Balinese Luwak coffee: it’s the shit

By |2017-05-14T15:46:27+00:00November 7th, 2014|Adventures, Asia, Cycling, Destination, Indonesia|27 Comments

The world's most expensive coffee

I’m not a big coffee drinker. In fact, not at all. But when I got the chance to visit a coffee farm in Bali and learn about the world’s most expensive coffee which is made from… poop, I was strangely intrigued. Visiting a coffee farm was included in a bike tour so I signed up for a day of coffee touring and biking past rice fields, temples and jungle in blazing speed. Or so I thought.

But first things first..

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THE BALI COFFEE FARM

First stop of the day was at one of Bali’s numerous coffee farms. Upon arrival, we were shown through a narrow path surrounded by lush bushes and coffee plants. The guide gave us a speedy introduction to the brewing process and the farm’s various coffee beans and spices. They had everything from cocoa beans, vanilla and cinnamon to different tea types and chilis.

Coffee farm in Bali

Balinese coffee

Balinese coffee

Fresh, organic vanilla

Fresh, organic vanilla

Balinese coffee

Different sorts of coffee beans

Coffee farm in Bali

Cinnamon

Cinnamon

Coffee farm in Bali

Coffee beans

The coffee beans are left out in the sun to dry

Coffee farm

After they’re roasted, the beans are grounded and brewed

After witnessing how the coffee farmers roasted the beans, we were shown to a table area with a magnificent view of lush rice terraces. We were each served a selection of different coffee and herbal teas ranging from coffee ginseng, ginger tea, Bali coffee, lemon-grass tea, cocoa, Rosella tea and coconut coffee. They were all free.

Except for one…..

Balinese Coffee and tea

We were each served 7 kinds of tea and coffee

Herbal ginger tea

Herbal ginger tea

Cat in a box

Cat in a box – he was not on the menu

LUWAK COFFEE: DRINK UP, COFFEE SNOBS!

Although the guide’s introduction to the coffee production was sparse, I did notice one thing he mentioned.

It was animal poop.

Not kidding.

On the guided tour, we were introduced to the Luwak – a furry little cat-like fella that loves to feast on coffee cherries. The luwaks eat the beans, that are left intact all the way through the digestion system, and they poop out what people refer to as a deliciously tasty bean.

So, on the coffee farms, they roast the beans, ground them into powder and boil them in water and voila! Supposedly the world’s best cup of coffee. It’s called Kopi Luwak.

Luwak

Meet the luwak

Coffee farm in Bali

Luwak coffee

A coffee farmer roasting the luwak beans

Luwak

The price is 50,000 INR for a cup of luwak coffee

If you’re in Bali, I dare you to give Kopi Luwak a try and tell me what you think. Without vomiting!

BALI BIKE TOUR: DRIVING MISS DAISY

After enjoying breakfast with a gorgeous view, we were shown outside where the mountain bikes were parked. Feeling naturally immortal, I was planning to have a mean ride down the steep mountain, speeding all the way of course.

Volcano

Breakfast with a volcano view

The guide got in front and ordered the group to follow him so I got in line. I put on my helmet. Adjusted my bad-ass shades and got on my bike. Building speed rather quickly, I was soon in front of the group right behind the guide who seemed to confuse the breaks for the pedal.

Let’s go, let’s go, let’s go!

At first I didn’t want to outpace him. He was the guide after all and maybe he wanted us to turn at one point, but with his 10km/hr he was ruining the fun and people (aherm) got impatient. After 10 minutes of driving like a grandma, everyone in the group blazed right past him.

Bike tour in Bali

Bike tour in Bali

Bike tour in Bali

CUTE BALINESE KIDS & WATER TEMPLES

On our way down the mountain, we stopped in a small village to see a traditional home and meet a Balinese family. The guide explained that the home consists of a house temple and 4-5 houses where everyone (mom, dad, kids, grandparents, uncles, aunts, their kids) lives. The houses are well-kept and they usually have a high wall surrounding them.

Aren’t these cuties adorable?

Bike tour in Bali

Bike tour in Bali

A woodcarver

A wood-carver. This is a well-known trade in Bali

Bike tour in Bali

Bike tour in Bali

Last visit of the day before getting to the rice paddies was a water temple. Locals believe that the water has a healing power so they go there to cleanse themselves of their sins before entering the temples.

Bike tour in Bali

Bike tour in Bali

We were each given a temple scarf (selendang) before entering

We were each provided with a temple scarf (selendang) before entering

The water temple

The water temple

Bike tour in Bali

THE BEST PART 

Apart from the Luwak coffee and racing, this was the part I’d been waiting for all day: to bike around the rice fields taking in the fabulous view. Everywhere I looked, there were locals in the fields or on the paths, busy harvesting. I don’t know what it is about rice fields that makes them so serene and relaxing, but they have a tremendously calming effect on me. You know, like mountains and the ocean can make some people feel at peace, enlightened and inspired? That’s what rice fields do to me.

Bike tour in Bali

Bike tour in Bali

Bike tour in Bali

Bike tour in Bali

Bike tour in Bali

Bike tour in Bali

Bike tour in Bali

Kites are seen everywhere in Bali

Kites are seen everywhere in Bali

Now, be honest. Would you ever try Luwak poop coffee?

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The world's most expensive coffee comes from luwak poop. Would you try it?

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27 Comments

  1. KarlijnTravels November 7, 2014 at 11:46 am - Reply

    I would definitely try that coffee! It looks like a brilliant day trip and I love the photos!

    • Miriam November 7, 2014 at 11:51 am - Reply

      That’s my kind of adventurer! You’re way more cool than me, Karlijn, haha.

  2. Charlie November 8, 2014 at 12:38 am - Reply

    Yep, I would definitely try poop coffee haha. I’m a total coffee addict so if it’s the best coffee in the world, I’ll give it a go! These photos are beautiful too 🙂

    • Miriam November 8, 2014 at 1:20 am - Reply

      Thanks so much, Charlie! I admire your courage 🙂

  3. Agness November 9, 2014 at 8:10 pm - Reply

    Balinese coffee is amazing!! <3 I tried it and I fell in love!

    • Miriam November 9, 2014 at 10:17 pm - Reply

      I probably would have, too, if I liked coffee 😉

  4. Amy November 10, 2014 at 5:05 am - Reply

    I went on a very similar bike tour in Bali and loved it! I’m not a coffee drinker either but enjoyed the samples I tried, my favourite was the creamy pandanus tea, which tasted like caramel, did you try that? Our only concern was the captive Luwaks – even though our guide told us they were only kept in cages for three months at a time and then released back into the wild, I wasn’t sure whether this was true or not and for that reason I probably wouldn’t try the Luwak coffee. Did your guide mention anything about this issue? I had the same worries when we took a tour in Dalat in Vietnam and were shown weasels used to make weasel coffee; they were kept in far worse conditions than the Luwaks, crammed into tiny cages, it was horrible to see.

    • Miriam November 11, 2014 at 10:20 am - Reply

      Amy, I agree with you! I visited two coffee farms and they treated the luwaks differently – at one of them, the luwaks were trapped in small cages and at the other they had a much larger cage with trees and space to move around. I did not appreciate the first place I visited, but the guide explained that they were not trapped all day. I’m not sure I believe him, though. Unfortunately, animals are often mistreated throughout Southeast Asia. It breaks my heart every time I see it.

  5. Silvia November 10, 2014 at 7:31 am - Reply

    I have zero appreciation for nice coffee, but that bike ride looks totally up my alley! And how adorable are those kids?

    • Miriam November 11, 2014 at 10:12 am - Reply

      Me neither, I’m more of a tea girl. The bike trip was awesome indeed – would do it again in a heartbeat!

  6. Beau November 12, 2014 at 5:01 am - Reply

    I love Indonesian coffee, especially Luwak coffee, the best stuff comes from the forests where it is literally picked up from the ground, incredibly expensive though!

    • Miriam November 14, 2014 at 10:04 am - Reply

      I didn’t know that, Beau, but somehow I’d feel more comfortable if it came from wild luwaks.

  7. Martina Donkers November 20, 2014 at 10:20 pm - Reply

    Hey Miriam

    The Luwaks are so cute!! I’ve never seen one before, but they’re adorable!!

    Not sure if I’d try the coffee or not… I think maybe it depends on how it’s prepared? A good espresso should be at 95 degree C which would kill anything nasty, but if it’s just steeped it might not be hot enough to kill nasties… though I suppose it’s already been roasted…

    I’d be curious!! But I don’t know if I’d do it or not!! The point about the Luwaks being in tiny cages in a persuasive one though. Poor little things…

    Martina 🙂

    • Miriam November 21, 2014 at 5:38 pm - Reply

      Hi Martina, I thinks it’s safe to drink the coffee so it’s just the thought of it that we need to be okay with 😉

  8. Danni @Leftnleavin December 23, 2014 at 12:27 am - Reply

    I am a complete coffee psycho. I would have gobbled up that poop in a second but like many others have mentioned perhaps I wouldn’t because of the treatment of the animals. I wonder if it is hypocritical to feel this way but still eat all sorts of meats…hmm…I don’t know.
    We are actually trying to decide if we want to swim with whale sharks in the Philippines. I’ve heard that it is bad for their environment but others says it’s fine…I haven’t decided yet.
    Have you ever been to Flores Island? From the looks of it, you would love it.

    • Miriam December 29, 2014 at 1:19 am - Reply

      I think the difference is that you see the mistreatment here. In Denmark some egg producers are really inhumane and there’s focus on it in the media which has resulted in people boycotting these egg sorts – myself included. However, if people hadn’t been confronted with it I’m not sure they would care as much. The visual has a strong impact!
      Regarding the whale sharks – I went swimming with them in Mexico and I’d do it again. As long as you don’t touch them, you’re not harming them. At least that’s my opinion.

  9. Atika October 25, 2015 at 1:26 pm - Reply

    Im not a coffee person as well! But when I went to the coffee farm in Ubud, i loved trying all the different types of coffee.

    • Miriam October 26, 2015 at 11:49 am - Reply

      They’re good, right? I think I liked them because they actually didn’t taste of coffe – especially the coffee ginseng, which was my favorite.

  10. Stacey July 12, 2016 at 8:10 pm - Reply

    Hey there! this trip looks awesome, do you have a link or an idea of where to book this tour? I am trying to get a good sense of our plans for vacation and this looks like a must do!

    • Miriam July 12, 2016 at 9:37 pm - Reply

      Hi Stacey.
      No sorry, I booked the tour through my hotel. There are lots of tours like this one though. You can easily find a similar one when you get there.

  11. vera March 20, 2017 at 6:44 am - Reply

    Hi Miriam,
    I would like to go to that farm as I want to see coffee, tea, cacao, cinnamon and vanilla. This sounds like a good place to go to. Can you give me the name of the farm and/or the address? I will be in Bali in two weeks or so.
    Thank you!

    • Miriam March 20, 2017 at 1:59 pm - Reply

      Hi Vera,
      I don’t know the name of this particular coffee farm as I went there on a mountain biking day trip. There are lots of these coffee farms around Bali so you’ll have no problem finding a similar one.

      Have a great time in. Bali is amazing!

  12. ali April 22, 2017 at 10:22 am - Reply

    Nice blog thanks for sharing

  13. Deanna May 29, 2017 at 7:09 am - Reply

    Oh, I wish I could try that coffee! As to kites – we have been to Bali and visited a kite festival – it was amazing! Too bad we forgot about that famous Luwak poop coffee… How much does it cost, by the way?

    • Miriam May 31, 2017 at 12:34 pm - Reply

      Yeah, it’s a unique cup of coffee that’s for sure 🙂 I don’t know what it costs, but I do know that it’s the most expensive coffee in the world.

  14. Aleks November 19, 2017 at 9:38 pm - Reply

    Just a heads up, these animals are treated very poorly and the coffee you get from these is not what its supposed to be like. Real Luwak coffee comes from wild animals, not caged, and they pick the ripest coffee fruit. Read the article below please

    https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/wordofmouth/2013/sep/13/civet-coffee-cut-the-crap

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