Toko Kopi Maru, Hidden gem in old Pasar Baru alley

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Toko Kopi Maru
Toko Kopi Maru terrace, serving as an outdoor seating area, for a maximum of 24 visitors. Photos: Foto: Freddy Wally

IO – Pasar Baru (or Passer Baroe), first named in 1820, has long been a prominent trading area in Jakarta, with a rich history since the era of Dutch colonialism. It is located in Central Jakarta, in an area that used to be called Weltevreden; it was famed as a place where Dutch people and Asians would customarily gather to go shopping. 

After 200 years, apart from being a commercial center, Pasar Baru is now also a place for the young to spend their leisure time in Central Jakarta. 

Several city landmarks have been revamped as new hang-out places. The Museum of Philately transformed into the hyped Pos Bloc, and like a moth to a fame, it is always crowded by visitors to enjoy the lovely afternoon of Northern Jakarta. In the hustle and bustle of Pasar Baru, Toko Kopi Maru is now offering a new sensation of sipping coffee. 

Toko Kopi Maru
One of the corners in Toko Kopi Maru, a vintage coffee shop in a hidden alley in Pasar Baru, Jakarta.

“I founded Toko Kopi Maru for the love of coffee and classic architecture around the city. I love watching the old landmarks and coffee shops across Jakarta, and thought, why not open my own place? I decided to set up and launch Toko Kopi Maru in Agus Salim Street, Menteng, at the end of December 2019,” said Hendry Chandra, founder of Toko Kopi Maru. 

Maru is a Japanese word with a few meanings: “Maru means perfection, completion, circle or even zero. I philosophically interpret the word as a perfect piece of work. I want guests to come and taste our perfection in good coffee and relaxing nuance,” added Hendry. 

Hendry further explained that Maru could also be interpreted as a circular aspect to keep the business thriving. “The name Maru gives hope for the business to flourish because we are not coffee experts with experience,” argued the Singkawang-born man. 

Toko Kopi Maru
Signboard directing passersby to Toko Kopi Maru Pasar Baru.

Hendry believes that Toko Kopi Maru would offer more than enjoying coffee drinks. “Not only are our coffee beans grained curated coffee, we also provide a classic old Jakarta nuance for our guests,” Hendry further said. 

As a simple coffee shop, Toko Kopi Maru offers 12 main coffee drink choices, ranging from classic boil to manual brew. Guests can order black coffee, coffee and milk, and filtered coffee from different selected coffee beans. Non-coffee drinks suggest different favors, from teas to chocolate drinks.

One of the signature drinks in Toko Kopi Maru is Pine Brew, a mix of coffee mocktail and pineapple extract. Starling is a unique blend of starfruit juice that grows in the coffee shop’s backyard. “We develop new drinks at least every six months,” said the guy, who is also a movie buff. 

Not only drinks – you can also savor meals served in Toko Kopi Maru: chicken noodles, banana fritters, mendoan (fried tempeh in batter mix), doughnut, fried cassava, and fried bakwan (batter mix with vegetables filling). 

Toko Kopi Maru
Taking over 80-year-old building, Toko Kopi Maru offers a coffee shop with an classic ambiance.

According to Hendry, Toko Kopi Maru in Pasar Baru represents a perfect place to hang out during the pandemic, as the seats are mostly located in an open area. “Different from our Sabang branch, Toko Kopi Maru in Pasar Baru provides outdoor seats with safe distance for our guests,” said the former banker. 

When Independent Observer asked about the origins of the coffee beans, Hendry answered that Toko Kopi Maru has different selections of coffee beans, depending on the market supply. “We are currently serving Temanggung, Flores, Aceh and Balinese coffee beans; another time, you might taste different coffee beans from other regions. We are buying a new roasting machine for the coffee,” he answered. 

Toko Kopi Maru, with its unique character: blending the timeless building and classic ambiance with modern guests and coffee drink lovers in the old alleys of Pasar Baru, an excellent hideaway during the pandemic. Toko Kopi Maru opens daily except Mondays, with operating hours on Tuesday-Friday from 9 p.m. to 6 p.m. and on weekends (Saturday-Sunday) earlier, at 07 p.m. 

If you intend to pay a visit and have a sip of their coffee, make sure to always comply with the safety protocols, keep a safe distance and your masks on when not drinking or eating, wash your hands with soap and avoid the crowds when ordering coffee. Cheers! (fred)