By going through articles on this website, you may think that I took to coffee like a fish takes to water, but that certainly wasn’t the case. As with most children, I thought coffee tasted like dirt. I didn’t have a natural affinity for it like I did with monkey-bars, and I certainly didn’t wake up one day and decide to learn everything about it. Like most things, coffee was a passion I acquired over time.
By the time I reached adolescence, I had gotten over my initial lackluster impression of coffee. I indulged in the occasional canned coffee from time to time, but only got around to truly appreciating it when Indonesia’s third wave coffee scene took off. Suddenly, coffee became less of a quick power up drink and more of an experience to set aside time for and enjoy.
Long before the wave of new and exciting coffee shops, my parents had long dreamed about opening their own. It was to be a place where they could showcase their love of coffee, art, and decor. With the sudden popularity of coffee, they decided that it was finally time to make their dream a reality. That’s where it all started.
You see, I developed an appreciation for the craft through observation. I am one of the lucky few who had a behind the scenes look at the makings of a coffee shop. I was there through its construction, opening, and its crucial first months. I call the shop my second home, but you might know it as Eight Coffee.
Opened in 2012, Eight Coffee is the reflection of two people’s love for the bean, the experience, and the people involved in coffee. The shop was built on family road trips in a large pick-up truck and fun spontaneous farm visits. I vividly remember going to coffee plantations in West Java and going home with a couple pouches of coffee to test for the shop. Today, we go through a couple sacks of coffee a month from that very plantation.
The same way that an espresso is a journey from tree to cafe, so is Eight Coffee. Before it was a coffee shop, the space was a home. You can still make out where the living room was and where some walls were torn down to create a large open space. Even though it was thoroughly renovated, it still very much has the warmth of a home.
The walls are painted in a rich burgundy color and decorated with a collection of photographs. The furniture is a mishmash of things we found at a roadside antique store in Java, pieces from local carpenters, and the work of artistic craftsmen in Jepara.
You may notice a completely separate space next to Eight Coffee. That’s where we serve classic sandwiches, salads, and cakes. It has a distinctly lighter, more feminine flair than the shop, and I couldn’t imagine a better place for some late morning brunching.
You could stop by for just the ambience, but most people come for the coffee. Eight Coffee is a purveyor of quality Indonesian coffee. We rotate between blends and different origins from time to time, including Malabar from West Java, Temanggung from Central Java, and Solok from West Sumatra. Indonesia has such a wide and varied selection of coffee that we never had to search high and low for the perfect profile. In fact, coffee that was once voted as one of the world’s best can be found within a three hour drive.
As in most shops, our lattes and cappuccinos reign supreme, but another favorite is the Eight Coffee Delight. A slightly ritzier take on the nostalgic Indonesian kopi susu, it’s your classic latte with a dash of condensed milk. Kopi susu, I believe, holds a special place in the heart of all coffee lovers; before espressos, you probably tried this first.
As for food, you can pick anything from fish and chips, a selection of pastas, or traditional Indonesian dishes like homemade Nasi Goreng and my grandmother’s special Nasi Cabe Ijo. To satisfy that sweet tooth, try one of our pastries, or better yet, our homemade brownies or carrot cake made by yours truly.
Eight Coffee was the first coffee shop in Bekasi to serve specialty coffee. Some people thought attempting to open a coffee shop worth its salt in an area bare of even the most basic coffee chains was completely outrageous, but somehow Eight Coffee has had no problem thriving.
Perhaps our secret lies in our relationship with our customers; they’re happy to spend time with us, and we’re happy to serve them. Don’t hesitate to ask our baristas about the coffee you’re drinking. If you stop by during the weekend, you’ll probably find me behind the counter, and you and I could chat about the shops we’ve visited, coffees we’ve tried, or even the weather if you’d like.
This past year has seen me visit a myriad of wonderful coffee shops from Singapore to Hanoi. All of them were great, but if there is one coffee shop that undoubtedly holds my number one spot, it’s Eight Coffee. Nothing personal, it’s just home sweet home.
The biggest thanks in the world to my wonderful parents for all the opportunities they've given me. I am who I am because of you.