roaster, design studio, cafe
beans : espresso blend 90% Sumatran Gayo and 10% Robusta, single origin available
leaf : loose, herbal & black, also make chai
soy : pre-sweetened
caffeine free : extracted juice - coconut water, orange & pineapple
fork : chocolate nut brownie $1
plate & bowl : Balinese tipat cantok (square sticky rice parcel) with blanched spinach, beans sprouts & peanut sauce
footprint : leave your shoes at the door
latte price : Rp20,000 ($2)
service : warm, a bit reserved
open : 7 days, 9.00am to 8.00pm
buzz : Ubud is fast stamping its authority as an artisan coffee destination, and Seniman Coffee Studio is rocking caffeine junkies from around the world. In the same spirit as Anomali down the road, they source and promote single origin beans from the Indonesian Archipelago, and extract their character by hand using the syphon, pour-over or hand-pulled espresso methods. The baristas, trained by Taiwanese masters, focus on optimizing the flavour potential of particular beans. This process begins with bean selection, roasting on-site, and grinding to order.
Tempted by their pop-up coffee cart at the writer’s festival, I had delayed my gratification all week to go the mother ship and have a proper sit down experience. Keep in mind, they don't open until 9am, which isn't conducive to early risers craving a heart starter.
The funky design and communal table piled with magazines had me at hello, but my day was ruined by cheap pre-sweetened soya milk. Yes, I hear you scoffing, how dare I risk tainting the pure essence of Arabica with soy; however I am not that evolved as a coffee maven to take my poison long and black. Coffee is served on a paddle with a glass of water and dainty Balinese sweet. Unique and unexpected. Single origin orders arrive in a recycled jar, as do the juices. My mango blender juice was thick and cold, exactly how I like it.
The menu comes with a flow chart to help you navigate the “architecture of coffee” and offers a succinct list of three breakfast options and six regional lunch dishes. It is good to see a café promoting authentic Indonesian food (including vegetarian). Customers that may be too scared to eat off a street cart can get a taste of hawker style fare in style.
A low bar extends the length of the engine room and provides a front row seat for the brewing action; close enough to see the dribbles of sweat on the barista’s temples. Ubiquitous plastic chairs have been transformed into groovy rockers, begging you to sway to the chilled playlist. Co-founder & designer Rodney Glick claims, “the Bar Rocker engages with us, stimulating imagination, encouraging curiosity and causes us to re-evaluate how we experience the world.” That is one hell of a chair.
The gleaming roaster sits in the window of the ground floor retail space, where innovative products from the Seniman Industries design arm are for sale alongside bright packets of coffee. No traditional cream, black and chocolate colour-way here. Coffee is well known for its effect on creativity, and the boys obviously have an intravenous line direct to the studio. Their aim is to design things to make you happier; ditch the crap soy and I’ll be laughing.