Kopi Kenangan serves up an addictive blend of rapid expansion and profitability

Its recent $109m Series B infusion boosts the Indonesian startup’s confidence for sustainability and regional expansion despite the current Covid-19 slowdown

Would you order a drink called “memories of your ex”? Thousands of Indonesians have. In fact, it's the name of a best-selling iced coffee served by Kopi Kenangan, a local grab-and-go coffee chain. It's a simple brew: iced milk coffee that uses palm sugar instead of cane sugar. The result is refreshing and sweet, with just enough caffeine for an afternoon pick-me-up.

“Memories of your ex” is just one of the many simple, affordable beverages in Kopi Kenangan's menu, all named with tongue-in-cheek references to romance tropes. Yet that's not what makes the coffee chain special, particularly in a market where hundreds of cafes and stalls are serving up the same thing. 

What makes Kopi Kenangan turn heads is how quickly they have expanded – and stayed profitable. Three years after founders Edward Tirtanata and James Prananto opened their first Kopi Kenangan outlet in Jakarta, the business has expanded to more than 300 outlets, just about 100 short of what Starbucks has opened in its 16 years

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