Derived from the Sanskrit word meaning blessing, “Kalyan” is also a conspicuous Indonesian wordplay for kalian that translates to “you.” After orbiting away from its hometown Jakarta to nestle itself at the tail-end of Harajuku district, Tokyo, Indonesian-grown coffee brand Kopikalyan Japan ties these labels together and stays grounded to its philosophy: that coffee is the greatest gift from nature. It beats to the testament that, with exceptional pour-overs, delightful food and the right company, anything can attune to the joy of drinking coffee.
“Our heritage has taught us to share, forward and pass along these blessings through a cup of coffee,” says Kopikalyan Japan branch manager Masafumi Nishio during a chat with Metropolis. “We fell in love with the Japanese culture, but we also want to share the excellent flavors Indonesian beans have to offer.”
To an unassuming gaze, the cafe is another run-of-the-mill addition to the neighborhood’s myriad of trendy boutiques. The interior is fine-tuned with warm industrial aesthetics: concrete-slabbed communal table, light wood accents and steel-clad furniture boasting sleek silhouettes. The open coffee bar, well-lit by enormous picture windows, displays their stunning ceramic ORIGAMI drippers.
Yet Kopikalyan Japan should not be assumed as refined nor over-the-top. Their mission, in a complete trajectory to its contemporary ambiance, is a sentiment of something more grassroots: to deliver the flavors of the home-grown Indonesian coffee bean to Tokyo’s growing cafe mecca. It stands to reason that a cup of Kopikalyan’s latte, made from their in-house espresso blend, narrates a deeper coffee tale than meets the eye.
“We source our specialty-grade arabica coffee beans directly from farmers and process them in our own roastery,” adds Nishio. “There’s just a lot of variety of origins in Indonesia, every bean has its own unique taste that we can exploit, and there are multiple brewing methods. It’s our job to find the best way to bring out the flavors.”
As the conversation continues, the smell of single-origin coffee fills the space — a floral and refreshingly bitter scent. The coffee shop allows customers to select a range of coffee beans sourced from Java Island, for manual brewing. Baristas, clad in their denim aprons, craft their artisan drip coffee at the bar while eagerly sharing their curated coffee origins with enthusiasts (Frinsa Sigaraturang coffee from Central Java is a solid recommendation, they insist). Higher acidity, brighter notes and a tinge of sweetness — Indonesian-variety beans contrast Tokyo’s preference for a darker roasting profile.
Much like its previous stores in Jakarta, ample seating space allows anyone to choose between a quick on-the-go caffeine fix and long coffee breaks. Hip locals take Instagram-worthy snapshots of their signature hot espresso-based lattes, served on a wooden board that includes a complimentary slice of pandan sponge topped with a dollop of cream, while university students grumble about the semester over their honey milk tea and americanos.
Since opening its first branch in the leafy Jakarta suburbia five years ago, Kopikalyan embeds local touches to its signature menus. A main vehicle to their brand, Es Kopikalyan, incorporates organic Arenga palm sugar for a sweet, unconventional footprint on Tokyo’s coffee landscape. Their non-coffee beverages, ranging from beras kencur (aromatic ginger and rice) latte to turmeric-tamarind herbal blend, also carry the warmth and familiarity of Indonesian culture.
Our heritage has taught us to share, forward and pass along these blessings through a cup of coffee.
Foodwise, Kopikalyan Japan offers everything savory and sweet. Hearty conversations between friends and dates continue over bites of flavor-packed crispy tempeh (fermented soybeans) fries and honey butter toast. The Kalyan toast, with Javanese palm sugar-infused compound butter, special house jam and complimentary espresso, along with their signature Kalyan coffee jelly, also win the center stage.
Today, a certain liveliness and charm thrive in Kopikalyan Japan as an echo to its name. Across the room, Indonesian expatriates reminisce about their hometown with the latest close-knitted community gossip and wholesome iced jamu (Indonesian herbal concoction) drink. Staff and regulars chat like casual friends. Even Nishio, when asked about his favorite drink, proudly — or unabashedly, no one can know for sure — declares, “Obviously, it would have to be the Es Kopikalyan!”
6-15-14 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku
Opening hours: 12 pm – 7 pm
Kopikalyan Japan remains to be community-driven and Muslim-friendly. All food and drinks offered are halal. Designated Wudu area and prayer room are also available for customers.
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