Kahvehane: Bakoel Koffie

While the research continues, I’ve been spending more than a year visiting local delights in Jakarta. Of course I never missed the opportunity to try new coffee bars. One of those opportunities was this Bakoel Koffie. They have opened several branches around Jakarta. Two of the branches I visited were the one in Cikini and this one in Senopati.

The weather that time was perfect. A rainy night! So I arrived at the place. Designed like a contemporary style art gallery but the interesting thing was that they integrated the art gallery with a coffee bar on the main hall and a sushi bar (Sushi Underground) in the visible basement right on the front of the premise. Intriguing! The paintings kept the wall filled, but the furniture were lacking in number so there’s still some blank spots unused. They could make it more homey, perhaps in time, but the terrace outside is a good spot for afternoon or night coffee, though I don’t really recommend it. It’s Jakarta and it’s humid even at night.

Anyway, I’ve always been fascinated by coffee. Even I wrote a thesis about coffee back then and I took my time researching one of prominent local coffee bars in Bandung. Local players have always been the subjects of my comparison study. Each has its own distinction, of course, which happens to be very comprehensive. For me, the most important aspects of a coffee bar is not all about serving coffee beverages, but also the ability to create good beverage by selecting and mixing coffee beans with other ingredients and condiments alongside with the rest, such as the design of the place, the seats, the food, and many things else. That’s probably the gastronomy aspect from a coffee bar.

Kopi Tubruk & Tiramisu Cheese Cake

I’ve been scouting for years to find the place that could blend those things perfectly and still I found none up until now, but the search must go on of course. Well.. at the very least, I’m proud with the local players and admire their effort to do so. It’s still a bit hard comparing the locals against the international class franchise like the Starbucks or Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf and many others. Thanks to the heavy grip of globalization and it’s because they have standardized themselves so heavily in taste, they have a very active R&D, plus the control everything from the source up until the end products. Not to mention their experience. However, the locals also cannot be underestimated. Nowadays they have also become serious contenders, they learn from this fierce competition, and they got the advantage, cheaper price!

So it happened during one rainy night. I actually had visited other outlets of Bakoel Koffie previously, but found out that this one’s a bit different. Perhaps this place used to be an art gallery, but they left some paintings inside. There’s also this space downstairs, used to be a garage I guess, but still vacant and also an empty room upstairs. Well, it’s not really separated and blocked by a wall yet it’s not a long walk downstairs or upstairs. The design was a contemporary one, separated by glass, and very visible. They also have this balcony outside. Very very spacious I must say and unique because such premise can open a coffee bar, a sushi bar, and an art gallery at the same time. Cool!

Now for the coffee time! Their method of serving the coffee was just like in Starbucks or Coffee Bean, but the difference was that they delivered the coffee to the customer’s table. In Cikini branch however, the waitresses came over to us and everything ended like in common restaurants. So there’s not much fun in here, just a usual order and deliver thing. But speed is of the essence of course, they got to brew the coffee good and fast. So after a short while, here they come. Oh anyway, forgot to mention it, I ordered the Ice Coffee Float (IDR 28,000) and my friend wanted a Large Cappuccino (IDR 24,000) with extra Hazelnut Flavour (IDR 4,000). Well, comparing to the other com padres of local Jakarta coffee bars, Bakoel Koffie actually offers an extensive line of coffee beverages menu but it’s still no surprise that the taste was not that special. And comparing it to the other local competitors, still couldn’t meet my expectations.

Making quality conversations! This is the right place to do so! Well, for teenagers or anybody who don’t like to talk serious thing, you can always do the board games or talking trash and gossiping. But when you elevate things to higher level, then talking serious thing or be creative about something, then a coffee bar would become the right place to stay. Somehow I found it interesting and intriguing seeing people drinking alone, reading, or using their notebooks. I figure that typical nowadays lifestyle is like this, not to mention the growing individualism. But this is also a place where people now can create or produce something in mobile, communicating with people digitally, and conducting business globally. How fast life could evolve! I mean, we didn’t think such things can be made possible though we had dreamed of it right? Though it evolved from 1800s in Europe, but we gotta admit that since that time Europe has been able to produce many talents. Who might possibly know that brilliant musician like Mozart or famous philosopher like Nietzsche used to hang around their local coffee bar a lot? Thank the Turks for making coffee bean available in Europe.

The Judgment (based on scale of 10 score plus the comments):

1. PRICE (7/10)

– Calculation Method (Popular Method)

GT = After Service Tax Principle Price x Restaurant Tax

– Service Tax = 5%

– Grand Total = IDR 64,680 (just fine)

2. INTERIOR (7/10)

Bakoel Koffie everywhere applies different interior, but this one’s coolly designed though there are some empty spaces left untouched making the place somehow cold..

3. SERVICE (5/10)

Just fine.

4. TASTE (6/10)

Not the best tasting coffee for local coffee bars I’ve ever drank. Plenty rooms for improvements though. Local coffee bars should aim for the world, not only locally.

5. OVERALL (6.25/10)

Bakoel Koffie should try to devise something that would show their differences with others. Show your trademark from now on to the world. Improve more and don’t stop.

Additional Information:

Location : Jalan Cikini Raya no. 25, Jakarta – Indonesia

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