Are you a coffee lover and happen to be in Bali? You can certainly enjoy your cups of coffee and buy coffee products from fancy coffee shops such as ‘Starbucks’ or 'The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf’ that are available in Kuta and Denpasar. However, there is a plantation named Bali Pulina in Ubud area which you should go! Not only you will get a chance of tasting its unique coffee blends, but you can also get the chance to taste and witness the making process of the world’s most expensive coffee, Luwak!
Fun and educational plantation tour
If you are a coffee lover, you might have heard of or even tried luwak coffee. Luwak is an Indonesian term for a type of cat named civet (it’s also called civet coffee, but the term luwak coffee is more widely used). Ever wondered why is it named as such? Civets like to eat coffee beans, but the beans the civets eat are not well digested inside the animal’s stomach, hence farmers can collect beans out of its stool. Because the beans has been staying in its digestive system for a while, the beans become fermented, making it taste less bitter with more intense coffee aroma after being processed.
Upon your arrival, a knowledgeable guide will take you to see several different plants. Most are coffee trees, where fruits are hard, but small, red and round like cherries. Surprisingly, they also have tea plantation and plants of spices used for coffee or tea blends such as vanilla, chocolate, cinnamon and ginger. It is a fun and educational tour. You may have had all of those in the form of powder, tea bags or even ice cream. Nevertheless, not many of you have seen a cocoa tree or vanilla plant, right? During the tour, the guide will get some cocoa buds and crack them so that all of you can eat it .
Get up close with civets
After the plantation tour comes the highlight of Bali Pulina: the civets. You will come up close and personal with many healthy civets in cages and have the chance to feed them some coffee beans. Civet looks like a typical cat, but with longer tail and pointed mouth (some people also say its body looks like cat and its head is like a mouse).You may wonder if these cat-like creatures also eat other foods other than coffee beans. The answer is yes, they do. In the cages, they are also given fruits like melon, papaya, carrot and banana and like in the wild, coffee beans are just a small part of their daily diet, apart from fruits and small animals like rodents and insects (they can be carnivorous). So, be careful when feeding it or it will hurt your finger.
The coffee-making process
Farmers would collect the undigested but fermented coffee beans from their stool, wash them with water, dry them under the sun, roast them in a frying pan over burning firewood, put the roasted beans in a traditional kitchen mortar and grind them by crushing the beans with a long wooden cane. You may wonder if the coffee is hygienic. You can rest assured. The roasting process involves high temperature, which ensures the elimination of any bacteria.
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Taste different blends of coffee and tea
Next, the guide will bring you to a gazebo type building, where the surrounding view is gorgeous. You can see paddy field terraces with all kinds of different trees and the view of Mount Batur. The staffs will prepare 8 small cups of different coffee and tea blends for you to try. Here you will find coffee blends you won’t find in Starbucks, such as ginseng coffee and ginger coffee. Luwak coffee is also available for an additional 3.50 USD a cup (it’s 7.50 USD for coffee tasting, but you pay extra for the luwak coffee). Which one is the best? Different people may have different opinions. I am not a big fan of ginger, but to me, the ginger coffee is the perfect blend. The ginger reduces the coffee sourness and makes it taste slightly spicy. What about luwak coffee? This coffee is very aromatic yet tastes very smooth. If you don’t like strong coffee, this is the coffee for you, if you don’t mind the price, of course.
Buy Bali Pulina products
If you like the coffee or tea blends, or if you want to give souvenirs for your loved ones back in your country, you may buy some Bali Pulina products in the gift store. Everything you have tasted (e.g. ginger coffee, lemon tea etc.) is available starting from 14 USD for lemon tea powder to 50 USD for luwak coffee.
Why is luwak coffee expensive?
You might wonder why luwak coffee is so expensive. Well, you may easily guess that it is the unusual fermentation process in the civet’s stomach that can be the cause. Yes, it is true. However, that’s not all of it. Luwak coffee is naturally selected from the best coffee beans. When you give the civet a handful of coffee beans, it is not going to eat all of them. Instead, it chooses only the riper beans to be eaten. There are many coffee shops in Bali or elsewhere that reputedly sell luwak coffee. Nevertheless, if you are not a regular coffee drinker, you will not know if it is real or fake. So, unless you are a coffee lover who has tasted different coffees, come here for the real luwak coffee!
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