Want to know all about what Bali has to offer when it comes to coffee? Bali is an iconic tourist destination because of its beautiful beaches, island living, and scenic rice terraces. The island of the gods is an incredible piece of paradise, but it also has a thriving coffee culture with tons of specialty cafes with excellent quality coffee. If you are lucky enough to be in Bali, take the time to visit the best coffee shops in Ubud. Check out our guide for more information!
What is Bali Coffee?
Bali offers a wide variety of coffee. From flavorful single-origin blends to the famous Kopi Luwak. You can find fantastic cafes in and around many popular destinations like Uluwatu, Canggu, and Kuta. But don't stop your coffee journey in tourist areas. Traveling inland from Denpasar through Ubud, Kintamani, to Amed, you'll discover a range of unique cafes and coffee plantations all over the island.
What is the Coffee Culture like in Bali?
Bali's coffee culture is brewing with excitement and opportunity. Since Bali's official reopening since the pandemic, there's a new cafe opening up almost every day. This is especially true in areas like Uluwatu, which are growing in popularity. As a result, you'll find that a quality café isn't too far away throughout the island. Most cafes roast their own beans and have various methods of brewing coffee, such as using an espresso machine, pour-over, Aeropress, Chemex, and a Siphon.
Bali's rich volcanic earth, tropical climate, and high altitude make it the perfect place for producing world-class coffee. Having magnificent coffee plantations, expert roasting experience, and professional baristas has made Bali a stand-out destination for coffee enthusiasts worldwide.
Over and above having specialty cafes, Bali also has various methods of sourcing and making coffee. For example, Bali is known worldwide for its exclusive and expensive Kopi Luwak. Kopi Luwak is a coffee bean ingested and digested by a Civet. All over Bali, you will find small cafes that take you on tour, show you how traditional Luwak Coffee is made, and provide you with a platter of tasters to give you a whole Balinese coffee experience. Here's a short list of different types of coffee in Bali:
How Did Coffee Come to Bali?
Many believe that the Dutch brought coffee to Bali as they did so for most parts of Indonesia. This, however, is a common misconception.
The Dutch undoubtedly contributed to bringing coffee into Bali, but traders from Lombok also introduced coffee to Bali in the early 20th century. Drawn by the rich volcanic soil and humid climate in Kintamani near Mt. Batur, they saw great potential for coffee plantations. This led to Kintamani being one of the biggest and fastest-growing regions for coffee plantations in Bali.
Coffee Plantations in Bali
Bali has a few great coffee plantations that produce world-class coffee. Let's take a look at some plantations you can visit in Bali.
Bali Pulina is a Kopi Luwak Plantation that provides an authentic Balinese coffee-tasting experience. Here you can view the civets and demonstrate how the coffee is made. They are also ideally located with a view of the forest and rice terraces.
Segara Windhu Coffee Plantation
Segara Windhu is a plantation found in the region of Kintamani. Here you can learn about robusta, Arabica, and Luwak coffee. As a part of the tour, your guide will also teach you how to brew the perfect cup of coffee with different beans.
Teba Sari Bali Agrotourism
This plantation is located in the cultural and creative hub of Bali, Ubud. At Teba Sari Bali Agrotourism you can experience excellent Luwak coffee with traditional Balinese snacks to compliment your coffee while you enjoy their beautiful gardens.
What Roasts Are in Bali?
Arabica & Robusta
The most prominent bean in Bali is the Arabica bean or robusta bean. Most of these crops are found in the Kintamani region surrounding Mt.Batur. What better place to grow beans than in the rich volcanic soils of one of Bali's dormant volcanoes? The Arabica beans have a relatively sweet and soft taste. With twice the amount of sugar and 60% lipids, the Arabica bean is less bitter and has a cleaner texture than most coffees.
Robusta is definitely a more intense bean with a full-bodied and robust flavor. It has a distinctive nutty aftertaste and contains about 83% more caffeine than Arabica. The Robusta blend is perfect for those who prefer a stronger cup of coffee.
Kopi Luwak is a specialty coffee made in Bali and other areas of Indonesia. Its fame is accredited to how it is made, and it's among one of the most expensive coffees in the world. Also known as Civet Coffee, Kopi Luwak is sourced from the dung of the civet. A civet is a small cat-like animal that eats the fruit from the coffee plant and excretes the bean.
The civet's stomach digests and ferments the coffee cherries because of its digestive enzymes. The process removes the chaff and flesh while fermenting the leftover bean. Once the civet excretes the beans, we move on to the following steps: cleaning, roasting, and packaging.
How is Luwak Coffee made?
The Balinese use an ancient and traditional method of roasting Luwak coffee. Let's look at the process of how Luwak Coffee is made;
Collect The Coffee Beans
The collectors will gather the dung from the civet and then clean the coffee beans.
Clean the Coffee Beans
To clean the beans, they use hot water and let them air dry for approximately one week. Once the beans are clean, the top layer of the bean is peeled off. Now the bean is ready for roasting.
Roasting the Coffee Beans
The roasting process takes around 45 minutes to one hour, depending on whether you want a medium or dark roast. Luwak coffee is generally roasted in a pan or pot placed over a fire, similar to a drum roaster. A person stirs the coffee beans while they cook.
Roasting the Luwak bean requires the person with this task to rely on their sight and hearing. As you cook the bean, it gets darker in color. This is a simple tell to know when it's ready. Roasters also listen for two popping sounds from the beans when they release water and oxygen. They then hand-grind the coffee and package it.
Making A Cup of Luwak Coffee
Making a cup of Luwak coffee is relatively simple. First, take around 14 grams of Luwak coffee and place it in a cup. Next, fill it with hot water, stir, and wait for the coffee to settle before you drink it. Unlike using a french press or your usual filter coffee, there will be many granules. Therefore, when you get the coffee close to the top of the cup, try to avoid sipping a large number of coffee granules.
Why Is Kopi Luwak so Valuable?
How Kopi Luwak is made and its unique origins are among the most significant factors that make it so expensive. As you can imagine from what we've learned from the process of sourcing the Luwak Coffee beans, the intriguing and traditional method of making Kopi Luwak is time-consuming and specific. As a result, Kopi Luwak beans can cost anywhere between $100 and $600 per pound.
Where to try Luwak Coffee in Bali.
You can find Luwak Coffee all over Bali. In Uluwatu, there are three small plantations that you can visit, all within a few minutes of each other. The friendly staff will take you on a guided tour of the plantation, give detailed explanations of what coffee beans they grow, and demonstrate the process of roasting the coffee.
For around RP 50 000 ( $3.20 ), you can taste all of their different roasts and some specialty teas. I loved Coffee Luwak Bukit Sari and was impressed with the service and attention during the tour.
If you want to experience a more extensive Luwak plantation, go to Segara Windhu Coffee Plantation in Kintamani.
Bali is the go-to place for the coffee enthusiast! With an extensive and enthusiastic coffee culture and the added benefit of experiencing traditionally made Kopi Luwak, you can't go wrong with coffee in Bali. Trying the different cafes and coffees in Bali should be on every avid coffee drinker's bucket list. If you are lucky enough to be in Bali, take the time to visit the best coffee shops in Ubud. Check out our guide for more information!