Kopi Aroma (Bandung, Indonesia)

Jl Banceuy No. 51
Braga Sumurbandung
Bandung, Indonesia
+62 22 423 0473

Despite the fact that Indonesia exports a lot of coffee beans, it’s actually very hard to find good coffee in this country. And by good, I mean anything that’s slightly better than Starbucks. I guess it’s fair enough though, Indonesia doesn’t really have a strong coffee culture like Melbourne does. In Indonesia, tea is king. That, and bubble tea (winning). That said, if more people knew about Kopi Aroma, well, I think things might be a little different.

Kopi Aroma has got to be one of the coolest places in Bandung. When I first heard about this ‘cool coffee place’, I thought that it would be a café where you can sit down and enjoy your coffee. I was only slightly disappointed to find out that it was a little shop that sold bags of ground coffee. The disappointment, however, didn’t last long once I was entranced by the sweet and seductive aroma (har-har so punny) that filled the shop that looked like it hadn’t changed since it first opened.

Founded by Tan Huow Sian (Indonesian-Chinese represent!) in 1930, the humble little koffie fabriek (coffee factory in Dutch) is now owned by his son Widyapratama. Despite Kopi Aroma’s success, there are no plans for it to branch out. Even though that sucks for out-of-towners, it just keeps Kopi Aroma legit.

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I love how Kopi Aroma still uses the same wood-fuelled German roasting machines from when they first opened. Kopi Aroma specifically uses wood from rubber trees to heat the beans up slowly and evenly, thus increasing its flavour.

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Using scales from Rotterdam, each bag is weighed as per the customer’s request. The most you can buy in one go is 5kg – I stuck to 200gms. I don’t remember how much I paid for it, but suffice to say that it’s a lot cheaper than a bag of Vittoria from the supermarket.

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I love the classic packaging: brown ink on white paper with Dutch on the left and old school Indonesian on the right. The flavour is them stamped in blue ink on the top. In case you haven’t figured it out, I ordered a bag of mocha Arabica beans (mocha? What? It’s essentially just a sweet Arabica blend…)

The coffee isn’t bad either. The thing is Indonesian coffee is that it’s better if you drink it black, with only the slightest amount of sugar if required. Being a white coffee drinker, I initially struggled with it. In fact, I still do. While I love the smell of my Aroma Kopi beans (if cocaine smelt as good as this…), I did find the taste a bit too strong for my delicate (read: whimpy) Melbourne tastebuds. Having said all that, I know that I will one day become accustomed to good ol’ Indonesian coffee and if you happen to love your blacks, Aroma Kopi is definitely the place for you.

I eat too much.

15 Comments

  1. Daisy@Nevertoosweet
    May 27, 2013

    I find that it’s a common issue in Asia where it’s hard to find good coffee >_< And wow just drinking it black it'll probably be too strong for me too hehe

    Reply
    1. libishski
      May 30, 2013

      Yeah, definitely not taking Melbourne coffee for granted anymore!

      Reply
  2. Ra
    June 13, 2013

    Hey Caterpillar,
    I was surprised reading your opening paragraph in this post; it is not THAT hard to find good coffee in Indonesia, although it sometimes is tricky. And Starbucks is not even near good for true local taste buds, not even talking about their price. Except when we let ourselves become accustomed to it.
    I myself cannot live without coffee, but I try to stick with white coffee and Vietnamese coffee lately due to the weird gastric activity. Mm, well, except when I cannot hold the craving. :p

    Reply
    1. libishski
      June 13, 2013

      Hey Ra,

      Thanks for your comment! I haven’t had much success in finding good quality coffee in Indonesia. My relatives, who live there, also agree with me. I would like to know where else I can get good coffee in Indonesia – are you able to tell me what your favourite places are? I will make sure to visit them when I visit Indonesia next time. Thank you in advance!

      Reply
      1. Ra
        June 13, 2013

        Looking for fancy coffee, try Excelso, Black Canyon, Dante, or Coffee Club, spread in malls all over Jakarta and even Bandung.
        Looking for standard coffee, try explore Aceh, Medan, Lampung (all are cities in Sumatera Island) or just plain Kapal Api brand from local supermarket.
        Another legendary coffee shop like Aroma: Kedai Kopi Purnama, Jalan Alkateri No. 22, Bandung.
        Oh, perhaps budget coffee kiosk? Try Gerobak Kopi Djenggo at Dago, Bandung. They use only mixed Robusta beans, so the coffee won’t be acidic.
        Or, you can contact me when you’re here and we can have coffee together.

        Reply
        1. libishski
          June 14, 2013

          Great! Thanks for your tips, I’ll give some of them a go when I’m in Indonesia. I’ve tried Kapal Api, but would like to try the others. I’ll most likely be there for a week in January next year 🙂

          Reply
  3. sam
    July 28, 2013

    You should try Kopi Luwak original from indonesia…

    Best coffee in the world

    Reply
    1. libishski
      July 29, 2013

      I have and I agree, it’s delicious!

      Reply
  4. CC
    November 2, 2013

    Bee, try Antepodean when in Jakarta. It’s in Kemang and Citos. Indonesian coffee, but owner is a kiwie. Nice small coffee shop.

    Reply
    1. libishski
      November 4, 2013

      Thanks for the tip, CC. I will be in Jakarta in January so will try to go to Antepodean if possible 🙂

      Reply
  5. darwin bahar
    January 26, 2015

    Dear Kopi Aroma,

    My friend and I just established a cafe in Jakarta.
    Now, we need a supplier who could supply the coffee bean from Kopi Aroma.
    The kinds of coffee bean we need, are Torabica, Arabica, the roasted ones.

    Looking forward to hearing from you, soon. Thanks.

    Regards,
    Darwin Bahar

    Reply
    1. Mayo
      January 24, 2016

      Dear Darwin Bahar,

      I do not mean to insult you or anything, but how does your cafe fare this one year? I have already a negative perception from you, seeing that you wrote you needed “Torabica” beans which I’ve never heard of, with the exception that it’s an Indonesian coffee brand. And also another negative thing; if you’re serious about getting their coffee, why don’t you contact them directly? It’s not like the phone number isn’t here on this very page.

      Am I being an Internet troll? Maybe I am, but sometimes, I need to respond to people’s blatant lack of effort, i.e. yours. Or is this maybe your attempt in trolling? I don’t know. Be that as it may, I am thankful to the OP for posting about Indonesian coffee.

      Reply
  6. Maxvin Tan
    December 9, 2016

    Aroma Coffee made me a coffee addict. I’ve never been an addict to caffein since a month ago not until I tasted the exotic flavor of homemade or whatever it called fabriek koffie aroma roasted coffee powder recipe. I was born in Bandung and have been living my whole life here. I cannot disagree that this old place is pretty hard to find. I didn’t even noticed its existence until about two years back.
    I always love grab some drinks at starbucks, whether its coffee or not, anything has been my favorite choice. But when I found out the taste of aroma coffee’s sugarless black mocha arabica, the other coffee flavors I’ve ever tasted were just absurdities.
    Their Robusta has the strongest caffein, beware you

    Reply
    1. Maxvin Tan
      December 9, 2016

      won’t be able to close your eyes.

      Reply
    2. libishski
      December 26, 2016

      Hi Maxvin,

      You’re so lucky to be living in Bandung! I was born there but left when I was just a baby so I don’t have many memories of it. However, I do visit every few years to see family and I’m always amazed at how rapidly the city changes every time I go. Aroma Coffee is one of my favourite places to go to – the smell just gets to me and you’re right, their robusta is pretty damn strong!

      Reply

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