Pison Coffee: Supposed “coffee kings” of Seminyak
I arrived at Pison at the worst time possible. It was 8 pm on a high-season Saturday and the place was completely full. I had to wait 10 minutes for a half-decent outdoor spot (I had to twist and duck down a bit every time somebody opened the door), and I was considered lucky as some had to wait 30 minutes just for an outdoor stool.
A peak on the interior revealed a dungeon-style design with vintage vibes, composing of exposed bricks, dark wooden tables and stools, and hanging tungsten bulbs. In the center, there was a staircase that lead to a second floor. I was sat on a tiny outdoor area, which was well-decorated all the same, a barrier separating us from the parking area designed to look like prison bars, with the functional chains and ropes incidentally looking like additional decor. Inside, a jazz-pop band was chiming out song covers, creating a lively ambience.
The coffee: Piccolo (IDR 38k)
Their house blend was kept secret from curious enthusiasts, but I discovered that they were roasted by Jakarta-based Giyanti coffee and was 100% arabica. The piccolo was based of the traditional single ris and served in a 6 oz demitasse. The first thing I noticed was just how dark the drink looked. The initial sip revealed an empowering sense of bitterness, followed by rich dark chocolate overtones and medium acidity. With time, the bitterness died down, the sweetness developed, and the acidity became more apparent — it became more mellow and balanced with slight cooling. To me, it was a fantastic cup — a very rollercoaster-y kind of cup.
Having come at rush-hour period, I observed how the staff performed under pressure. Some were notably overwhelmed by the task of asking newcomers if they made prior reservations, ushering them to their tables, keeping track of the waiting list, and sometimes appearing somewhat rude to the customers — I especially discerned a bias towards international tourists, whom the staff appeared more friendly to. As much human as they are to me, I strongly believe that professionals in the industry should not carry out their duty in such a fashion.
Something else that I might classify as frivolous, this was the first time in my experience as a reviewer that a café rejected my request for a glass of warm water from the espresso machine — and insisted I buy their bottled water. I get that businesses are naturally built to maximize profit, but I thought this was an impertinent move. To put it into perspective, all high-traffic coffee shops with an espresso machine have their own water purifying system that transforms tap water into pure, drinkable water, mostly for brewing purposes, at a cost of almost 0, if we’re talking about one glass of water. Ironically, I found that small trivialities as such are very annoying, grossly downgrading their service.
A kind note for the management of Pison, I hope that this would be resolved in the future.
Without a doubt, the coffee at Pison is exceptional — gorgeous cupping, vibrant vibes, and an overall thrill to drink. The place is also well designed and decorated, creating a unique, one-of-a-kind ambience. But drinks and atmosphere aside, the management and service team are lacking manners and principles that I think demoted the whole customer experience in the café.