8 In Food Envy/ Indonesia/ Travel

Coffee Tasting in Bali

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.


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. IMG_2689

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.




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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  • Reply
    Mani (A New Life Wandering)
    September 8, 2015 at 11:10 pm

    What an awesome experience.

    • Reply
      September 14, 2015 at 12:29 pm

      Thanks, Mani. It really was, and it’s so cool that you get to do it for free!

  • Reply
    Thankful for What Travel Has Given Me - For the Love of Wanderlust
    November 21, 2016 at 5:32 pm

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  • Reply
    November 22, 2016 at 9:05 am

    Luwak I recon is better than regular coffee since it’s good for your stomach and ingestive because it’s less acidic. The taste is almost similar but not quite. I prefer regular Javanese coffee + condense milk. That’s how we drink it.

  • Reply
    Sandy N Vyjay
    August 8, 2017 at 6:58 pm

    Coffee is not only an exhilarating beverage but it is also a fascinating subject.. Recently I had to do an article on the history of Coffee and my research was fascinating. One coffee that always fascinates me is Luwak, not that I have tasted it, Indian coffee, especially in the south has its own flavour and aroma .

  • Reply
    August 31, 2017 at 1:08 pm

    I have never heard of Kopi Luwak and was shocked to hear that it can cost between 35-80 per cup. That is one expensive cup of joe! I would definitely spend the $3.50 to try it. I love places that offer free tours and tastings 🙂

  • Reply
    August 31, 2017 at 2:01 pm

    I cannot believe that it is possible to drink from so many different types of coffees in the same time. This is an experience that I’d definitely enjoy a lot. And those rice paddies surrounding the location create an amazing setting.

  • Reply
    Linda At LDHTravelAtWill
    January 29, 2018 at 7:19 am

    We too went in search of coffee in Bali. We tried Kopi Luwak first when we visited Tanah Lot. The second time we tried it when we visited a plantation in Ubud. We are both kinda coffee snobs but neither of us really thought it was special either. But it did make a funny souvenir. We too loved the views over the rice fields in Ubud!

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