Djauw Coffee Goes Back to Old-School Ways

by Cindy Julia Tobing
10th August 2023
Djauw Coffee in Petak Sembilan embraces an old-style charm that still feels current, drawing in customers with its sand-brewed coffee and simple breakfast.

The agenda at Petak Sembilan in Glodok usually starts with a keen eye to explore and ends with a full, satisfied stomach. But the day also requires enough patience to wade through the small, busy alleyways in search of Glodok’s hidden gems, be it the 40-year-old laksa eatery nestled between fruit stalls, or the popular neighbourhood bakmie hidden in the deep end of a residential complex. 

By comparison, Djauw Coffee’s ease of access is like a breath of fresh air. Situated on the left side of Kemenangan Raya Street, just a brisk walk from when you enter the alleyway next to Toko Manisan Timur Jaya 3 confectionery store, the two-level coffee shop draws passersby with its old-style charm that still feels current, effortlessly mingling with its surroundings. 

Occupying an unused, older building since 2021, the design, too, takes on the same approach, flaunting worn-looking white tiles and simple wooden tables and chairs. The place is also dotted with framed pictures of the Pancoran neighbourhood from the past, fixed with vintage knick-knacks that belonged to the personal collection of the shop owner Dessy Djauw and her family. 

With its offerings of distinctly-made brews and simple breakfast, like the Roti Kaya (generously slathered with butter and srikaya as they melt into the bread), it’s not far-fetched to think that the coffee house exudes the feel of Singaporean kopitiams, but Djauw Coffee also makes a case for its own unique experience, and this rests on how its coffee is made. 

Making use of a traditional method from Turkey, Djauw brews coffee with silica sand, where coffee grounds and water are poured into a small pot and stirred gently in the hot sand. “It’s a slow-heating process that allows the coffee ground to extract all of its inherent flavours,” said Dessy. “We enjoy the thick texture of the coffee, the strong aroma and the richness of the flavour.” 

The signature Kopi Pancoran hones into this richness and adds another layer of flavour with cinnamon, sweetened with palm sugar—in food form, one could even liken it to a cinnamon bun. Meanwhile, the newly added Butter Coffee is slightly sweet from the condensed milk and also creamy from the thick square of butter, a warming cup that satisfies on its own or paired with the complementary bowl of peanuts.

Djauw relishes the old-school ways of doing things, as seen from the interior to the brewing method that is still few and far between. And this particular charm is infectious to the people in the neighbourhood, particularly the elders who like to drop by and catch up over a cup of simple yet robust coffee. But there’s also the collision of younger groups that stroll during the weekend, like the culinary explorers to a community of cyclists on their morning outing, making Djauw Coffee a meeting point and restful shelter that crosses generational lines.