Enjoying Coffee in Indonesia

Coffee as the popular beverage


Jakarta and other major cities have numerous coffee shops and cafés where brews from different countries can be enjoyed in a quiet and comfortable atmosphere. Indonesian consumers have embraced the worldwide coffee craze with gusto and you’ll find Starbucks (US), Coffee Bean (Singapore), Segafredo (Italy) and others in malls in major cities. It is ironic that a huge amount of Indonesian coffee is shipped overseas, processed, and then shipped back to Indonesia to be sold under these familiar international labels at worldwide prices.

Some of the best coffee can be sampled at small “warung kopi” (roadside stall) where kopi tubruk is often served in a glass. A visit will certainly be a memorable experience, as traffic whizzes by, and the locals try to figure out what a foreigner is doing in a warung! Be forewarned, Indonesians drink their coffee with LOTS of sugar, and warung kopi is served with the grounds steeping in the bottom of your glass! Take that last sip with caution! You may be surprised once again if you ask for kopi susu (coffee with milk) as it may be prepared with canned sweetened condensed milk! Many people often joke that you have to strain the coffee grinds through your teeth when you drink this type of coffee, or refer to it as ‘mud coffee’.

One of the most infamous coffees from Indonesia is kopi luwak which is harvest from the droppings of civet cats. The coffee has a distinctive flavor and highly sought after by coffee aficionados looking for a unique coffee experience. It used to be extremely rare and hard to find, but a good variety of brands are now sold in better supermarkets.

Grocery stores offer a wide variety of Indonesian coffees and specialty shops offer you the chance to taste locally roasted specialty coffees. With the recent restrictions concerning the amount of liquids allowed on the airplane, coffee has become a great gift. Coffee tasting sessions can be set up with Caswell’s Coffee and you’ll soon educate your palate and learn how to distinguish the differences between many types of coffee. This is a great activity for an office get together or a community group activity.

If you’re looking for a travel adventure, check our destinations to see if there are coffee plantations that you can visit during your travels around the archipelago. Even without a formal agri-tourism program, most plantation owners are more than happy to allow you to take pictures of harvest and various processing that you happen across. If your Indonesian is up to the task, you can talk with the agricultural workers and learn even more!

Whatever your interest, use your time in Indonesia to learn more about coffee!