The ABCDs of Coffee
    Category: Forbes Life By : James Hall Read : 1874 Date : Tuesday, May 05, 2015 - 10:44:30

    Ahmad Zamroni / Forbes Indonesia

    The ABCD School of Coffee was started in January 2013 by Ve Handojo and Hendri Kurniawan in the now-trendy Pasar Santa in Jakarta. Back then, the second floor of Pasar Santa was an empty place, with only three tenants, so ABCD was a pioneer tenant there. The pair eventually invested about Rp 150 million over the course of six months to get it up and running, and they co-own the place.

    ABCD stands for “a bunch of caffeine dealers,” and these words are emblazoned along the top of the pair’s Pasar Santa stall. With its exposed brick, natural wood panelling, handwritten signs and fancy coffee equipment, it looks like just another trendy coffee bar. However, it’s not—the place is actually a school, where wannabe baristas can learn how to craft drinks like flat whites and macchiatos. Even more unusual, ABCD has no fixed opening or closing hours, and has no fixed price for its coffee—“customers” can donate whatever they want into a red jar on the counter.

    The place also doesn’t have a fixed supply of coffee beans—the pair bring their own, or get donations. The pair brews whatever beans they happen to have, and when those run out, they close. Last August, they had a chance to brew some Gensha beans from Panama, considered to be one of the best coffees in the world, rivalling even the legendary Kopi Luwak from Indonesia. (For this coffee, the pair set a price of Rp 65,000 a cup.) ABCD also doesn’t serve food, although ironically food is often available, sometimes supplied by neighbouring stalls, and sometimes Hendri brings homemade pizza.

    While the students do pay for classes, there are no grades. The pair offers four types of classes, ranging in price from Rp 500,000 to Rp 5 million, depending on the size, length and focus of the teaching. The four types are cleverly named the A, B, C and D classes. As the pair put on a blog: “As our name implies, we have classes from A to D. A refers to Appreciation class, where students learn about the types of coffee beans, their characteristics and history. B refers to Brewing class, where students learn the art of manual brewing. C is for Cupping class, where we train students to evaluate coffee quality….The last class is D as in Definitive Espresso class, where students learn how to make an espresso. Our modules are patterned after the Specialty Coffee Association of Europe and the Specialty Coffee Association of America.”

    Class sizes runs from four to eight students. Students mostly come from Indonesia but some also came from Brunei, Malaysia and Singapore. The students vary—some are just coffee lovers but others are there for professional training, such as staff or owners of coffee shops. The pair note with more coffee bars springing up than baristas to man them, ABCD is meant to help fill the gap for qualified staff.