Kozi Lab, Bandung: A Cozy Place to Drink Coffee with an Understated Hipster Vibe

With so many coffee shops opening in Bandung, it’s so difficult for them to stand out from the crowd. They all generally have good coffee, they all generally have a good fitout, they all generally have free wifi and are good for nongkrong. So when we visited Kozi Lab, we expected much the same, but were pleasantly surprised to a see something a little more distinct.

What makes Kozi Lab so different from other coffee shops in Bandung is that it’s in a unique location, the people who visit are artists and this makes the atmosphere unique in Bandung.Kozi Lab drink coffee in a warehouse in BandungKozi Lab is tucked deep inside a series of old military warehouses next to a bunch of other art focused shops such as design studios and fashion designers. It’s so deep inside these warehouses that it’s actually quite difficult to find.Inside-Kozi-LabOur best advice is to drive through a small gate and head towards the back of the property. There you will find a warehouse with a bunch of cars and motorbikes parked out the front. Enter this warehouse and have a walk around. You will stumble upon the coffee shop! There is no other way to describe where it is!The coffee we had was good as is usually the case now in Bandung. To compare it in quality to other places in Bandung is difficult because the standard now is so high.

So we really love this place. Kozi Lab is a place we’ll be glad to go back to over and over again. We just hope it doesn’t turn into a typical hipster place. As at this time, we don’t feel that it is too hipster. It has a nice funky, organic vibe that hasn’t been invaded by the fake artistic crowd. Awesome.Coffee in KoziLab-Bandung

Kozi Lab
Jalan Gudang Selatan 22, Bandung (go through the arched driveway and head towards the warehouses in the middle of the property. There will be lots of cars and motorbikes parked out the front)

Instagram: @kozi.lab
Opening Hours: daily 09:00 – 21:00
Magic: Rp22.000


Old Bike Coffee & Eatery, Bandung: Old Bikes, New Cafe

New in late 2016, Old Bike Coffee & Eatery is a modern coffee shop on Jalan Surya Sumantri serving great coffee at a friendly price.

We complain a lot about coffee prices in Indonesia. You can get a specialty coffee from Yellow Truck for Rp18.000 and the same one from Common Grounds for about Rp47.000. And the difference in quality isn’t that great.At Old Bike, they’ve chosen to price their coffees at the lower end of the range with a magic (double shot ristretto with milk) only costing Rp20.000. That’s an absolute bargain.But of course it’s not all just about price. Quality is important too and we were very happy with our coffees at Old Bike. The magic was strong and punchy and the flat white slightly more milky, but still quite strong.The fitout here is interesting. They have a really large ruko to play with and they’ve done a good job.

Simple tiled floors, wood and metal furniture and brushed concrete walls. We found it to be a little noisy because of echoing, but that’s something they should be able to fix quite easily with some pictures on the walls.Free wifi is also provided and you will always find a seat because it is so big. A good new coffee shop in Bandung.

Old Bike Coffee & Eatery
Jalan Surya Sumantri 53B, Bandung
(022) 8777 6477
Instagram: @oldbikecoffee
Opening Hours: daily 09:00 – 23:00 except Saturday 09:00 – 01:00
Magic: Rp20.000
Flat White: Rp23.000


Kopi Kelenteng, Bandung: Fantastic Coffee Across from the Temple

Located in the Chinese area of Bandung, the aptly named Kopi Kelenteng is a kopitiam style coffee shop offering manual brew, espresso and kopitiam style coffee. And we love it.

The thing with coffee shops in Bandung is that they all start to feel the same. Wood, industrial fittings, bags of Proud Mary coffee behind the counter. What started as an original theme by Noah’s Barn has been copied to death by others. And Kopi Kelenteng well and truly breaks that mould.Pintu Depan Kopi KelentengWhat we really love about the shop itself is that it’s not in a ruko. I hate rukos because the shape is always the same. Boring! The no-ruko aspect means that the cafe has an interesting shape to it. It’s a small space with only a few tables, a dedicated smoking area and the tiniest of kitchens.Bagian Dalam Kopi Kelenteng BandungThe menu is simple. Lots of toast, nasi goreng and other cemilan. The coffee range is large because they brew in lots of different ways. The magic we tried was spot on. Strong flavour, well-textured milk and looked good.Magic Di Kopi Kelenteng BandungThe teh tarik was similar to what we know and expect in Malaysia although we’d be happy to see a bit more froth.Toast Di Kopi KelentengSo what don’t we like about Kopi Kelenteng? Not a lot! We would like to see a few extra dishes served such as lontong kare or other simple dishes you might see in a kopitiam. But other than that, Kopi Kelenteng is a damn fine example of what a simple coffee shop should be.Area Smoking Di Kopi KelentengTop marks. Check it out if you can.

Kopi Kelenteng
Jalan Kelenteng 26, Bandung
Opening Hours: daily 07:00 – 22:00, weekends until 23:00
Toast: Rp12.000 – 18.000
Nasi goreng: Rp22.000 – 28.000

Kopi: Rp15.000 – 25.000
Teh Tarik: Rp15.000
Milo Dinosaur: Rp20.000


Common Grounds, Bandung

And the great cafes in Bandung keep springing up. This time, it’s Common Grounds. Common Grounds originated in Jakarta and became an instant success. I went there when it first opened and to be honest, the food offering was poor. But on subsequent visits, they’ve refined their service to the point that I think it’s a fantastic place to go and have brunch and a couple of coffees.Common Grounds Bandung inside

Which brings us to Bandung. I guess the main thing to question is whether Common Grounds Bandung lives up to its successful sibling in Jakarta. And for me, it does. Actually, I prefer the Bandung branch because the fitout is so freaking awesome whereas the Jakarta version is in a crappy old mall.

The coffee at Common Grounds is first rate. Equal to the best in Bandung, but to be honest, there are so many great coffee places in Bandung now that this level is the minimum required in my view. I expect excellent coffee in every cafe I go to and Common Grounds Bandung does deliver. Next is food. The menu here is diverse and includes the usual brunch style items such as pancakes but also heavier savoury things such as burgers and baked eggs. The cake selection is small, but the chocolate souffle cake I tried was awesome. So over-the-top rich, but I liked that. Apparently they ship the cakes in from Jakarta rather than make them in house, but I think that’s OK as long as the taste is good. And anyway, the souffle cake I tried was nothing like a souffle… Not sure what that is about.Common Grounds Bandung Cake

Next, we turn to whether this place is suitable for working from. One of the biggest gripes I have in all of Bandung (aside from the traffic) is the lack of decent work spaces in cafes. Mainly the issue is to do with WiFi. Indonesia does have super fast wifi in many areas. Bandung has it throughout the city. I even have quite fast wifi at home. The problem is that in most cafes the connections are usually shit and Common Grounds is no different. For me, they shouldn’t bother offering wifi at all if they can’t give you something that is even barely usable. With a cafe filled with about 10 people, the internet worked about 25% of the time. And even at those times it was on and off. In other words, completely frustrating and better off if they didn’t have it. This is pretty similar to most cafes in Bandung, to be fair. I don’t know why it’s always so bad, but it needs to be fixed.

One last point is about pricing and it’s something that raises its head time and time again in Indonesia. It’s the issue of charging for an extra shot of coffee. Now some places such as two hands full don’t charge for an extra shot as the coffees come standard with 2 shots. Noah’s Barn does a magic which has 2 shots for 28k plus tax. But I’ve been charged up to 60k in the past for double shot coffees as they often charge for 2 separate coffees. Common Grounds doesn’t do this. But the do charge 10k plus tax and service for an extra shot which probably costs them 2k in beans, absolutely nothing in labour and saves them probably 500 in milk. It’s a rip off. So yeah, I would be OK with an extra 5k, and even then the total price of the coffee would be 37k plus tax. But as it stands, I’ve to pay 47k for that double shot coffee which by world standards is a rip off. By Bandung standards it’s criminal.Common Grounds Coffee

So the final verdict? Awesome. One of my new favourite cafes in Bandung. Just don’t go there expecting to use the wifi.


Cultivar Coffee Shop, Bandung

I got a burst of inspiration, so I thought I write up some of my thoughts about a new coffee shop in Bandung called Cultivar.

Located in a trendy area of town with a smattering of nearby eateries, Cultivar gets a lot right that some other coffee shops don’t. The first thing I noticed when I entered was that it was not overly crowded with seating spaced far enough apart that you could get away from people if you wanted to. The ambience was lively although there weren’t that many customer inside due to an eclectic mix of tunes on the small sound system.

Cultivar Coffee Shop Bandung - Tempat Nongkrong Bagus
Cultivar Coffee Shop Bandung – Tempat Nongkrong Bagus

I ordered a double shot cafe latte and it was bang on in my view. They served it in a massive cup which is a general turn off for me, but the flavour was deep and rich and no one where near as milky as I had feared. Two big thumbs up for the coffee.

Enjoying a Coffee at Cultivar, Bandung
Enjoying a Coffee at Cultivar, Bandung

I also ordered the strawberries and cream waffles. I was slightly disappointed with the dish because there was nothing on the plate that made me go “wow”. It was simply waffles, strawberries and cream — what did I expect?! Well, I would have liked that cream to be an amazing home creation with layers of flavour — perhaps vanilla, cardamom… some other Indonesian spices. But it was store bought cream and pretty standard. That said, I finished off the dish and I didn’t hate it — certainly much better than some dishes I’ve had at other cafes in Bandung.

Strawberries & Cream Waffles @ Cultivar Bandung
Strawberries & Cream Waffles @ Cultivar Bandung

The wifi in Cultivar is fast. I got 17mbit down and 7mbit up on my test which is perfect for uploading youtube videos or downloading your favourite torrents.

All in all, Cultivar hits the right spot for me. I can see myself coming back to work for an hour or two whilst indulging in one of those massive lattes. A welcome addition to the Bandung cafe scene.