brings manual brew closer to the people.

Coffee dripping puts quite a show in the streets of Jakarta. Bear&Co brings manual brew closer to the people.

Josh let customers smell the fresh ground coffee before he started brewing. He is more than happy if customers ask a lot more about the process, and he even lets them helping him a bit. He serves the coffee in a paper cup hand-stamped with Bear&Co logo. There’s a big box of Khong Guan biscuits for those who want some bites to go along with the coffee.

Slapped at Rp25,000 for either a hot cup or cold pressed, Bear&Co‘s coffee seemed to make everybody’s morning brighter on that first day. There were some murmurs of how it was “the same price like Starbucks”, but people enjoy seeing and Instagram-ing the ritual of manual brewing. The show and experience that is usually found behind a hipster coffee place is now brought to the street.

Josh quickly befriends his customers, including the kid who ordered cold press like a boss.

Josh quickly befriends his customers, including the kid who ordered cold press like a boss.

Manual brew has found its own way to the new audience; those who don’t usually hang out in the cool 1/15 Coffee, or Tanamera, or Giyanti. In my point of view, this is truly a good thing. A real effort to introduce proper drinking of coffee, and Indonesian beans.

“I want to feature Indonesian beans from different roasters every time I pop up the bike,” said Josh. The second day of Bear&Co – that was this morning, February 2, 2014 – saw Josh serving cold pressed using Gayo Natural beans from Tanamera.

“Are you doing this every week? Are you going to pop up regularly? Are you going to open a permanent cafe?” Customers question.

“I have a day job. I am a photographer. I do this for fun. I don’t know when will I do this again. You have to follow @BearandCoffee on Twitter. I’ll announce the next date and location there,” says Josh with a smile while handing the freshly brewed coffee to his customers.

I dislike to use the word “best”, actually, as it is too superlative, and I’m far from having the competence to judge. Yet, this is a friggin’ blog. So, here it is … the list of the “best” coffee shops in Jakarta according to moi. (If you’re looking for details like addresses, opening hours, phone numbers, etc., will you please, please try clicking the names? Thanks.)

RELATED: Sharing the A-B-C of Coffee in ABCD
RELATED: Why Dapoer Kopi is The Perfect Indonesian Style Coffee Shop

THE BIG FOUR – ALPHABETICALLY ORDERED

1/15 Coffee

It’s just tempting to call this place “pretentious’. Yet, it is clearly proven that 1/15 Coffee wholeheartedly practices uncomprimising strive to deliver the best possible. Various blends and single origins roasted by Morph Coffee either pulled out of a LaMarzocco engine or manually brewed using the widest range of equipments in Jakarta. Babyccino available. Cappuccino delivers a great balance. Manual brews are presented elegantly with accompanying beans to smell before we drink from the clear vessel. Bali Inten Dewata, Sumatera Dolok Sanggul, and Sunda Gulali are among the regular single origins.

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1/15 Coffee seriously empowers their human resources by training and sending the baristas to national, regional, and international competition. They also occasionally hold small scale Latte Art Throwdowns and Aeropress Competition. This is home for respectable champion baristas, and the blends they use to compete are also served here. For casual coffee drinkers, the cold brew twisted with lime – simply called Rock Java Lime – is a favorite.

Communal tables, high tables, lounge corner, loners bar and brew bar are all safe from the small smoking section in the back – thankfully! The layout functions well for both chatty groups and young, creative minds who prefer to be alone with their MacBooks and wifi. There is a multifunctioning space on the second floor where soon barista class will be held. Every Saturday morning everybody can join cupping session with Morph Coffee.

The food are homemade. Cakes and pastries are delicious and served warm. Must try: Pineapple Cake. Heavier meals are uniquely Palembang (South Sumatera), including the awesome Mie Celor (seafood noodles in thick broth). My favorite breakfast menu is Bangers on Peas.

Common Grounds

The cappuccino, the PuraVida muesli, the cold brew.

Another place that strives for perfection in both coffee and food. Your coffee will be served by Iwan “Joni” Setiawan, the Champion of Indonesia Latte Art Championship 2014, and Yoshua “Yoshi” Tanu”, the Champion of Indonesia Barista Championship 2014 who also bagged the Best Cappuccino Award. See my separate review HERE.

Giyanti Coffee Roastery

It’s hard not to fall in love at first visit with this vibrant, communal place ever-so-corresponding with the antique market of Jalan Surabaya. Somehow, the small corridor leading to the intimate courtyard already feels caffeinated. Fussball table, huge free-form communal, and cute chairs fill the youthful outdoor area. And, as you enter the cafe, you will be immediatly convinced that you’re in for a big treat.

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The place is brimming with passion. Steampunk, customized Athena Leva type of Victoria Arduino engine is often operated by the owner himself, pulling out bold and tasty cups of espresso. Do not try to ask for other drinks than coffee here because he will just laugh at you. Giyanti proudly roasts their own beans, so who bloody cares about tea? The piccolo – based on beans from Toraja – was the best I’ve ever had in Jakarta. I also tried brewing their fully-washed Togos Gropas (North Sumatera) beans at home using Clever Coffee Dripper, and it’s damn fine! They have Espresso Cookie made of – uncompromisingly! – Yrgacheffe and Toraja Sapan beans, and it’s only Rp10K (US$1-something) each!

Ambience is lively, eccentric, very Melbourne, and made more alive with a collection of antiques against colorful backdrops. It’s far from being uptight, and the atmosphere generates trifling conversations. I must say I cannot see myself working alone on my laptop here, so – yes! – better come to have fun and enjoy the tasty cuppa, and skip the deadlines.

Tanamera Coffee

It’s everybody’s immediate favorite little corner for all the right reasons. The roastery and bakery work together to satisfy caffeine junkies and pastry addicts. Tanamera boasts a Slayer, and they use it very well. Their vision is to bring Indonesian beans up to the next level, and they are equipped with a Diedrich roasting machine.

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The espresso blend is a mix of beans from Toraja, Flores, and Papua. Many cappuccino addicts claim Tanamera’s is the best in town. As for me, their freshly roasted single origins never fail. The caramel-coated banana cake is devilish, and the dark coffee cake is evil. New creations in pastry department keep on coming and they all worth trying.

Ten people inside and the place will feel cramped already. The lively soundscape is often caused by coffee enthusiasts swapping stories. Those who are looking for solitude perhaps should wait until Tanamera opens a larger joint in a shopping mall – yes, they have made the plan! Location is everything, and Tanamera is conveniently situated close to Grand Indonesia and Thamrin City shopping malls, yet still apart from the crowds.

Related: Bear&Co – Jakarta’s Pop-Up Coffee Bike
Related: The Ten Commandments of a Coffee Connoisseur

Related: Cikopi Latte Art Throwdown

THE UNDERSTATED ONES

Headline Espresso & Brewbar

The humble and small cafe is tucked somewhere in Kemang. It’s a homework to get there, but it’s a great community-based coffee shop. They roast, they pull out espressos, and they brew manually. The interior has that typical Kemang funk, and it matches the regulars who are mostly young, creative forces from nearby production houses and companies. I hate travelling to Kemang area for so many reasons: the traffic jam, and the many F&B outlets that pay more attention to decor than to what they feed us. Yet, Headline is a winning pick whenever I find myself lolling around in Kemang.

Caffé La Tazza

Long before third-wave coffee shops start to arrive in Jakarta, the not-so-stylish Caffé La Tazza has always been my escape whenever I’m browsing for cheap stuff in Mal Ambassador (shopping mall). Hipsters may underestimate this joint, but they serve wonderful, wonderful Cappuccino Scuro, great syphoned single origins, and delicious Nasi Goreng. Service is always friendly. Their quieter and seemingly larger branch is in – yet, another not-so-hip address – Electronic City in Sudirman Central Business District area. Now, if most cool coffee places easily befriend fashionable youngsters and post-brunch ladies, Caffé La Tazza is where the unpretentious gentlemen go. A very unique and authentic Jakarta’s coffee place that should never be forgotten – not just for the sake of it, but mostly because of the passionate brews.

Pandava Coffee

I must say that the biggest reason why this place is “best” for me is because of the location in EpicentrumWalk, Kuningan. A five-minute walk from my place will take me here. So, whenever I feel lazy to work on my Clever Coffee Dripper, Aeropress or French Press, I’d hunt for beans the owners of Pandava have collected from abroad. Yup, they travel quite a lot, and this means Counter Culture, Blue Bottle, Madcap, Intelligentsia, and many more fancy beans occasionally pop up here. Pandava creates and roasts their own blends, and the espresso has a strong kick. Skillful baristas and passionate owners make this place rather ideal, except for one thing – one major thing! – that always bugs me: the non-smoking section is far in the back, and very small, while people are allowed to smoke in the brew bar, disrespecting the holy beans and manual brewing equipments.

Koultoura Coffee

We’ve been talking about coffee places in Center and South Jakarta. Koultoura Coffee is a joy for West Jakartans. The overall design can be considered among the best in Jakarta’s F&B scenes. It’s original, it’s bold, and it delivers the right message. This is a place to get energized – by both the coffee, and the food. They serve beans from various roasters, both local and foreign. Youngsters flock to get their “fun beverages”, while coffee enthusiasts will find a great home here in the West. Try the blueberry muffin!

Wall Street – Espresso Bar

And now, we are in the North Jakarta. Pluit and Muara Karang areas are home to super-tasty, hassle-free, Chinese food. Yup, just like Kota and Kelapa Gading, these are the areas where you will learn that those sleek, beautifully designed restaurants in South Jakarta actually taste absolutely nothing. In this delightful setting, Wall Street presents itself with a unique concept. It’s where stockbrokers get their caffeine fix, and the baristas are well-trained to brew and serve great espresso-based beverages and filtered coffee. It’s humble, it’s far from catering to snobbish coffee connoisseurs, and it brews like nobody’s business. I want more of places like this one!

Related: The Hunt fo a Perfect Cuppa in Sydney and Melbourne
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