We first met charismatic barista Citra Ramadhani back in February 2016, when Jo and I were starting out on our Jakarta blogging adventures together. It was a Thursday morning, and we were exploring Jalan Cipete Raya on foot, researching for our first post in the Top Spots to Stop series. Essential to our list was a Top Spot to Stop for coffee! Tick … Toko Kopi Tuku.
What makes Citra a special barista? Citra has a knack of making all of her customers feel special and connected. She is a gifted listener and learned our names and favourite drinks after our first meeting, and has never forgotten them. When we caught up for this inteview Citra reminded us “Liz drank cappucino, and Jo latte, back then they followed up with a piccolo.”
Let’s start back in February 2016
What is your full name?
Where were you born?
I was born in Jakarta on 12 March 1994.
Can you tell us about your family?
My Dad is originally from Yogyakarta (Central Java) and my Mum’s family are from Cirebon (East Java) and Bandung ( West Java) My parents live in Bintaro. I have one sister who is older than me.
What did you want to be when you were a child?
Tailor, chef, singer. I was in the choir in elementary school. I’ve always loved to sing and particularly enjoy jazz and swing.
When did you first start drinking coffee?
I lived with my Grandmother and she drank coffee and shared it with me. My parents were not coffee drinkers.
Have you always worked in Jakarta?
Yes! After Senior High School I worked in a Hotel as an Assistant cook.
Where did you learn to be a barista? Kue Kue dessert house Dharmawangsa Square. My boss asked me would I like to learn the skills of a barista and I said yes!
It wasn’t easy at first (learning the skills of a barista) but I was curious. When I started out being a barista I served mostly people from Korea, Australia and America who were living in Jakarta and wanted to drink espresso based coffee.
What makes a good barista?
‘Being a good barista is not just about making and selling what is ‘inside the cup’, it is just as important that you connect the coffee with your customer’
What is your favourite type of coffee to make? I love to make everything!
Favourite coffee beans?
My favourite beans are Tolu Batak from Sumatera (it gives a full body espresso, with notes of cinnamon, citrus and sugar cane) The flavour is not too strong, not too acid. I highly recommend anyone living or visiting Indonesia to try it.
How has the Jakarta coffee culture changed since you started working in this industry?
We are seeing so many coffee shops opening across Jakarta. Coffee is a hot topic. For instance, there are forty two coffee shops in the Cipete area. The coffee is the same, but I believe what will always make the difference between each one, is the extra service they provide.
My favourite coffee – coffee with milk, not too much
What is your favourite food?
I often feel like pasta with salt and black pepper. At other times I enjoy pepes. (Pepes is an Indonesian cooking method using banana leaf as a wrapping.
Do you have a favourite band or singer you like to listen to?
I have more than one! … Joss Stone, Justin Timberlake, Beyonce, Jill Scott, Blue, Maxwell, Musiq Soulchild
Any exciting plans coming up for you?
Yes! Dua Coffee Cipete is opening a cafe in Washington USA. I hope to move there this year to work as a barista or cook. I’m excited because we will be brewing Indonesian beans.
And finally …
3 words to describe your Jakarta
Jakarta is My Home
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Let’s stay in touch : Instagram
Words : Citra Ramadhani and Liz McClean
Photography : a journey bespoke