Coffee shops in Jakarta have become hang-out spots for the young and hip of the city during weekdays and weekends. However, only a handful of people actually have a firm grasp of what coffee is all about. The lack of knowledge regarding a beverage that has practically become a culture in itself became the catalyst that drove Ve Handojo and Hendri Kurniawan to start ABCD (A Bunch of Caffeine Dealers) School of Coffee.
From organising small-scale activities in Pasar Santa to producing graduates that have tasted success both domestically and internationally, ABCD has done wonders for our coffee lovers. We had a chat with Ve Handojo to find out more behind his educational venture.
Could you tell us how it all began with ABCD Coffee?
ABCD Coffee was essentially founded due to the concerns of my partner Hendri Kurniawan and I towards the youth of today who know next to nothing about coffee. The irony is that Indonesia is the fourth largest coffee producer in the world. With Hendri’s burning passion for coffee, we agreed to set up ABCD Coffee in 2014. We started out by running workshops via Instagram. As the number of interested parties began to swell, we had to move from Pasar Santa to Gondangdia. We also operate our own coffee shop called Ruang Seduh Kemang, where we offer visitors to learn about coffee brewing or making their own latte art.
Who make up the bulk of your pupils at ABCD Coffee?
They mostly consist of those who are planning to open their own coffee shop or are set to continue their studies abroad. By getting to grips with basic coffee knowledge, they can apply to become a barista and earn a little extra on the side whilst in a foreign land. Our students’ age range spans from preadolescents to those who are more advanced in years. We have had many people who enrolled to ABCD without a single clue about coffee. There are some who don’t drink coffee at all, registering only to find out more regarding the beverage. So far, we have had 181 classes with a total of around 500 participants as we could only fill a single batch with five people.
What is it that you teach here at ABCD Coffee?
The level of education that we dish out are still quite fundamental in nature, such as getting familiar with coffee, discerning the differences between robusta and arabica, why some folks dislike coffee, and whether or not coffee causes sleeplessness and damage to one’s stomach. For three days, they will learn about the different tastes of coffee, how to brew manually, how to pour milk, how to make foam, and many more. We also provide exclusive classes on weekends, such as a theory class or a manual brewing class for visitors who would like to take part in just the one class. For our Master classes, we would invite a guest lecturer like a World Barista Champion to lead the class.
How can we apply to learn at ABCD Coffee?
It’s pretty simple, really. Interested parties can get in touch with ABCD Coffee, fill up a form, and pay Rp.5 million for a class package.
Do you have a particular favourite coffee?
I try every type of coffee, so not really. However, I do prefer those that are sweet-sour in taste over the bitter ones.
Is there a signature flavour to Indonesia’s coffee?
It is obvious that Indonesia is unable to produce a genuinely sweet coffee due to our climate, elevation, and planting method. Yet it is impossible to determine the taste to each coffee as there are other factors that affect its flavour in the end, including the post-harvest process and the roasting, grinding, and brewing methods that are utilised.
Lastly, would ABCD Coffee be interested in recommending your curriculum or education to universities?
We do have an inclination towards such a goal, but we would actually like to introduce it to kids in junior high and high school so that they could get an early start on coffee education.
You also can read the article on The Jakarta Post: Conversation with The Mastermind Behind ABCD Coffee