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Melbourne's coffee scene takes Jakarta by storm

Jakarta Globe - February 2, 2023

Lily McCure, Jakarta – Two cities starkly different in their appearance, Melbourne and Jakarta share a large commonality, coffee.

In Jakarta, from the humble cup of 'kopi tubruk' or granulated coffee found in street vendors, to barista-made coffee, there is no shortage of options.

Specialty coffee outlets are now in abundance throughout Jakarta, once a unique attribute of the self-proclaimed "coffee capital of Australia", Melbourne.

Arianta Zulhan has seen firsthand the appetite Melbournians have for coffee, but also the similar culture that now thrives in Jakarta. Perfecting his coffee-making skills over the last four years, Arianta is the head barista at the Common Grounds cafe in Citywalk Sudirman.

Previously having lived in Melbourne for 4 and a half years, Arianta is accustomed to the popular Melbourne latte and said it's a known fact that the Australian city is well known for its love of caffeine.

"If you think about coffee, you think about Melbourne," Arianta said.

While there are distinct differences between Jakarta and Melbourne, the role coffee plays in the lifestyle is large, and Arianta said Jakarta's caffeine habits are somewhat built on the principles of those in Melbourne.

"[Melbourne] is basically our role model when it comes to coffee," he said.

But as the assortment of coffee varieties increase, Jakarta has been able to find its own individuality, according to Arianta.

"As time goes on we [Jakarta] have started to find our own identity," he said. "Now I think there's a fusion between Melbourne and our own coffee culture."

Melbourne-based brand, St. ALi established an outlet in Jakarta in 2016, in collaboration with Common Grounds Coffee, with aim of implementing the renowned coffee scene of Melbourne into Indonesia's capital.

Starting when specialty coffee was a relatively new concept to Jakarta, St. ALi has paved the way for the market of boutique coffee and brunch culture.

Head Barista at St. ALi, Vanka Trinovanka has witnessed this transition and the customers that are seeking the range of specialty coffee on offer.

"Sixty percent are expats on weekdays... on the weekend it's 50/50, expats and locals," Vanka said.

Having worked at the cafe for four years, Vanka said coffee is a big part of life in Jakarta and its location and "Australian ambiance" attracts people of all nationalities to come and get their caffeine.

"We get lots of different people from other countries as they are living in our neighborhood and there are a lot of embassies ... so people from Russia, Denmark, and Australia are coming in," he said.

Hailing from Melbourne, Clarice Campbell discovered St. ALi on her first day in Jakarta 6 years ago.

"Funnily enough the day I moved to Jakarta, I landed late at night and stayed at a studio apartment in Setiabudi, and the first place I came to get food was here [St. ALi]," Campbell said.

Having lived in Indonesia for more than six years, Campbell frequents the cafe where staff members know her well. "They all know me... I've been coming here for so long," she said.

In exploring the parallels, and differences between the neighboring countries' relationship with coffee, Campbell said the main contrast is in the times people drink coffee.

"There's a really big late-night coffee scene [in Indonesia]," she said. "In Australia people only really get coffee in the morning, most cafes close after lunch... but here a lot of the cafes will be open until late at night."

Noting this difference, Campbell said there has been a rise over the years in specialty coffee businesses in Jakarta, especially those that attract a specific demographic.

"These cafes attract a certain type of clientele in that you're paying the same price for coffee here as you would in Australia. Every mall has cafes like this [St. ALi] and the hip suburbs have bespoke cafes that offer lattes and soy milk options," Campbell said.

Located in Bali, St. ALi is set to open its second Indonesian-based cafe this February.

Source: https://jakartaglobe.id/lifestyle/melbournes-coffee-scene-takes-jakarta-by-stor