Kopi Kenangan is now in Suria KLCC, its 1st international store
by AKMAR ANNUAR / pic MUHD AMIN NAHARUL
TO ALL coffee lovers out there, here’s a wonderful piece of news for you. There’s a new coffeehouse in Suria KLCC!
Introducing the fastest-growing food and beverage (F&B) chain in Indonesia, Kopi Kenangan. The company has finally made its way here to serve you quality, yet affordable coffee.
The first South-East Asian retail F&B brand to hit unicorn status, ie reaching a valuation of US$1 billion (RM4.46 billion), aims to continue expanding its footprint in the region. It plans to broaden its offerings under the name Kenangan Coffee as the official international name to be used outside of Indonesia.
Its first international store in Malaysia is definitely not its last. Kopi Kenangan plans to open four more stores in MyTown Cheras, Pavilion KL, NU Sentral and Sunway Pyramid by year-end. A check on Pavilion’s list of stores showed “Kopi Kenangan — Coming Soon”.
Kopi Kenangan has also launched a training academy in Petaling Jaya for its baristas and employees, with the aim to become the best professional F&B training centre in Malaysia.
Its co-founder and chief business development officer James Prananto said they wanted to emphasise on the word “Kenangan” as it translates to “making memories”.
“Everyone who comes to our store is treated like a friend, and every cup of coffee we sell is made with love and we hope this translates to customers making memories with us along this journey.
“We aspire to be the most-loved consumer brand in South-East Asia, and Malaysia will be a key foothold in helping us achieve this mission,” continued James.
At Kopi Kenangan KLCC, you can find their beloved Signature drinks, Kenangan Latte and Avocado Coffee, as well as a wide range of other coffee selections, with a cuppa coffee starting from RM5.90.
The outlet also has several food options, as a delightful companion to your coffee, with Cerita Roti (bread), Kenangan Manis (cookies), Chigo (fried chicken) and Kopi Kenangan Hanya Untukmu (ready-to-drink coffee).
Prananto explained that in terms of signature products, there are two things that he wants the public to know.
First, as a testament to their emphasis on quality, Kopi Kenangan has appointed Mikael Jasin as head of coffee to oversee their product development, which includes procuring the best quality local coffee beans for the company.
“Mikael has deep knowledge and many years of experience under his belt and is the winner of the Indonesia Barista Championship 2019 & 2020.
“He joined the World Barista Championship Boston 2019 and was placed fourth. Currently, he is the World’s Seventh Best Barista (2021) and we are so proud to have him with us,” said Prananto.
Second, most Malaysian coffee lovers are familiar with our very own “Gula Melaka”, but Indonesians are known for their “Gula Aren” in their coffee. Both types of sugar taste similar as they are made from palm or coconut leaves.
“We sourced our materials, ‘Gula Aren’ from farmers, then we process them ourselves as we don’t use suppliers to do so. Everything is done by our team, that’s how we can maintain the quality of our coffee beans,” Prananto said.
He said their research and development team found their coffee beans’ characteristics are “sweet caramelised, a bit of honey, a bit of sourness from tamarind”.
“And then in terms of the aroma and flavour, it is still strong yet not too much. And lastly, in terms of the body, it is smooth, but at the same time has a bold body too.”
Unique F&B Menu for Malaysians
Interestingly, the Malaysian menu is similar to the Indonesian menu.
“Before we decided to go to Malaysia, we did multiple ‘tests’ on Malaysian customers. We tried to customise the recipe to follow the Malaysian flavours.
“One of the example I can give you is we actually reduced the level of sweetness in our drinks because from the feedback, we realised that the level of sweetness that’s acceptable with Malaysia is less compared to the Indonesians,” Prananto commented. “But then in terms of the menu structure, it’s more or less the same. But we just tweaked the recipe accordingly.”
On top of those “amendments”, Kopi
Kenangan included Teh Tarik into its menu to cater to the Malaysian market.
“Of course. It (localising their menu) is something within our strategy, but we want customers to get familiar with our current products and then, probably next year, we will explore other possibilities.”
Back in May, co-founder and CEO Edward Tirtanata told the media that the firm would open its first store outside Indonesia this year, already hinting that it’s “somewhere nearby”.
Therefore, at the media launch, The Malaysian Reserve asked the co-founders why they chose Malaysia as their first international destination.
Tirtanata said Malaysia was chosen as the company’s first international market expansion due to Malaysians’ love for food, the steady growth in coffee culture, especially the grab-and-go concept, and the many similarities Malaysians share with Indonesians when it comes to taste profile and receptivity to trying new things.
“The F&B sector’s future also appears promising as Malaysia is transforming into a high-income digital economy with a key focus on digitisation, which is in line with our business operations.
“We want to export the phenomenal success of our grab-and-go coffee model in Indonesia to overseas markets, starting with Malaysia. We started Kopi Kenangan with the aim of making quality coffee affordable and accessible for everyone, and we are thrilled to be sharing our Indonesian coffee flavours with Malaysians,” said Tirtanata.
“I think the best answer is what’s not to love about Malaysia. Malaysia is a big country. They love food. The public consumption has been growing year on year. So, of course, both governments have been very facilitating as well, not just to F&B but to tech as well,” Prananto said.
Through understanding and exploring local flavours, as well as a “new retail” online and offline model that focuses on the customer experience, Kopi Kenangan envisions becoming the largest F&B business in South- East Asia. It aims to achieved this through affordable quality products, fast and friendly service, quality control and creative business development.
Since it was co-founded by Tirtanata, Prananto and Cynthia Chaerunnisa in 2017, Kopi Kenangan has quickly become one of Indonesia’s most recognisable brands with over 850 outlets across 64 cities.
The grab-and-go coffee chain offers an app where users can order coffee and opt to pick up their drinks at the store or have their beverages delivered.
Kopi Kenangan initially targeted a gap in the market between high-priced coffee served by international coffee chains and instant coffee sold at many of the country’s roadside kiosks and street stalls.
In 2020, it expanded into the food industry by launching a bread brand called Cerita Roti and in 2021, it launched its Chicken on the Go brand or Chigo and soft-cookie brand Kenangan Manis.
Cerita Roti offers products such as Roti Coklat Klassic, Roti Susu Manis, Roti Martabak, Roti Daging Asap Keju and more, while Chigo offers products such as boneless chicken, fries and wings, with flavours including Mie Goreng Mantap, Louisiana Cajun, Garlic Parmigiano and more.
Kenangan Manis was launched with sea-salt soft-baked cookies. It has since expanded to include flavours such as Mr Hazelnuts, Red Velvet Madness, Berry Funfetti and more.
As it becomes a major player in this new-age economy, Kopi Kenangan believes that sustainability is a key part of doing business and this has to be balanced with considerations for all its stakeholders.
Thus, Kopi Kenangan has partnered like-minded organisations and collaborated with Grab and SUNterra in building their first solar panel outlet in Indonesia to power its coffee-making through renewable energy. This collaboration is part of its transitional movement towards a more environmentally-friendly production using green energy.
- This article first appeared in The Malaysian Reserve weekly print edition