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Jakpost Taste Test: 'Es Kopi Susu'

News Desk

The Jakarta Post

Jakarta  /  Sat, June 29, 2019  /  04:32 pm
Jakpost Taste Test: 'Es Kopi Susu'

Iced coffee with milk from (from left) Kopi Kenangan, Kopi Janji Jiwa, Kopi Soe and Toko Kopi Tuku. (JP/Devina Heriyanto)

Following the third-wave coffee movement in Jakarta and other large cities in Indonesia comes the es kopi susu (iced coffee with milk) trend, available in small kiosks across the city.

Compared to many food and beverages trends that come and go, es kopi susu in Jakarta is seemingly here to stay, barely affected by the global raise of boba (bubble tea) drinks.

Whether ordering through a food delivery app or buying straight from the kiosk, the young urbanites who drink boba would still have es kopi susu on a different day.

The reason why iced coffee has stayed popular is its affordability, costing up to only Rp 18,000 (US$ 1.27) per cup. Now especially, with many cash-back offers available, es kopi susu makes the usual espresso-based beverages seem like luxury goods in comparison.

As more business owners now compete in the game of es kopi susu, millennial and Gen Z coffee drinkers have a trove of options to choose from.

A Jakpost Taste Test conducted on Friday featured four popular es kopi susu brands, namely Toko Kopi Tuku (dubbed the pioneer of Jakarta’s iced coffee trend), Janji Jiwa and Kopi Soe (whose kiosks are now available across the city), as well as Kopi Kenangan, which is finalizing a million-dollar funding deal from venture capital firm Sequoia Capital India at the time of writing.

TASTE PANEL

  • Muthi Kautsar: The Jakarta Post journalist who can’t take her coffee without milk — but no sugar is fine. She brings her own tumblers or mugs to coffee shops.
  • Vita Bayu Putri: Currently in high school and an intern at the Post. She is not a big coffee person but drinks coffee once in a while.
  • Nicholas Dharmadi: Recently graduated and an intern at the Post. A semifrequent coffee drinker, he is especially fond of espresso.
  • Ayra Chantiqa: High schooler and an intern at the Post, she’s a frequent coffee drinker who ignores her body’s inability to process caffeine. She didn’t realize decaf was an option until recently.

The tasting panel for Jakpost's  The tasting panel for Jakpost's "es kopi susu" (iced coffee with milk) taste test. (JP/Devina Heriyanto)

Read also: How much coffee is safe to consume? Research says up to 25 cups a day

‘ES KOPI SUSU’

Kopi Soe’s Es Kopi Soe Goela Merah (single espresso, milk, brown sugar)

Price: Rp 18,000

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Es kopisusu ya Kopisoe (@kopisoe) on

Muthi: There is quite a strong hint of coffee, nicely balanced with a good amount of milk, and the aftertaste stays long enough to suggest that yes, you just had a coffee.

Tasty meter: 

Vita: To me, Kopi Soe has the strongest taste out of the four. There’s a slight bitterness to it that adds a local feeling, but it was coated well with the sweetness, which makes it great for those who enjoy having a light cup of coffee without feeling nauseated with too much milk or sugar. However, the coffee here has a strong aftertaste, which I personally am not a big fan of.

Tasty meter: 

Nicholas: An all-around balanced coffee; the milk is noticeable and smooths out the drink, and the sweetness is not overpowering. The coffee flavor is mild as with most coffee and dairy drinks, but the aftertaste has a pleasant bitterness.

Tasty meter: 

Ayra: Probably the most Indonesian tasting kopi susu of the four — if that makes sense. The flavor of the coffee is reminiscent of the Kapal Api brand of coffee and you can really taste it. The bitterness is most pronounced when you first take a sip and the sweetness of the milk comes after. It's tasty, but the aftertaste lingers for some time.

Tasty meter: 

Toko Kopi Tuku’s Es Kopi Susu Tetangga (iced latte, creamer and arenga sugar)

Price: Rp 18,000

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by TOKO KOPI TUKU (@tokokopituku) on

Muthi: The two strongest points of Es Kopi Susu Tetangga is the creamer, followed by the arenga sugar. Being familiar with this drink from the brand, [I assume] the shop is not doing its best today.

Tasty meter: 

Vita: I believe that this is my favorite out of all four. Personally, I’m not a big coffee person, so I prefer the ones that have a smooth texture, with a slight taste of caffeine that is dominated by the milk/sugar/creamer or whatever it is that makes it sweet. The aftertaste leans more toward sweet than the bitter, which suits my preference.

Tasty meter: 

Nicholas: Heavy on the milk and creamer, this coffee is smooth and sweet, but it makes you forget what you’re supposed to be drinking. It mainly tastes of milk, creamer and sugar with coffee that’s far too subtle.

Tasty meter: 

Ayra: You can really taste the arenga sugar in this one; it makes the coffee have a bit of a smoky flavor. It's probably the sweetest out of the four but not in an overpowering way. It definitely tastes different from regular milk coffee and with a bit of getting used too, it's very enjoyable.

Tasty meter: 

Read also: It’s 2019: Reduce sugar to achieve overall fitness goal

Kopi Janji Jiwa’s Es Kopi Susu (espresso, milk, arenga sugar)

Price: Rp 18,000

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Kopi Janji Jiwa (@kopijanjijiwa.teraskota) on

Muthi: This beverage joint may have put a bit too much ice in the drink today, but there is still a sweet aroma of coffee — although very slightly.

Tasty meter: 

Vita: There’s something odd about this coffee that I find slightly distasteful. This was perhaps due to the ice that melted throughout the day, yet the other coffees [we tried today] seem to taste fine with ice.

Tasty meter: 

Nicholas: Though slightly watery, this coffee does impart a decent flavor at the expense of any richness from sugar or dairy. Unfortunately, this may make it less palatable, as the diluted coffee flavor seems to be lost over time.

Tasty meter:

Ayra: I’m not sure if the ice melted into the coffee or if it’s supposed to be like this. But to be blunt, it tastes like bean-flavored water. It isn't particularly sweet nor bitter. It's definitely light, so if you're afraid of commitment, it isn't bad.

Tasty meter:

Read also: What type of coffee drinker are you?

Kopi Kenangan’s Es Kopi Kenangan Mantan (single shot espresso, fresh milk, arenga sugar)

Price: Rp 18,000

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by kopikenangan.ID (@kopikenangan.id) on

Muthi: The coffee and arenga sugar are the most intense in this beverage, and the sweetness, as well as the milk balance out the strong taste of the coffee. There is that pleasant sweetness but not overwhelming.

Tasty meter: 

Vita: Similar to Kopi Soe, Kenangan balances out the level of sweetness and bitterness, making it a 50-50, whereas Kopi Soe seemed more like a 60-40, in which 60 percent is bitter. This is perfect for people who are looking for some sort of balance in their coffee or just a simple beverage to drink while having a conversation with friends.

Tasty meter: 

Nicholas: This coffee proved to be both the sweetest and strongest in flavor. The creamer adds balance while remaining in the background. The sugar may be a touch strong, but most importantly, you can taste the coffee when you first drink it and as a pleasant aftertaste.

Tasty meter: 

Ayra: Dense — Kopi Kenangan is dense in both flavor and texture. It was thick enough to stick to the cup a bit, which probably means [it contains] liquid creamer. The coffee and cream flavors were individually very pronounced and balanced together nicely.  It's the type of coffee you'd immediately think is tasty without much critical thought — but that's the magic of lipids.

Tasty meter: 

WHERE TO BUY

Coffee-based drinks and other beverages from the four brands can be ordered through food delivery apps or bought at kiosks across Jakarta. (ayr/mut)