Jakarta. Coffee was not known in Indonesia until the early 17th century when Dutch tradesmen brought and then planted Arabica coffee plants in the colony. Now, Indonesia has turned into one of the largest coffee producers in the world.
As the artisanal coffee craze continues to sweep the world, Jakarta's coffee culture is more than catching up, to the extent that many young people in the capital city now prefer coffee shop-hopping than bar-hopping.
Here are some of Jakarta coffee scene's hidden gems for you to trek to, from an old kopi tiam place in Chinatown to the hippest cupping place in town.
1. Tak Kie Iced Coffee
Established in 1927, Tak Kie Iced Coffee is a legendary kopi tiam-style mom and pop coffee shop tucked in a busy alley called Gang Gloria in Glodok, Jakarta's Chinatown.
Tak Kie's signature iced coffee – that uses both Robusta and Arabica beans from Toraja and Sidikalang – still costs only Rp 15,000 ($1), so no wonder the place is always packed on weekends. Prepare to wait for a table.
The good thing is, you can go outside and stuff yourself with bakso goreng (fried meatballs), nasi campur (mixed rice with different bits of pork) or mie ayam (chicken noodle) while you wait.
2. Kedai Kopi Guyon
Housed in a parking area in front of a hearing equipment shop in Fatmawati, South Jakarta, Kopi Guyon is a perfect alternative if you're tired of immaculately designed coffee shops in bare concrete and stark white attired in all the au fait interior fittings, and can't stand the sight of millennials queueing for the obligatory Instagram spots.
Kopi Guyon serves cheaper, great quality coffee from Java and Sumatra on a homemade wooden wagon pulled by a vintage Vespa.
But don't worry, despite its traditional street vendor look, the kiosk still uses high quality equipment to grind its coffee. Kopi Guyon is open from 10 p.m. to 4 a.m. every day. A cup of coffee starts from Rp 5,000.
3. Tuku Kopi
First opened in trendy Cipete, South Jakarta, Kopi Tuku began as a tiny coffee joint with one specialty/novelty drink, "Es Kopi Susu Tetangga" (Your Next Door Neighbor’s Coffee With Milk). But then President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo and his family visited the shop last year and all Go-Food hell broke loose.
The shop uses Indonesian coffee beans from Garut, Aceh, Flores, Bali and Toraja. Its signature drink is made of simple coffee with milk and palm sugar. Sometimes it doesn't taste that much different from Es Cendol, the cheap, sweet, sugary drink with rice pearls you can find everywhere on the streets of Jakarta.
As if it can't get anymore hipster, Tuku had just opened a new branch at gentrified Pasar Santa.
Coffee from Tuku (the name means "Buy") comes in clear plastic cups and costs between Rp 18,000 and Rp 34,000.
4. GayoBies Kopi
Among other coffee shops in Pasar Santa, GayoBies Kopi is the most sought after by real coffee enthusiasts. Located in a corner on the market’s second floor, GayoBies is famous for its cheap and tasty Gayo coffee from Aceh.
Since Pasar Santa is not air conditioned, GayoBies' cold brew is always the best option, along with its phenomenal Iced Durian Coffee. Price ranges from Rp 23,000 to Rp 35,000.
5. Ruang Seduh
Located at the back of the Aksara Bookstore in Kemang, South Jakarta (now under extensive renovation), Ruang Seduh is a communal coffee brewing space that prides itself as a place for coffee enthusiasts to learn the intricacies of the barista art.
The friendly baristas will guide you to choose your own coffee and then teach you how to make the perfect cup of flat white/piccolo/long black every step of the way.
If you choose to learn how to do a manual brew, you can select your favorite coffee beans from the counter. If you're into single origin coffee, you'll get to choose from coffee beans provided by local micro roasteries like Coffee Smith and Sensa Koffie.
Ruang Seduh is right next door to Kinosaurus, one of Jakarta's few micro cinemas screening indie movies from all over the world. Maybe make your own cafe au lait to go with your Godard?
Coffee at Ruang Seduh ranges from Rp 15,000 to Rp 40,000.