I’ve heard coffee called “java” several times, but it took going to Indonesia to actually make the connection (I’m clearly not a coffee expert). Java is technically coffee from the Indonesian island of, you guessed it, Java. My time in Java was spent only in the airport, but when I was in Bali I jumped at the opportunity to go to a coffee “plantation” and sample coffees and teas… twice! Because even though I’m no expert, I’m definitely a coffee-lover.
⋙ DEWI COFFEE
The first coffee tasting we did was at a place called Dewi Coffee. Here they grow different kinds of coffees, spices and other edible plants and our guide gave us a guided tour pointing out the different plants there.
this is a cocoa plant – chocolate comes from here!
coffee cherries – the beans are inside
The steps of luwak coffee formation
Something people all over the world is the “poo coffee”. Properly known as Kopi Luwak is one of the most expensive cups of coffee that you can have in the entire world, typically selling for between 35-80 USD per cup!
Here are a few things you should know about this Kopi Luwak:
» The coffee is said to be the best because of the berries that the luwaks select. They choose the cherries by smell, so they pick only the ripest berries which means the BEST berries.
» The luwaks digestive systems break down the cherry, but don’t digest the bean inside, which comes out intact. The digestive process is said to lower some of the acidity of the beans, though and give it a smoother flavor.
» The poo doesn’t really touch the beans. They’re still in a shell, so the poo is rinsed and after this, the shell of the beans is pulled off.
» While traditional methods had people searching for luwak poo in the wild, some plantations now have luwaks in cages and force-feed them cherries just to produce as much poo and as many coffee beans as possible. In fact, both of the tasting plantations we visited had one luwak on display, they said so people can see the animals, but that can’t be a very enriched life for these little guys. So be aware if you’re buying a $80 cup of coffee that it was more than likely from a force-fed luwak and that’s not something we like to support. Read more about animal ethics while traveling here.
We also saw how Balinese coffee is traditionally roasted – over a fire and constantly being stirred. I had to have a go at it, of course.
One of the coolest things about a coffee stop is that it’s free to tour and free to taste everything except the luwak coffee (which is about $3.50 to try).
So, for $3.50 we had 8 tea & coffee samples, a snack, our cup of luwak coffee, a relaxing & beautiful view and a tour of the plantation. What a deal, huh?
I was so impressed by this presentation.
Seriously, what a place to have coffee?!
We did purchase a cup of the Kopi Luwak to split. Here’s what we had to say:
» I didn’t taste anything special about this coffee. In fact, it was my least favorite of the multiple coffees that we sampled [all of which we tried black to get the true flavor].
» Stacey said it was good, but nothing fantastic. What’s interesting is the process.
I think that all of the hype & expense is the idea that these beans are acquired in such an unusual & interesting way.
⋙ BALI PULINA
Visiting Bali Pulina was extremely similar to Dewi Coffee. We had essentially the same tour & of course we roasted the beans again (this time with a nifty hat truly marking this as a “tourist photo”). The big difference with this plantation is the view. It was unbelievable. Our tasting area overlooked a series of rice terraces and made for an even more relaxing place to sit and have a cuppa.
Another beautiful, but more natural / rustic presentation
Seriously, this experience was free. It doesn’t get any better than that.
I highly recommend doing at least one coffee tasting in Bali. Both Dewi Coffee & Bali Pulina are places that I would recommend. The coffee was essentially set up the same, the tours were the same but that view at Bali Pulina is pretty hard to beat. These visits are completely free unless you buy a cup of Kopi Luwak or something in the gift shop, and nothing is better for a backpacker’s budget than that.
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