Hubert Burda Media

Coffee Culture: Rio Dewanto

After his role in Filosofi Kopi movie, Rio Dewanto now hosts and produces a docu-series on Indonesian coffee

After starring in Filosofi Kopi movie which was released in 2015, actor Rio Dewanto fell deeply in love with coffee. The movie was based on author Dee Lestari’s short story. It tells the story of two men named Ben (played by Chicco Jerikho) and Jody (Dewanto) who run a
coffee shop called Filosofi Kopi.

As soon as the film wrapped up, Dewanto, along with Jerikho, director Angga Sasongko and producer Handoko Hendroyono, launched the real-life Filosofi Kopi, which previously served as their film-shoot location in the Melawai area of South Jakarta.

“The coffee shop is just like the on-screen version,” says Dewanto. “We have the same ambience and menu, just like the movie. We want the viewer to experience the movie
for themselves. I think that’s what sets us apart than other coffee shops. We have based the business on a movie, and that’s what makes us unique.

“The film introduced me to the best thing that I have grown interested in. Before, I didn’t even know how coffee was made and I
used to drink only instant coffee. But ever since I shot the film, I have met with a lot of coffee aficionados, baristas and people who are in the coffee business. They influenced me to get to know more about good coffee. Indonesia is one of the world’s biggest coffee producers. We have enormous natural resources and we grow a lot of high-quality coffee beans. So, why do we drink so much poor-quality coffee when we can consume the good stuff? This is the other reason why we launched this coffee shop. Because life’s a waste to not experience the best coffee. Right?

“The other thing that makes our coffee shop unique is the fact that we don’t provide Wi-Fi here. Just as in the film, we want our coffee shop to become a place to communicate with each other, not drown ourselves with gadgets.”

Even though there is no Wi-Fi, which is an unusual thing for a coffee shop these days, Filosofi Kopi is one of the busiest cafés in Jakarta. Often, to secure a seat in the shop you must join a long queue. “This shows that people who come to our shop are truly here for our coffee,” says Dewanto.

“For now, we only have two shops. One is in Melawai and the other is in Bintaro. But later this year we will launch our third shop in Yogyakarta, which was used as our shooting location for the Filosofi Kopi movie sequel. The film will also be released later this year,” he says.

What is Dewanto’s role in the coffee shop? “In Filosofi Kopi, I’m in charge of the business development side,” he says. “I spend a lot of my days in here while managing the shop’s operations. I also make coffee for the customers, although I must admit that the coffee made by Chicco is better,” he laughs.

Dewanto’s love for coffee may have begun only been a couple of years now, but besides managing his famous coffee shop he has a lot of projects in the coffee industry. “I was a producer and also a host of documentary serial that tells the story of Indonesian coffee,” he says. “It was aired on Metro TV. For our first season, which consisted of 13 episodes, we explored remote areas in search of the best coffee beans in the country. The show is called Viva Barista. Besides the documentary, I also have launched an online portal named Kopikini.com. I want the website to become a one-stop portal of the coffee world, especially here in Indonesia.

“I believe that Indonesia could go far with its coffee, if we are accustomed to drinking it. Through making the documentary, I saw a silver lining. Every area in Indonesia has its own coffee plantations and they each have their own characteristics. It’s different than Vietnam for example, because I’ve been there on my own and they only grow their coffee in the Da Lat area. I think our diversity in coffee plantations could be a good opportunity for our country if we can utilise it,” he says.

So, what has changed in Dewanto’s life since he grew fond of coffee? “Coffee is like my second wife now, I can’t live without it. I drink about seven cups per day and my life is practically surrounds in coffee activity. It’s like a life-calling. I can’t imagine if I’m not in the Filosofi Kopi movie, maybe I will not be as happy as I am now that I have found my purpose. Probably in the future, I’ll write a book about the story of my Indonesian coffee journey.”

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The full feature has been published in Prestige March 2017, The Food Issue. Click here to purchase.

Outfit: Louis Vuitton

PhotographyZaky Akbar

StylingGabriela Batti

GroomingZearistan