Agent of Change
Suku’s very own Chief of Coffee and Indonesian Barista Champion sits down with us to talk about elevating the Indonesian coffee industry from the ground up.
To say that Mikael Jasin loves coffee would be an understatement. The thirty-year-old competitive barista and entrepreneur has dedicated his entire life to the brew, choosing it over the corporate career paths opened by his master’s degree in Marketing. As I sit down with him in The Suku Bali’s second-floor office, it isn’t difficult to see why he has become a household name among Indonesian coffee connoisseurs.
| “Let’s see… Manchester Press.” Jasin laughs, “Damn, you really did your research! That’s where the story begins.”
The Manchester Press he’s referring to is none other than the one located in Melbourne’s CBD, a fixture of the neighborhood known for serving consistent, high-quality coffee since 2011. When Jasin started working there as a university student at RMIT, however, it was just another newly opened hipster haunt on his daily commute.
“I just wanted to work somewhere I liked,” Jasin reminisced. “Working in coffee is not a traditional job. Most baristas start because they need money to pay through college or they just somehow stumbled upon the job. For most people, it’s not an obvious career choice, and it was the same for me.”
Well-spoken, well-groomed, and coming from a family well-off enough to fund his overseas education, Jasin isn’t your typical career barista. Sitting at The Suku’s second-floor office, he carries an easygoing sensibility that shines through two vibrant sleeves of Americana tattoos and a relaxed smile.
Like the kitchen, which Anthony Bourdain once proclaimed was the “last, glorious meritocracy,” the coffee bar is a place where skills and heart are rewarded irrelevant of degree. When I asked Jasin whether his degrees helped him as a barista, he answered with a resounding no.
“To be honest, my degrees helped me recently when I started So So Good Coffee Company (SSG), but not as a barista. They were more useful as a conversation starter, but aside from that it was just learning on the job.”