London’s coffee scene is second to none. Now there’s a new spot in Hackney, by way of Birmingham, serving coffee with “Indonesian vibes” and a menu of drinks built around 100% Indonesian coffee. There’s some great food available here as well. Even in a competitive market like this, Ngopi Coffee stands out—let’s learn more.
As told to Sprudge by Elmira Hamdi.
For those who aren’t familiar, will you tell us about your company?
Ngopi [ng-ow-pee] is the first and only independent coffee shop with Indonesian vibes in Birmingham and London, UK. We are here to fill the void of Indonesian-inspired food and coffees due to the lack of dedicated Indonesian cafes or restaurants around the United Kingdom. Owned by humble Indonesians, Ngopi opened its doors for coffee enthusiast in July 2018. The brand itself accounts for the act of drinking coffee. In Indonesia, we say “Ngopi Yuk!” to the other parties to ask them to have a coffee with us, that is why our tagline is “Let’s Ngopi!”
At Ngopi, we offer some of the highly popular menu in our homeland such as Es Kopi Susu, Teh Tarik, Matcha Latte, and Milo Chocolate alongside familiar coffee menu such as Cappuccino, Latte or Flat white using 100% Indonesian specialty coffee. Other than coffee, Ngopi also serves authentic Indonesian light meals with modern twist such as Ayam Penyet, Nasi Goreng, Gado-Gado, Bakso, Risol, Pisang Bakar, and more.
Can you tell us a bit about the new space?
Excellent coffee should always come first in every coffee shop. In addition to serving great coffee, Ngopi designs its spot to be homey and comfortable, just like when you are inside a coffee shop in Indonesia.
For the London branch, the space is much smaller than the Birmingham cafe and it is dominated with white and wood giving it a clean and sleek look. It is located in residential area within Hackney council where beautiful green spaces of London Fields and Hackney Downs are all within walking distance. We want to create a warm, cozy, welcoming space for all age range, whether to spend the day with the family (including the pets), come to work, or just want to have quiet me-time, we are all in!
What’s your approach to coffee?
As the fourth-largest producer of coffee in the world, Indonesia produce a unique and flavorful tasting coffee but unfortunately it is not as well-known as Brazilian or Columbian coffee. As an Indonesian national who also works in coffee industry, we are on the mission to spread the word that Indonesian coffee can taste as good or even better than other coffees.
Currently we use 100% single origin coffee originated from Indonesia. We sourced them ourselves through the help of our export partner, import them to the UK, then roast them in house, and finally brew them to create a perfect cup of coffee.
Any machines, coffees, special equipment lined up?
We use two types of espresso, both are Indonesian beans, but roasted differently. For our main espresso, we use a light to medium roast full-washed or honey processed beans, while we use a darker roast for our signature drink Es Kopi Susu. We roasted a little bit darker for our signature drink because it requires a slightly bitter coffee to mix well with the sweetness of natural palm sugar syrup that goes into the drink. We also use different types of natural coffees for our pour-over coffees to extract a beautiful fragrant aroma for a more hardcore coffee drinkers.
As for our equipment, we don’t really choose a specific brand or model but we only use the best brands like Slayer Steam X or Sanremo Café Racer for our espresso machines, and Mahlkönig PEAK and EK43 or Anfim SPII Plus grinders for our daily grinder use. We also flew in our Indonesian-made roasting machine, Froco FR1i, to roast our beans in house.
How is your project considering sustainability?
We are really concerned about making our business sustainable and eco-friendly. To start, we encourage our customers to use their own reusable cups and reward them with discounted price when doing so, and we also only use biodegradable cups, take away boxes, or straws in all our shops. Furthermore, we reuse our coffee puck waste and make coffee soap bar out of it, or we make candles with the stale coffee beans that cant be sold anymore. We are also still looking for other ways to reuse and recycle whenever possible.
Are you working with craftspeople, architects, and/or creatives that you’d like to mention?
Most of our interior design comes from our friend in Indonesia, the man behind Work Coffee in Indonesia, and the actual building works was done by our local builder, Magic Martin, which we have trusted to build both our shops. Creative designs such as logo, mural, branding, and packaging was also done by our local creative friends in Indonesia which grow from a one-man show to a company nowadays called Suka Studio.