Coffee lovers rejoice!
On Sunday we were invited to Caribou Coffee Jakarta, the latest cool cafe to hit Senopati. Caribou Coffee is actually a popular coffee shop chain from Minneapolis, USA. They aim to provide a fast and friendly service for regular patrons and focus especially on the quality of their coffee. All their beans are 100% certified by the Rainforest Alliance, and the shop uses only the top 1% of quality Arabica beans around the world.
Check out the Caribou Coffee Jakarta cheat sheet down at the very bottom if you’re short on time.
If you’re expecting Caribou Coffee Jakarta to be just another Starbucks, then you’ve got another thing coming. It’s a lot homier, a lot cosier, and feels a lot more like a neighbourhood coffee shop than a fast-food coffee chain. You’ll find yourself spending hours and hours there chatting with friends while sipping on coffee.
They have two floors of comfortable seating and a private room that can seat a cosy dozen. You’ll find plenty of nooks to snuggle into and a nice sized terrace. I’ve been told it’s quite breezy at night, so be sure to come early if you want a seat.
What you’ll be excited to hear is that Caribou Coffee Jakarta has their own personalised brew bar in the store. Which means you’ll have a highly qualified barista tending to your every need. Alltogether they have over a dozen varieties of roasted coffee beans, but they’ll only have three at the brew bar every day. Why three? To promote diversity and adventuressness! To push you out of your comfort zone and try new things!
We went for the Sumatran Samosir Batak, a medium roast that’s vibrant and earthy. The flavour text calls it ‘exotic yet strangely familiar’ and that’s exactly what we were hit with when we tried this. Surprisingly, it’s quite tangy as well, and because it was prepared using the V60 pour-over method, it wasn’t too strong either.
Our barista, Ikbal, told us that before using anything with a paper filter, they always rinse it out with hot water. He says what’s special about the Caribou Coffee Jakarta personalised brew bar is that coffee, like clothing, is not one size fits all. A good barista can take one type of roast coffee and prepare it in a thousand different ways according to what the drinker likes. Tangy but strong? Earthy but light? Lots of caffeine for a long night ahead? Go for it.
We tried the light, bright and tangy Daybreak Blend next using the French press. Ikbal says that this is what most Jakartans are familiar with when they think of manual brewing. When you use the French press you get the most amount of flavour and caffeine from a single brew. After all, they do leave the ground coffee beans in there for four entire minutes. The brew came out looking creamy, and fairly weak in comparison to the Sumatran.
The last brew we did was the Obsidian, a heavy roast they describe as velvety and bittersweet. Surprisingly, it wasn’t as strong as the Sumatran because of how it was prepared. When held up to the light, the liquid turns a pretty amber colour, and then Ikbal told us that black coffee isn’t meant to be black at all.
Of course, Caribou Coffee Jakarta also serves standard cafe fare. You’ll find everything from muffins to scones to bagels, cakes and sandwiches. They’re all pretty hearty and they produce everything in-house. Even the bread!
For their subs, we highly recommend the Steak Sandwich (top left) which gives you a generous amount of, you guessed it, steak (!), grilled onions, mushrooms, and good ol’ American Cheese. The Steak Sandwich is served on wholegrain rye bread, and is quite filling.
The Chicken Pesto on the other hand, tastes completely different, and also comes highly recommended. It’s served on a classic French baguette with tomatoes, parmesan and mozzarella.
For those looking for something a little more classic, then the Sliced Turkey on a pretzel bun is the one for you. That was probably our favourite bun of the three, we’ve a weak spot for pretzel buns.
Their Multiseed Bagels have a great texture, though it might not be for everyone. They also have Plain and Poppyseed Bagels available. The best part about it is that there are four spreads for you to choose from. Try the Salmon or the Pesto (:
Don’t forget that they also serve pastries and cakes! Pictured below is the Pistachio, the Strawberry Tartlet and the Chocolate and Hazelnut Mousse.
Their ordering system is pretty standard. They don’t do table service, but that’s not to be expected of a grab-and-go coffee shop, anyway. If you’re not looking to try the personalised brew bar (which is a shame, but hey, some people just like the milk in their coffee) then they have a few signature coffees for you to try.
The Campfire Mocha is a two (2!) shot medium espresso blend with marshmallow syrup, your choice of chocolate, and whipped cream. At the counter, they use a completely different blend from the three that are available at the personalised brew bar, so if you’re looking to use one of those blends, make sure you specify it.
Both are fairly sweet blends that come in both hot and warm versions. With Caribou Coffee Jakarta, any beverage that has chocolate in its makeup will automatically come with three options of white, milk or dark chocolate. You can also adjust the sweetness level of any syrup that they use.
Around the store you’ll find several pieces of memorabilia and stories detailing the adventures of Caribou Coffee’s founders. They were both mountaineers who needed a great tasting coffee with a caffeine kick-up-the-rear-side. They started Caribou Coffee with the tagline ‘Life is short. Stay awake for it.’
Caribou Coffee Jakarta Cheat Sheet
- Don’t have time? Grab and go for your lunches.
- Seats fill up quickly during the rush hour to get home, take advantage of the FREE valet service.
- Try out the Steak Sandwich and the Chicken Pesto. They keep great so grab both!
- If you’re a coffee aficionado, don’t pass up the Personalised Brew Bar
- Got a sweet tooth? Campfire Mocha is the one for you.
- Come here with an open mind. Caribou Coffee Jakarta should feel more like a neighbourhood cafe than a coffee shop chain.
- Caribou Coffee Senopati too far for you? Don’t worry, they’re planning six more branches in the new year!
Where: Jl. Senopati Dalam II No. 52,
Senopati, South Jakarta
When: Mon – Sun
6:30am – 11:00pm
– Maria Hadiwinata