When Adi Suhendra was an operator for local mobile services, he would often take time out of his travels around the archipelago to sample the local coffee beans and get acquainted with the farmers that cultivate them. As the hobby turned into a business prospect, it started a 5-year-long research process that manifested into the first Second Floor Coffee in Bali in 2018. Fast forward another five years, Adi’s coffee shop now also serves the cyclists, work-from-café dwellers and joggers that roam the BSD City suburbs.
Tucked right above the lobby of the unassuming Starlet Hotel, which is surrounded by empty office lofts and upmarket neighbourhoods, Second Floor settles itself out of the way from the main hubbubs of BSD City. One might find such a location puzzling and wonder how the coffee shop finds a steady stream of customers.
The answer lies in the coffee. “We make specialty coffee not for enthusiasts, but for the non-coffee-drinking friends they hang out with,” shared Adi, who has received roster certification from the Specialty Coffee Association (SCA). “The essence to coffee [enjoyment] is the act of socialising, but not all can enjoy coffee equally.”
As such, Second Floor finds its signature in artisanal single-origin coffee that is easily digestible and naturally sweetened with fruits and flowers. Examples include favourites like the fruity espresso pick Black Guava, which is ensconced in a frozen glass flask to keep the temperature stable, as well as the fragrant Adam cold brew, flavoured with nectar from the rose flower. Both of them are made with USDA Kintamani—a bean from Bali that is exclusively available locally at Second Floor outlets—and served alongside special-made ice crystals to retain the flavours, as well as particular steps for drinking that the servers would obligingly explain at the table.
Indeed, Second Floor doesn’t shy away from showing a distinct particularity in how their coffee should be enjoyed. But while it pays special attention to the caffeinated drinks, the coffee shop still manages to make sure that other aspects of its offerings remain up to par. For one, the BSD shop has famed chef Vindex Tengker to develop a range of dishes that heavily lean towards familiar, comforting flavours. His Nasi Uduk (coconut milk-steamed rice with accompaniments like fried chicken), in particular, is a hit among cycling regulars.
Simultaneously refined, refreshing and laid-back, the experience is what draws a range of personalities to the coffee shop, from families from nearby neighbourhoods even to a coffee enthusiast from Yogyakarta making the trip for a cuppa. With additional shops in the works in the city, each with a different focus and set of features, it’s exciting to anticipate what café-goers will discover when they go up to the Second Floor.