SAN FRANCISCO — “Selamat datang!”
It’s a rainy, downcast, January day in San Francisco, yet a warm crowd continues chanting the Indonesian message of welcome.
They are here for the grand opening of Kopiku, San Francisco’s first ever Indonesian coffee shop.
For co-owner Adhi Jusuf, the shop is his latest endeavor to bridge his homeland to his adoptive nation.
“I remember when I first moved, it was like, ‘Indochina? No, it’s Indonesia! It’s a big country!” Jusuf says.
Indonesia is one of the top producers of coffee in the world. Its 18,000 islands located across a wide swathe of the equator make the nation ideal for high-quality coffee growing.
Jusuf wants to educate coffee consumers about the tremendous variety of beans that Indonesia’s regions produce.
“I really want people to taste Bali, Aceh, Toraja, Java. It tastes so different between islands,” Jusuf explains.
Each day, Kopiku changes up the coffee beans it serves, highlighting a specific region of Indonesia. Kopiku also has a unique way of signaling the coffees origin: it hangs a textile that is native to the same region on the wall.
Today’s choice is West Java. Jusuf gestures to the fabric on the wall, pointing out the tessellating pattern of coffee beans woven into the beautiful maroon textile.
Kopiku serves beans produced by Beaneka Coffee Roastery, which Jusuf and his partners founded in 2019.
Beaneka’s mission is to support Indonesian small coffee farmers by cutting out middlemen and buying directly from the farmers at prices they set.
Beaneka also strives for environmental sustainability, packaging its beans in compostable bags, and relying on small-batch electric roasting, which uses less energy.
The company also donates money towards social causes in Indonesia.
“It would be cheaper and easier for me to get beans from the U.S.,” Jusuf admits.
“But no. This is about connecting the two worlds, and the two worlds sometimes do not know each other.”
Another way Kopiku is connecting the two worlds: pandan. The shops pandan lattes are a best seller, combining its high-quality brew with the fragrant aromas of grass, vanilla, and coconut that come through the vibrant-green, house-made pandan syrup.
Jusuf’s wife and business partner, Amanda Chinitra, is the shop’s master of pandan.
She blends the grassy leaves with water, uses a press to extract all the liquid, and boils it down with rock sugar. She proudly holds up a finished bottle of her creation.
“It just tastes so much better and natural, versus the one that you buy from the store, with that chemical flavor to it,” Chinitra proclaims.
As for future plans, Jusuf wants to further the connection between Indonesian coffee farmers and his customers. He wants to put up a screen in the back of the shop and put on live video calls between Kopiku and his partner farmers back home.
“I want the customers to know, ‘Who grows my coffee?’ And I want the farmers to see, ‘Who drinks my coffee?’ Just to open up a conversation,” Jusuf says.
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