When Coffee is Wonderfully Narrated – Welcome to Klinik Kopi

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(Photo: Freddy Wally)

IO – Located in an alley on Jalan Kaliurang KM 7.5, nestled along Gang Bima, this coffee shop gained popularity after it was highlighted in the box office hit produced by Miles Films: “Ada Apa dengan Cinta? -2” in 2016. Since then, this shop has steadily been flooded with patrons. 

“We normally serve up to 200 cups per day; some of our customers even come from outside the city, curious about Klinik Kopi,” said Pepeng, the owner of the shop, shaded by trees to create a natural atmosphere, when the Observer visited at the end of last year. 

Firmansyah, aka Pepeng, is popular as a coffee “doctor.” For every visitor, stories about coffee beans from various regions in Indonesia also flow freely from his lips, as his coffee concoctions are enjoyed by visitors, sipping coffee and enjoying the atmosphere. 

Pepeng does not hesitate to simply share stories with coffee drinkers or connoisseurs who come to the shop about coffee beans that are being brewed. “I want people who come to Klinik Kopi to get to know some local coffees; there are stories about the struggles of coffee farmers in growing coffee, how the taste of coffee is formed from the seeds, the planting process until of course when the coffee is brewed,” explained Pepeng that day. 

To drink his coffee, another guest and I waited for about half an hour that day. That day we waited for Pepeng to finish his Friday prayers first. “Sorry to wait a long time, I was in the mosque earlier,” he said enthusiastically seeing us who had been sitting waiting in the yard of his shop, which was beautifully-decorated with bamboo. 

COVID-19 inevitably affects the shape of the Coffee Clinic. Before the pandemic, visitors could interact and lie on the floor in a shady semi-outdoor hall measuring 10 meters, dominated by bamboo and laying on colorful ceramic pieces while facing Pepeng’s “work table” aka the bar where he brewed coffee. Since the pandemic attack, Pepeng moved his bar to the next room, a place he called the Dapur Tetangga. 

Klinik Kopi tries to adapt to the new arrangement in an era called the new normal. Typical coffee trinkets scattered on the windows were transformed into a permanent bar, ranging from jars filled with coffee beans from various regions. Klinik Kopi merchandise hangs on the wall, to coffee grinders with various other coffee shop stickers on the work table, aka the barista’s brewing room. 

“What coffee do you want to drink, Mas?” he warmly greeted every visitor who came. “Anything, as long as it is delicious!” said the visitor, who was later known to have come from Bali. A warm chat with coffee connoisseurs who deliberately came to the Klinik Kopi is the essence of how Pepeng’s coffee business, as it has become widely known. 

Koka ceramics This year, the Kopi Klinik is going to celebrate its 8th anniversary. The age that is classified as an established coffee shop in an area whose presence sometimes appears to be submerged along with the prevailing trend. Since the first year in the bustling Gejayan area and then moving to the Jalan Kaliurang area until now, the popularity of Pepeng and its Kopi Klinik has become increasingly greater. In addition to being the location for filming a national box office hit film, on one occasion, President Jokowi invited Pepeng to have a coffee at the Bogor Palace. 

Interestingly, it’s not just the story about coffee that makes the coffee blends at Klinik Kopi so impressive. There is Koka, a locally made pourover type coffee container made of special clay and limited in production by Kaloka Pottery, a ceramic UKM in Yogyakarta. “I participated in designing this Koka,” he said again. 

Brewing coffee, Pepeng kept on carrying out the conversation with the customers. Starting from the conversation about favorite coffee, to the coffee shop that is often visited by coffee connoisseurs. The chatter and the narrative can be a magnet which then keeps visitors coming. 

“For me, coffee must have a story. There is a dialogue, from there drinking coffee becomes more meaningful, coffee is not a mere drink,” he said briefly while serving the guests who kept coming and wanted to taste the coffee he made. 

Pepeng set the price of IDR 25,000 for one cup of coffee, which is quite affordable considering the coffee it serves is in the single-origin category, a variant of pure coffee beans from a region without a mixture of other coffee beans. As the season of fruit, the coffee Pepeng serves depends on the season and availability. Other times there is Padussi coffee from West Sumatra, next time we can taste Temanggung coffee or Coffee from Dolok Sanggul-North Sumatra. “Everything depends on the coffee supplied by the farmers,” added Pepeng. 

Labeling the Coffee Clinic as a “hardcore” coffee shop ensures that visitors who come will certainly not ask for a cappuccino menu or added sugar as a companion. “This is also part of my education for coffee lovers so that the taste of the coffee that is drunk does not disappear,” said Pepeng with a thick Javanese accent. 

As a substitute for sweetness, Pepeng does not hesitate to offer his guests to snack on cakes produced by the wife, which is labeled “Dapur Tetangga” as a companion for drinking coffee. There are brownies, chocolate cake, and cheesecake. Everything again depends on supplies. “We take care of everything ourselves, make it ourselves, mix it ourselves, so it’s homemade.” 

You could say that the Klinik Kopi has become the main destination for coffee lovers when they are in Yogyakarta. The city is also known as one of the main destinations on the Indonesian tourism map. Although to enjoy a cup of coffee here we need to be extra patient waiting for the queue, but this is an experience that may not be found elsewhere. 

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic situation that persists, don’t forget to always apply the applicable health protocols, including when visiting the Yogyakarta Kopi Klinik. Keep your distance and always wear a mask. (Freddy Wally)