Coffee in Jakarta

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Indonesia is often synonymous with coffee. Java, an island where the capital Jakarta is on, is also used in reference to coffee. So when I was in Jakarta on invitation of JakartaSavvy.com, I decided to have a sample of the coffee scene in the vibrant city.

I was quite pleased when I was told that what was the third wave in Singapore coffee has already hit Jakarta. This third wave of coffee establishments is noted by the presence of a roaster in the premises, or nearby. Espresso styled drinks are served with coffee made with siphon, plunger and other methods. One such place which I visited is Anomali Coffee.

Interesting establishment. Huge roaster takes place of pride. And a Nouvo Simoneli 3 group E61 machine takes center stage. Shown above ia a double expresso made with their house blend. And I also had a taste of their ristretto.

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Both were slightly over volume, methinks. But the coffee had a great crema, and a lovely body. Quite nice.

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Another espresso joint not far from Anomali, is One Fifteenth Coffee. An establishment where the roastery is a few blocks away, and run by a friend of mine, Andrew Tang. Andrew learnt his craft in Australia, and as expected the espressos and ristrettos were similar in ilk to those I found and love in Sydney.

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Highly viscous coffee. Beautiful mottled crema, thick, wonderful mouth feel. Very nice. Volume wise, just about right for a double ristretto. Very very good ristretto.

In my chat with Andrew later, he said that most of the locals are in the espresso joints for the ambience rather than to enjoy the best coffees…unlike many espresso joints in Australia where the ambience is secondary to the coffee. I remarked that I found that interesting, as in the two espresso places I visited – Anomali and One Fifteenth, both served respectable espressos, in more correct volumes, dosage and pull time than many other espresso joints in Singapore. Maybe our Singaporean baristas need to learn to be more purists in their approach to coffee.

I also had to try the famous Kopi Luwak, said to be organically processed by civet cats. The best berries are eaten by the cats, and the beans pass through the cat’s digestive system. The beans are then processed and used for Kopi Luwak.

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I had the Kopi Luwak pictured above at Cafe Batavia…one of the oldest cafes in the old Jakarta town, formerly known by the Dutch colonials as Batavia. The cafe is a beautiful structure, and an amazing interior.

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Back to the Kopi Luwak. First, it seemed like the coffee had been made in an ibrik, so the finely ground beans were boiled over a fire in an ibrik, and the whole lot, including powdery beans were poured and served in a cup. As with Turkish coffee, allowing the kopi to settle for a few minutes will allow the coffee to be drunk without the powder interfering. First taste, was it is very bitter. Flavour wise, it was not very strong, but a bit flat. The coffee had an unusual body, which unlike espresso which is expressed in the viscousity and mouthfeel, in the Kopi Luwak was expressed as a kind of heaviness, lacking in dryness. I was a bit underwhelmed, given the great reputation of this cuppa.

I also tried a real local coffee…at a little coffee shop called Kedai Kak Ani in Kemang.

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Coffee is made the traditional way here, by adding coffee powder which came in portioned in small plastic bags into boiling water. No grind by the cup here.

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The coffee is left to boil for a few minutes, and strained using a metal strainer.

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Contrast to local Nanyang Kopi in Singapore where the coffee beans are roasted with maize and sugar. The caramelization of the sugar provides a thick, viscous body, the Jakarta version seemed to be made from ground beans which are 100% coffee.

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And while Nanyang Kopi is strained from a course grind over a sock, Medan kopi is strained from a somewhat finer grind with a metal strainer. The resultant coffee is one of thin body, slight bitter and a tinge of acidity.

This is a brief rundown of a few interesting coffee shops I tried in 3 days in Jakarta. In conclusion, I find the espresso coffee scene to be fairly mature, and the baristas served a purer version of espresso than many in Singapore. Very interesting.

Anomali Coffee
Address: Jl. Kemang Raya No. 72 Unit G, Bangka, Mampang Prapatan, Jakarta, Indonesia.

One Fifteenth Coffee
Address:  Jl. Gandaria 1 No. 63, Jakarta 12130, Indonesia.

Cafe Batavia
Address: Jalan Pintu Kecil No.14 Jakarta Kota Jakarta Barat, DKI Jakarta 11230, Indonesia.

Kedai Kak Ani
Address: Jl. Kemang Selatan No. 125 A, Jakarta, Indonesia.

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