“Are you buying the coffee beans for your boyfriend?”
An actual question I got on my last visit to a Jakarta’s third-wave coffee joint
Dude, I love coffee. I can’t live without coffee. I need to have coffee at least twice a day in the morning and afternoon — preferably with a slice of chocolate cake. My go-to order is cappuccino but now I’m learning to drink manual brew/tubruk (I prefer cappuccino/other espresso-based drinks whenever I go out though).
I’ve been to many third-wave coffee joints in Jakarta and boy did I spend a lot of money to wind down or to work with my laptop there. But cafes, especially ones that got their own house blends are my favorite and I could spend more than 2 hours working or catching up with my best friends there. Now that I got manual brew equipments, being moka pot and french press, I usually bring home their beans too. (Note: Toraja is great for homemade cappuccino).
But my recent experience going to one of my favorite joints was not ending on a good note.
It’s 2016 and some people still think a certain beverage is gendered. I ran out of my usual blend and I guess it was time to find a new variety so I went to bought myself a 250g bag of beans. I usually asked the baristas about their recommended beans, and they went on to ask about my favorites. Toraja, I said, and a house blend from one of my go-to cafes.
To be honest, whenever baristas asked me questions like that at coffee joints like these, I sometimes thought they wanted to test my coffee knowledge. Ok, that’s probably too negative of me to think about that. Then one of them asked me:
“Are you buying this for your boyfriend?”
Whoa, man. I might be too overdramatic but dude… Not only guys can buy a freaking bag of coffee beans?
I kept my cool and answered him, “Duh, for myself. I drink coffee more than twice a day,” but the truth is maximum two cups for me. OK, it could be three cups, depends on my workload or the cafe I go to. I had a great day and I just didn’t want to ruin my already-perfect end to my day offs last week.
One time a barista explained the difference of motherfreaking cappuccino and mochaccino to me when I was actually just listening to my intuition to choose one between those two. There was also a time when a barista offered me “Girls usually like frappuccino/green tea lattes” as if no guys like those drinks.
Also, I noticed about unwritten etiquettes that must be obeyed whenever you visit a third-wave coffee joints. Dress fancy (preferably with a fancy pair of denim), order a snack or mains to avoid being sideeyed with the barista, and the list went on. Sometimes I feel baristas were judging me hard because I kept asking about their selection for a certain method of brew.
How do you keep your new customers to go back if they don’t feel welcomed at your place?
I’ve also met someone, who was trying to build his coffee business, who always cut my words whenever I talked about coffee or whatever the shit it was.
“Yeah I’ve tried Malabar — “
“From West Java.”
Which I knew already because I’ve tried it once and I liked it I even took an Instagram screenshot of the collective that sells it.
Also another one:
“I prefer cappuccinos, lattes and their friends.”
[He just gave me a condescending look]
The thing is, as much as I liked coffee, doesn’t mean our conversation topic must always revolve around it. Hours and hours of just listening to him talking about coffee, and got cut off in between my words, was not my idea of fun. Our first meeting didn’t end up well because I went off for all his mansplainings after telling me my favorite football club’s history.
Of course I’ve met some nice baristas too who were keen to explain me anything so kudos to them for making me feel welcomed at their fancy joints.
Anyway, I ended up liking the new coffee: it’s Rasuna natural from West Sumatra.