Frame Coffeehouse

Every time (yes, EVERY TIME) I’m writing (or talking) about a coffee shop, I always refer back, if not comparing, to my favorite coffee shop in Salatiga called Frame Coffeehouse. And at the same time, I keep reminding myself to write a tribute to that coffee shop someday soon, if I’m so fond of them.

I know it’s not fair, and I know that each coffee shop has their own unique concept, and I do adore each one of them, but I regret to admit that, so far, Frame is still my favorite coffee shop.

It is the place where I used to go to find solitude.

It is where I used to spend hours and hours writing my undergraduate thesis–undisturbed. (I think I put them in my ‘Acknowledgement’…)

It is where I could feel eager to come and know for sure that I’d be welcomed there with hospitality.

Sometimes I wonder, though, whether I’m getting biased in this, for I’ve known the owner and one of the former barista before I knew the coffee shop itself.

Wait, I don’t wanna give you the idea that they and I are close or BFF or something like that. The owner is my senior in college, while the former barista and I studied in the same faculty, and to call them my BFF or something like that is not right, I guess. But I can say that we’re on a good term.

I know for sure that whenever I go to Frame, mas Widhi, the owner, would greet me nicely. (FYI, “mas” is the formal way in Indonesia to address an older guy–whether they’re relatives or strangers.)

I think that would be one point for the hospitality. The last time I went there, most of the waiters and baristas have been replaced, but they’re really nice, either to me or other customers.

When we entered the coffee shop, you would see plenty of seats and coffee tables. My favorite spot is at the corner near the bar, where they put red comfy sofas (and somehow I like to imagine the sofa similar to the ones I used to see in the TV series Friends).

And just like the name, “Frame”, they have a small table near the pond (yes, they have a pond, too! Nice decoration, isn’t it?) full of frames with photos in it–photos of their customers, of friends and even their own waiters and baristas–as well as plenty of frames on the wall. Oh, and one digital frame in the room where the baristas brew the coffee.

The seats arrangement. At the bottom left corner is the pond.

If you wanna order your drinks, you should go into this small room where the baristas usually brew our drinks, and they always greet you enthusiastically before they asked for your order. On the wall, they put this blackboard where they wrote the menus down beautifully, but eligible as well to be read. Now, this is probably one of the best part.

If there’s one thing that I cannot find yet in any other coffee shops I’ve been to, including Starbucks, Coffee Toffee, Excelso, and other local coffee shops I’ve reviewed here, is the wide choice of coffee that you could have in your coffee. Most of other coffee shops offers blended coffee, hot coffee, black coffee, or frappuccino, but most of the time, they use Robusta or Arabica coffee to brew this. And when you want to have something unique like Javanese coffee, or Balinese coffee, you could only have your coffee black. Not fun.

One thing that makes Frame unique and special to me is that, I could still have a Jamaican coffee, or coffee latte made from Sidikalang coffee beans, coffee beans from the Northern part of Aceh, Indonesia (read about Sumatran coffee here). One thing that they would always ask you after your decide your choice of coffee is, “Which coffee bean do you wanna have for your coffee?” They have varieties of Indonesian coffee beans, like Balinese coffee bean, Mandailing coffee bean, Javanese coffee bean, Blue Lintong, and some many other. And they still have Arabica and Robusta coffee, imagine that.

Oh, they grind their coffee, btw, unlike most other coffee shops which rely heavily on coffee machines to brew their coffees. Cool, isn’t it?

One of the hospitality they provide is when a non coffee-addict comes to the place and confused of which coffee beans he/she’d want for his/her coffee, they always offer you with plenty of suggestions. “Do you want it strong?” And they always ready to explain to you how each coffee bean would make your coffee different.

Really, I love that place.

They also have teas and chocolates, though. They use Dilmah tea, and most of the times I visit there, I never forget to order a cup of Hazelnut tea–probably one of my favorite tea, other than black tea. They have a variety of menu for the teas and coffees as well, and again, they are always glad to explain what is a Milkconut, or Breakchox (these two are categorized in the Chocolate menu), as well as offer you plenty of suggestions for your drinks. I sometimes come to them and simply say, “I want a cup of hot chocolate. But I want it sweet and not too thick.”

And–I hope they don’t mind me writing this–sometimes, I would choose which glass or cup that I want to use for my drinks, as long as the place is not too crowded yet, or they are not too busy.

One last, but not the least, thing that I love from this coffee shop is that it’s a great place to hang out with your friends. They provide magazines for you to read, although the choices may not vary too much–don’t forget that it’s not a library–and they have some games for you to play, such as card games (they have Uno cards!) and monopoly. All you need to do is ask. But when it’s crowded, you might have to wait for the cards. My friends and I usually prefer to bring our own cards. We once played Othello there.

Oh, have I told you that they have a wi-fi connection and an LCD TV as well?

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P.S. The last time I visit Frame Coffee Shop, which is about a week ago, I asked mas Widhi for photos of Frame, and he gave the photos to me right away. I told him already that I plan to write about Frame in my blog, but it took me so long to actually–and finally write it. I guess I was just confused about how I’m going to write about it. And I kinda scared that what I write would not precisely express how much I favor this place. I hope this suffice, though ;)


One of my holiday plans is to visit Salatiga, a small but comfy city where I spent more than four years in order to get my bachelor of education in English. And visiting coffee shops there is also included. A must-visit one is definitely my beloved and all-time favorite coffee shop, Frame Coffeehouse. Then my cousin took me for a super-late night trip to a new place called Kafeole, only to find out that they’re closing up, so we ended up in the middle of nowhere, drinking milk instead, since there were nothing left for us but milk.

But after a brief glance at the surroundings at Kafeole, I decided I ought to pay the place another visit.

So the next day, I contacted Ikka, one of my girl friends, and asked her to have lunch with me at Kafeole.

Ikka, just like me, is someone who loves to spend some quality time with good food, good coffee, and good mood, supported with nice view and surroundings.

Our first impression of Kafeole is that the place definitely got a nice view.

The place is apparently consisted of two, if not three, small houses, located next to each other, although not right next to one another. One is for the coffee shop, one for the kitchen and another one is for the indoor seats as well as the cashier. I don’t know whether you could just pay from the coffee shop or ask the bill to the waiter/waitress instead, but Ikka and I was paying directly to the cashier as we strolled down together, exploring the place and taking some pictures.

Indoor-Seat Restaurant (I don't know what to call this precisely. I did thought that it looks a bit gloomy.)
The Kitchen.

Other than those three small houses, the rest of the place are gardens–nah, actually they’re trees and plants arranged beautifully around the place, with cages and bells, lanterns without candles here and there. Really, it’s beautiful.

A cage without a bird (or mouse?) to fill it. Something's wrong.

So we decided to enjoy the view by choosing outdoor seats which are arranged in small bungalows. One bungalow consists of a table with 4 chairs. Pretty. Unless rain poured down and ruined everything. I’m not really a fan of rain, really.

Then we ordered Rempelo Ati (chicken’s liver which is fried), Ca Kangkung Udang (I really don’t know how to explain this in English other than vegetable with shrimps. I suggest you google it), and for drinks, I ordered Hazelnut Coffee and Ikka ordered a Cappuccino.

Let’s assume that the highest score for everything is 10. We agreed that the place deserved at least a 9, if not a 10. We found out that we could actually booked the place for a meeting, or any kinds of events. Well, with such view, who wouldn’t want to book that place? Overall, it’s fancy.

Really, even the menu itself looks fancy.

The Menu.

Yes, at least a 9, so we thought.

Until we tasted the food.

Okay, before I got too negative, let me tell you this: the food is tasty. Really. It’s far from awful. We definitely enjoy our food.

And Ikka and I decided we would give them a… 7, average. That applies for the package of the food as well.

I told you, they’re not bad.

So why not an 8, or a 9 instead?

Now, I already told you that the food is delicious. It’s just that… for such a place so fancy, with fancy menu as well–sakes, their menu varies from Indonesian food, Chinese food, to Western food. I’m gonna keep it short for you: we had a high expectation on the taste just by looking at the place and the menu. We expected to be wow-ed.

But it was okay.

Okay. Not wow.

Were it a traditional simple restaurant, we’d probably give it a 7.

I know taste doesn’t have anything to do with the view, but I always thought that’s the art of owning and running a restaurant and a cafe. You are challenged and demanded to mix and match your taste and style of… everything.




Which creates the mood.

Then the food, which is actually the main essence of a restaurant/cafe.

Good food, ugly environment?

Some people can still deal with it, really, though I doubt I can.

But nice place, awful food?

Can you expect people to simply come there and bring their own food just because they wanna be in the place and enjoy the view?

Well, let’s hope the owner doesn’t have a bodyguard who’s ready to throw you out.

But it was okay so far.

So Ikka and I agreed on 7.

Then we drank our coffees.

“A four,” Ikka said.

“Three,” I said.

At least we agreed that we cannot taste anything in our coffee but milk. And we thought we ordered coffee. But we barely taste the coffee.

Another thing is that we expected our coffee to be smooth. They weren’t. Our coffee tasted like the coffee weren’t blended successfully.

Okay. Strike two.

Point is, the coffee sucks.

Strike three.

“So, dya wanna go and check out the coffee shop?” I asked Ikka.

There was a brief silence before she finally answered, “I don’t think so. The coffee kinda ruined my mood already.”

“Same here.”

So we tried to regain our mood by exploring the place instead and taking pictures.

Sorry Kafeole, but I think you have a great potential that you ought to dig deeper. Unless you noticed that, I don’t think I’ll return.


Still related to my two previous posts earlier about coffee shops here in Malang (click here and here to read the posts),  I have to say that so far, none of them satisfy me. The good one is hostile (or at least I think they should have behave better towards their customers), while others got great service–too bad their coffee is not really as good as their service. The rest got both good coffee as well as service, but their price aren’t so friendly, which always makes me think twice everytime I wanna hang out for a cup or two coffees.

So, long story made short, I’m dying for a good coffee (as well as a good coffeeshop) here. I want a nice place, a nice treatment from people in the coffeeshop, as well as a good coffee as well.

You might argue with me that I can’t even differentiate which coffee is made by machine and which is grilled manually by hand.

I know I sucks in that.

But hell, I want a good coffee in a way that I wanna be able to enjoy my coffee other than the instant one that I consume every day at work/home on weekdays!

So finally, my friend Ashley, told me a couple days a go that she’d found a nice coffee shop which she thought is very homely, and they have good music, as well as good coffee and tea, with affordable price.

Sounds too good to be true, huh?

But then I decided to give it a try.

Decided that I dead bored in my house/office and got nothing planned on Sunday, I walked out of the house at about 4.30 PM, determined to visit this coffee shop. I walked, of course, decided that I would like to spend some time walking to the coffee shop rather than wasting two thousand rupiahs on public transportation. Yeah, yeah, I’m a cheapo, so what? Walking’s healthy anyway. Besides, I still haven’t figured out what angkota/bemo (that’s what we call the public transportation here) would take me to this coffee shop.

The name is Legipait.

Had I not noticed the massive number of benches and tables outside the coffee shop, as well as the black board on the wall which says “We’re opened from 5 PM – 2 AM,” I’d probably lost and walked past the coffee shop, for it looks like an ordinary house from the outside.

So I checked my watch, and after I made sure that it was 5 o’  clock already, I stepped in. I did asked the first woman I saw in the coffee shop, of course, merely to confirm that it has opened, indeed. It would definitely be awkward if I entered so confidently, only to find out that I’d be thrown out because it was still closed.

Thank God they said that they’d opened already.

I have to tell you the truth, though, the place is smaller than I’d expected.

When Ashley told me first that the place is homely, I still imagined a larger coffeeshop, but with hospitality from the waiter/waitress/barista. I imagined the place to be more similar to my favorite coffee shop back in Salatiga, another small city where I pursued my bachelor degree. The name was Frame Coffee shop, and it’s a very nice place. (I’m wondering why on earth I haven’t write thoroughly about that place yet since I’ve been claiming it’s my favorite coffee shop ever! I’d definitely write about that place, Frame, someday soon.)


But I surely didn’t imagine a coffee shop this small. The word “narrow” and “crowded” came to mind right away when I saw the little space provided from one seat to another. But as I walked in, I noticed a lovely bookshelf with plenty of novels in it. As the lady behind the table next to menu asked whether I’d ordered something, I asked for a pancake and a milk-tea.

Good heavens, they got milk-tea!

I’ve been dying for one.

But another thing that came to my mind made me anxious. With its not-so-grand-building, I began to doubt whether they had wi-fi. I learned, though, that I could always take a novel from the bookshelf if I wanted to read one, so I could always  read instead of surfing the net, in case they didn’t have wi-fi. But I asked them, and the answer surprised me.

“Oh yes, we do have wi-fi connection.”

That, I didn’t expect.

A coffee shop, and a mini-library–if that is the precise term–with wi-fi? Wow. Is this heaven?

So I scanned through the place, taking pictures here and there and noticed how, indeed, homely the place is. I walked around, and after taking some pictures without permission, I began to think that they might thought I’m rude, if not strange, walking around the place and taking pictures here and there. Sakes, I should’ve asked their permission in the first place! So, reluctantly, because I thought it would’ve been the most awkward moment ever, I asked the lady whether she’d allow me to take a picture of the menu to put it in my blog. (God it was indeed, awkward.)

Thank God she didn’t mind a bit.

I’ve been thinking to take a picture of the place from afar, and I regret why I didn’t do so earlier, but I’d definitely come back for a second, if not more, visit and next time, I’ll be sure to take more pictures. It’s a really nice place–nice enough to give me a good first impression, and definitely good enough to make me want to write a post about this place.

So here I am, sitting by the window, writing this post, and enjoying my milk-tea and pancake.

I think I’m gonna order coffee latte.

Outdoor seats

Outdoor Seats


The "mini-library." They sure got nice novels in it. They got Mishima's "Thirst for Love," Ayu Utami's "Bilangan Fu," Mitch Albom's "Five People You Met in Heaven," and many more. Who could expect to find that in a coffee shop? Hahaha.
They also sell notebooks! Why on earth did I spend so much money at Gramedia!?
The Menu
This is the window right next to my seat. Quite a nice decoration, isn't it? On the other side they also put old cameras on it.