Indonesia's most popular brew is black tea with sugar. If you don't want sugar ask for teh pahit (bitter tea), and if you want milk buy yourself a cow. Various forms of ginger tea are popular, including bandrek (ginger tea with coconut and pepper) and wedang jahe (ginger tea with peanuts and agar cubes slurped from a bowl).


Indonesian coffee, especially from Sulawesi, is of exceptional quality, though most of the best stuff is exported. Warungs serve a chewy concoction called kopi tubruk (ground coffee with sugar and boiling water). Most urban cafes and restaurants offer quality coffee; beans from Sumatra and Bali are especially prized.

Ice & Fruit Drinks

Indonesia's es (ice drinks) are not only refreshing, they are visually stimulating, made with syrups, fruit and jellies. There are plenty of places serving es jus (iced fruit juice) or cordial-spiked kelapa muda (young coconut juice). But beware of ice outside urban areas (ice in cities is made with filtered water).

Alcoholic Drinks

Islam is the predominant religion in Indonesia and restrictions on alcohol sales are increasing. In early 2015 a law was enacted that banned the sale of alcoholic beverages – including beer – in minimarkets and shops across Indonesia. Given that these are the very places most people buy their beer, the law could have severely limited the availability of beer and other drinks across the archipelago. But this being Indonesia, enforcement and compliance was spotty at best. After a few months of grumbling, the law was revised so that towns and regions could decide locally about beer sales as well as wine and some traditional drinks. With the exception of Aceh, parts of West Java, Sumbawa, Papua and some other very conservative areas, you can still buy a beer – although many warungs are dry.

You will see traditional spirits for sale, including tuak (palm-sap wine), arak (rice or palm-sap wine) and Balinese brem (rice wine). Be careful when buying arak. In recent times, there have been cases where it has been adulterated with chemicals that have proved deadly.

Of the domestic breweries, iconic Bintang, a clean, slightly sweet lager, is the preferred choice for many.

Note that rapacious duties are added to imported alcohol sold in stores and restaurants, which means that you will be hard-pressed to find affordable Australian wine or British gin on Bali. That bottle of Bombay Sapphire which is US$25 at duty-free shops before your flight is US$100 on Bali, so buy your allowed 1L. Elsewhere, it can be hard to find wine and spirits outside top-end resorts, though most large towns have a clandestine liquour outlet often stocking Indonesian-made spirits.