“Have you tried this new es kopi place?” has become the new ice breaker among Jakartans nowadays.
The burgeoning third-wave coffee culture in Indonesia means that a number of excellent coffee shops are opening in Jakarta at record speed, as well as high quality homegrown roasteries. You can also count on the city’s great patisseries to find a solid cup of joe to go with your freshly baked pastries.
The coffee with the biggest trend factor, however, is es kopi or es kopi susu (iced coffee with milk). Sounds familiar, yes — but es kopi susu is not your regular iced latte — it’s usually a mixture of arabica and robusta coffee blended with milk, and sweetened by liquid palm sugar. Its sweet taste, quality coffee blend and affordable price tag have been making it the drink of the moment, and it’s been gaining massive popularity in the country in the last three years.
The es kopi phenomenon might be the thing that makes Indonesia’s third-wave coffee culture distinctive from that of other countries — especially the idea that everyone can have good coffee without having to dig deep into their pockets.
After having tried numerous es kopi brands across town, from the very best to the very bland, we’re listing some of the most well-known ones below, ranking them from our favorites to our least-liked.
1) Toko Kopi Tuku
The OG es kopi: Toko Kopi Tuku is the first ever coffee shop to sell the first es kopi of its kind in Indonesia. First opened in 2015 with a small store in Cipete area, South Jakarta, Tuku was intended to be a “neighborhood coffee shop,” selling a variety of affordable kopi and the usual cappuccino, et al. The classic Es Kopi Susu Tetangga (neighbor’s es kopi with milk) — a mixture of iced latte, creamer, and liquid coconut sugar (gula aren in Indonesian) — became a hit. In 2017, Indonesian President Joko Widodo visited its Cipete store, which further propelled Tuku to its meteoric fame. If you ask us, Tuku is still our favorite to this day. We even have our secret recipe for a stronger es kopi: double the shot with less coconut sugar.
Sample pricing: IDR 18,000 (US$1.29) for Es Kopi Susu Tetangga
There are 5 Tuku stores in Jakarta and beyond; including Cipete, BP gas station in Bintaro and Taman Jajan BSD. Toko Kopi Tuku’s Coconuts Directory page, and Instagram
This one’s for the avid coffee drinkers who need an extra strong coffee to start functioning for the day. Sagaleh is also among the first es kopi spots to open in Jakarta. The shop got its name from the Minang language — sagaleh means “segelas” (a cup or a glass). Their house blend is a mixture of eight (EIGHT!) different beans, and they use regular cane sugar to sweeten the drink. You can also customize how much coffee, as well as the sugar level (low, medium, high) of your es kopi. We usually have our es kopi Sagaleh with less sugar, so that the coffee taste can stand out more.
Sample pricing: IDR 19,000 (US$1.36) for an Es Kopi Susu.
Sagaleh has 3 locations in South Jakarta; Barito, Pondok Indah Mall, and the Rumah Sagaleh restaurant. Sagaleh’s Coconuts Directory page, and Instagram
This is the priciest es kopi in our list, probably due to its plastic can packaging (gotta admit it looks cool, though). There are five options available for Kopikalyan To-Go: Es Kopikalyan single and double, Es Kopi Susu Pisang and Stroberi, and cold brew. For the taste itself, Es Kopikalyan reminds us of Tuku’s due to its subtle sweetness, but a creamier version of it. The downside is, when you buy the Es Kopikalyan whenever the store is running out of the can packaging, you’ll be charged the same, which is higher than their iced latte (IDR 34,000/US$2.43).
Sample pricing: IDR 38,000 (US$2.72) for Es Kopikalyan single shot.
4) Kopi Kenangan
Arguably the fastest-growing es kopi stall in Indonesia, you’ll easily find a Kopi Kenangan stall near you (thanks to the millions of dollars in investment they raised in only one year). They recently made a giant leap by launching their own mobile app, through which customers can get benefits such as coffee pre-orders and membership points. Additionally, several Kopi Kenangan stores in major Jakarta malls are merged with Lewis & Caroll Tea and sell affordable desserts from Sucre by Sheila.
Keeping in line with the galau theme — Indonesian slang meaning “confusion,” but usually associated with heartbreak — all their coffee and tea-based drinks have sappy names (Kopi Kenangan is roughly translated as “Memories Coffee”). For example, their signature es kopi is “Kopi Kenangan Mantan (Memories of an Ex-lover coffee),” the variant of flavored lattes is named “Kopi Mantan Menikah (Ex-lover Getting Married coffee), and the Baileys-flavored coffee is “Kopi Lupakan Dia (Forget Him/Her coffee)”. The Kopi Kenangan Mantan itself is pretty good, more on the bitter note with the right amount of sweetness, just like the bittersweet memories of your ex.
Sample pricing: IDR 18,000 (US$1.29) for Kopi Kenangan Mantan
Kopi Kenangan has over 60 locations in Jakarta and beyond; including Terminal 2D Soekarno-Hatta International Airport. Kopi Kenangan’s Coconuts Directory page, and Instagram
5) Kopi SANA
The es kopi that fits the healthy lifestyle (geddit?), Kopi SANA is a subsidiary of Sana fitness studio. With an additional charge, you can make your es kopi lighter with non-fat milk (IDR 10,000/US$0.71), or veganize it with soy (IDR 15,000/US$1.07) or almond milk (IDR 20,000/US$1.43). If you want to bring SANA’s es kopi home, or are holding a potluck with friends, you can opt for the 1-liter bottle, which is equal to approximately five cups of joe. Being one of the first es kopi in Jakarta, Sana is not too different from its closest competitors: Its heaviness is above that of Tuku’s but below that of Sagaleh’s, and it’s pretty sweet overall — so you might want to request less sugar whenever you’re ordering one.
Sample pricing: IDR 20,000 (US$1.43) for Es Kopi Susu Sana with full cream milk
There are 2 Kopi SANA locations in South Jakarta, at SANA Studio Panglima Polim and SANA Kith & Kin Kemang. Kopi Sana’s Coconuts Directory page, and Instagram
6) Animo Bread Culture
Animo Bread Culture is famous not only for its affordable and tasty pastries, bread, and donuts, but their es kopi also has a special place in the hearts of Jakarta coffee drinkers. Their kopi susu is light and creamy, suitable for those who don’t like heavier coffee. It’s usually paired with their Donat Gemes, or Indonesian-style donuts made of potatoes, so don’t wait too long if you want to order your cup of Es Kopi Susu Animo because they get sold out fast.
Sample pricing: IDR 18,000 (US$1.29) for Es Kopi Susu Animo
Animo Bread Culture has four stores in South Jakarta: Pasar Cipete, two stores in Cipete, and Santa Modern Market. Animo Bread Culture’s Coconuts Directory page, and Instagram
Meaning “under the stairs,” Dibawahtangga’s first outlet is literally under an escalator at Gandaria City mall. We don’t have any idea if the brand’s other outlets are under stairs or escalators as well, but we know for sure that Dibawahtangga is one of the most popular es kopi places these days. Owned by German-Indonesian actor Nino Fernandez, Dibawahtangga is well-liked among Jakarta’s coffee drinkers for its balanced sweet and milky flavor. There are two options, Kopi Kampung (Kampung/Village Coffee) and Kopi Kota (City Coffee), with different coffee bean blends.
Sample pricing: IDR 19,000 (US$1.36) for Es Kopi Susu Kampung and IDR 29,000 (US$2.08) for Es Kopi Susu Kota
Dibawahtangga has eight stores throughout Jakarta; including Grand Lucky SCBD and Sarinah. Dibawahtangga’s Coconuts Directory page, and Instagram
8) Kedai Kopi Kulo
This is the cheapest es kopi in our list, but doesn’t mean it’s not good. A coffee-to-go concept, Kedai Kopi Kulo — which claims to have more than 300 outlets all over Indonesia since launching in December 2017 — are widely available all over the city in street stall format. Es Kopi Kulo’s version is pretty light and not too sweet, but not as creamy as its predecessors. Fair enough, given that Kedai Kopi Kulo is specializing in adventurous, heavier coffee variants such as Es Kopi Keju (iced coffee with cheese) and Avocatto (iced coffee with avocado juice and ice cream).
Sample pricing: IDR 15,000 (US$1.07) for Es Kopi Kulo
Kedai Kopi Kulo has over 35 stores all over Jakarta and beyond, including Senopati and Serpong. Kedai Kopi Kulo’s Coconuts Directory page, and Instagram
9) Kopi Janji Jiwa
We can’t help but compare Kopi Janji Jiwa with Kopi Kenangan, because both have a similar galau theme (the brand itself is roughly translated as “Soul Promise Coffee”). Their menu is like a merged version of the ones at Kopi Kenangan and Kedai Kopi Kulo, with iced avocado coffee and milk tea variants such as hojicha and matcha. We consider ourselves to be heavy coffee drinkers, but even we thought that Kopi Janji Jiwa’s Es Kopi Susu is much more bitter, heavier, and darker than its compatriots. One time, we ordered their Es Kopi Soklat (think of it like the mocha version of es kopi) and we couldn’t gulp it due to its thick texture, even after adding ice cubes. Good thing is, they have soy coffee latte and soy matcha latte and fresher variants like Es Yoghurt Yuzu if you’ve had enough of lactose.
Sample pricing: IDR 18,000 (US$1.29) for Es Kopi Susu, and IDR 20,000 (US$1.43) for Es Kopi Soklat.
Kopi Janji Jiwa has over 90 locations in Jakarta and beyond, including Alam Sutera and Bekasi. Kopi Janji Jiwa’s Coconuts Directory page, and Instagram
10) Fore Coffee
Just like Kopi Kenangan, Fore has also become one of the fastest growing coffee chains in Indonesia, after having raised about US$8 million in funding earlier this year. Plus, they have their own mobile app for coffee pre-order and vouchers, too — pretty impressive for a coffee chain that was only launched in August of last year. Just like any other third-wave coffee shops, Fore is serving variety of espresso-based drinks and manual brew coffee. It’s not es kopi per se — but Fore’s rose, pandan, watermelon(!), and roasted iced lattes might count as well. The first three might be for those who have an acquired taste for those flavors, and the last one is for people who like to have their iced latte sweetened (we won’t judge! This is a safe space for any kind of coffee lover).
Sample pricing: IDR 35,000 (US$2.51) for iced lattes, but watch out for promos on Fore Coffee app and ojek platforms
Fore Coffee has over 30 locations throughout Jakarta, including above Otten Coffee Senopati store and Capital Place Kuningan. Fore Coffee’s Coconuts Directory page, and Instagram
11) Kopi Susu Bu Lurah
Following the ol’ traditional, domesticated Indonesian woman theme, Kopi Susu Bu Lurah literally means Sub-district Head’s Wife’s Milk Coffee — the other prominent one being Kopi Buatan Istri (Coffee Made by Wife) at Kopimana 27 in Tebet sub-district in South Jakarta. So far, we love their “visiting an aunt or a neighbor” vibes, because they’ll serve you a handful of coated peanuts on homestyle ceramics with every order of coffee. There’s also a bit of cheeky writing on the brand’s plastic cups, meaning “The best kopi susu in Indonesia,” — but, sadly, we beg to differ because we don’t find anything particularly different, or original here when compared with its competitors. We’d love to be back for the special Indomie, though.
Sample pricing: IDR 19,000 (US$1.36) for Kopi Susu Bu Lurah, IDR 22,000 (US$1.57) with double shots of coffee.
Kopi Susu Bu Lurah has two locations in South Jakarta; Haji Nawi and Setiabudi. Kopi Susu Bu Lurah’s Coconuts Directory page, and Instagram
12) Kopi Soe
The new rising star in Jakarta’s es kopi scene, Kopi Soe first became popular for its Es Roegal, or rum-flavored cold milk with Marie biscuits on top — basically, it’s what Indonesian millennials trying to remake their favorite childhood snack want to sip on. Kopi Soe’s concept is vintage Indonesia, as seen from the way they’re emulating old Indonesian spellings in their Instagram captions. As for the es kopi itself, we’ve tried the Kopi Soe Low Fat recently and were pretty surprised that it’s rather bland, with weak coffee flavor. On the other hand, the original Kopi Soe Gula Merah (es kopi with brown sugar) is sweeter and somehow, the coffee flavor kicks harder than the previous one. But still, the es kopi taste didn’t really stand out. Maybe we should’ve ordered them with double shots of espresso, or this was just some bad luck we had with one of Kopi Soe’s outlets.
Sample pricing: IDR 18,000 (US$1.29) for Kopi Soe Gula Merah, and IDR 20,000 (US$1.43) for Kopi Soe Low Fat.
Kopi Soe has 19 locations in Jakarta and beyond, including Panglima Polim and Tangerang. Kopi Soe’s Coconuts Directory page, and Instagram
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