In 2014, when the third-wave coffee movement was just beginning in Indonesia, Common Grounds emerged as a pioneer by opening its first outlet in Sudirman Citywalk Mall. Since then, they have opened 12 outlets in Jakarta and several more in Bandung and Surabaya. Through its business model, Common Grounds aims to create shared spaces that can connect people of different ages, religions, races, occupations, and interests to come, find, and build relationships with one another through a shared love of amazing coffee.
The impressive growth of Common Grounds in the past eight years would not have happened without the outstanding management of the company’s three founders. Aston Utan, the CEO of Retail and CMO of Common Grounds, leads with his creative mind and vision to deliver the brand’s distinction, values, and personality through unapologetic execution. His responsibilities range from how the stores are designed, coffee packaging, collaborations, and all the way through the pastry & menu selections.
Daryanto Witarsa, the CEO of Wholesale, steers the company with his extensive experience in coffee sourcing and roasting. Due to this experience he was elected as the Specialty Coffee Association of Indonesia (SCAI) president. His responsibilities at Common Grounds include sources and curating the signature blends and single origin coffee. Yoshua Tanu is the co-founder of Common Grounds and a multiple time champion in the Indonesia Barista championship. During four years of participating in the competition, he won the event three times in 2014, 2016, and 2017 respectively.
The success story of Common Grounds is the result of the founders’ brilliant innovations combined with the team’s hard work. The company always strives to hire the right talent to develop its business. To get fresh ideas and to always get inspired, they travel and attend coffee competitions around the world—during which they talk and engage with coffee professionals from many different backgrounds to share insights and ideas.
“Coffee culture is a very open and modern take on life. It has a combined effect on culture and serves as a magnet to attract like-minded people. Hence, coffee has endless challenges that encourage us to provide something new always,” says Aston.
Holistic Approach to Coffee Industry
During the eight years journey, Common Grounds has evolved not only as the operator of the famed coffee shops but also runs under a new mission to become a holistic coffee company. Common Grounds today is an integrated company; Not only managing a coffee shop chain in three big cities in Indonesia, but it also operates a roastery facility, provides coffee consulting services, an educational training service for farmers, as well as developing a new start-up company called Jago Coffee, a mobile coffee chain that aims to bring coffee closer to customers. “We aim to be recognized globally as one of the best coffee companies. That is why we are now providing various products and services to cater to end-to-end needs,” revealed Aston.
One of the significant steps taken by Common Grounds is building a roastery facility located in Pantai Indah Kapuk, Jakarta. The roastery, which has acquired a certification from the National Agency of Drug and Food Control (BPOM), not only allows Common Grounds to supply coffee beans for its own coffee shops in Jakarta, Bandung, and
Surabaya but it also allows them to create bespoke specialty coffee blends for various cafes, restaurants, and hotels around the country.
Community and Collaboration
Common Grounds is also eager to engage across different communities in Indonesia. Through its new path, it is now not only welcome to coffee enthusiasts but also to be more open to various communities. To accommodate that, Common Grounds has taken unique steps; Common Grounds Zero at ASHTA District 8 welcomes design enthusiasts with its notable design by AlvinT Studio by Alvin Tjitrowirjo. The store also provides big meals and bespoke cocktails to culinary aficionados. The recently opened Common Grounds Pondok Indah Plaza 2 features a retail corner selling collectible sneakers and urban attires by local and international designers. In August, this coffee brand also collaborated with Museum Macan and renowned Indonesian artist Agus Suwage, to release unique cup sleeves decorated with beautiful art by the artist.
“We are open to any events and activations with other brands. This is in line with one of our visions to bring people together and create connections amongst different communities,” stated Aston.
As Common Grounds now caters to a broader audience, the culinary team has also thrived in providing the fresh and innovative menu offerings. Through the creative mind of its Corporate Executive Chef, Common Grounds created a standardized menu that is easy to enjoy and imprints good memories with customers. The menu and food concept is constantly renewed every few months to provide an exciting reason for regular customers to return to Common Grounds continually.
From one coffee shop in Central Jakarta to a holistic coffee company, Common Grounds has proven to evolve into something bigger and better. In the coming years, Common Grounds’ goal is to become a key player in the coffee industry in Indonesia and globally.