I admit it, I’ve got a stronger than average obsession with coffee. There’s rarely a day goes by when I don’t have several café lattés. If asked to associate a word with me, most friends, colleagues and clients would probably nominate ‘coffee’ first. And needless to say, I have strong preferences in this regard.
For those of you who understand what I’m talking about, you’ll immediately agree there’s an immense difference between Italian espresso-based coffees (made in “the right way”), and other vulgar distortions of the truth such as the American versions pumped out by Starbucks, et al. In Indonesia, I’ve discovered yet another variation, but sadly (in my opinion) it leans far more towards the American rather than the Italian concept. It’s still an espresso rather than an drip-filter coffee, but it’s usually terribly weak, and it’s made by pouring the steamed milk into the glass first, and then very carefully adding the espresso as a distinct upper layer that makes for a pretty presentation, but a hugely disappointing flavour. Rule #1 if you really must drink this stuff is order it “double”/”strong”, and Rule #2 is always give it a quick stir with the teaspoon when you receive it, so as to avoid sipping your way down to some hot milk half way through your drink.
However, there is hope! Spinelli Coffee Company has opened a series of stores in Jakarta, and despite claiming to originate from San Francisco, still manage to deliver an enjoyable coffee experience. The only other coffee shop I’ve found so far in Jakarta that comes close to Spinelli’s, or could rightly claim to make a decent coffee, is J.Co Donuts, who make a more-than-passable latté.
You’ll find Spinelli in a range of convenient locations, including Grand Indonesia Mall, Plaza eX, Senayan City, and more coming soon. J.Co Donuts is far more prevalent, including about 30 outlets around Jakarta and many more around other major cities of Indonesia.