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Bali Day 1 Part 1: Tasting Kopi Luwak at Negari Luwak Coffee

This post is part of our Bali 2014 trip.

After our 32 hour flight from Newark to Bali, we were finally on the road to our first resort in Ubud, the Komaneka Bisma. Thank goodness for our air-conditioned ride because the Bali heat and humidity was already getting to me. Our driver was very friendly and told us the trip would take approximately an hour and a half. Argh, another hour of just sitting! Our driver made a suggestion that we could stop at a coffee farm on the way to Ubud, especially since I had just told him I wanted to try some kopi luwak, or the famed “civet coffee.” We agreed since it was on the way and I was eager to walk around a bit. If you don’t know what civet coffee is, it’s basically raw coffee beans that are digested whole by the civet cat, who then “poops” it out (still whole). The enzymes in the stomach of the civet apparently make the coffee less acidic and more flavorful during the digestive process. The beans are then dried and roasted like regular coffee. It also makes it quite an expensive cup of coffee. Read more about it here (wikipedia link).

A thing to note about Bali traffic and driving in Bali…it is horrendous. There are apparently few traffic rules and everyone seems to think they have right of way. There are also a ton of motorcycles on the street. I would be too scared to drive here! After about 40 minutes of weaving in and out through traffic, we arrived at Negari Luwak Coffee. This place seemed to be a little bit zoo, farm, and gift shop all rolled into one. It’s a popular stop for taxi drivers taking tourists (like us!), and I’m sure some drivers are able to get a commission too. We were greeted by a friendly lady who took us through the entire grounds, which were a series of walkways around various crops and animals (in cages) including the civet. She explained the different plants and animals as we walked by.

Our first stop for some civet coffee

Entering the grounds

Sleeping luwak (civet)

Close up of sleeping civet

These are cacao pods

Vanilla

Another civet…there are different kinds of civets and we saw about three different ones.

Another variety of civet

Here are the beans which have been collected. The ones on the left are obviously the “poopy” ones, and the ones on the right buy generic propecia have been washed and dried.

Some other spices that were grown on the grounds

After a brief tour of the grounds and animals, we stopped at the tasting kiosk where we got a free tasting of different flavored coffees and tea. The civet coffee tasting was about 5 USD for a cup, and is prepared to order. They used an interesting siphon type brewing mechanism for the civet coffee. It doesn’t have to be prepared like this but I guess it was sort of a gimmicky thing to have. It was rather cool to watch though. As we were waiting for our kopi luwak to be prepared, they gave us a baby luwak to hold! He/she seemed very gentle and sweet but I am a bit of a chicken so Steve did most of the civet  holding.

Baby luwak!

Free coffee tasting, I liked the ginger flavored tea.

Preparing our cup of luwak coffee in the special siphon

Here’s a video I recorded of the interesting siphon mechanism they used to prepare the kopi luwak:

They also gave us freshly prepared “pisang goreng” – fried bananas – as a snack.

Fried banana “pisang goreng”

Finished cup of kopi luwak

Holding the luwak and about to drink the coffee it’s kin shat out.

How did it taste? Well I must admit that I thought it would be more hype than anything else but it was rather good! I did think it tasted smoother and more delicate than other coffees. I’m certainly not a coffee connoisseur but I do like a good cup of Kona. Either way, it was unique enough to actually purchase a small amount to take home so that my family could try some too. Note, the luwak coffee they sold in their gift store here was a little pricier than if you purchased it in a supermarket, but they do guarantee it’s authenticity which you may not get when you purchase elsewhere. I think we spent close to 20 USD for 50g of the product. We also got some of the ginger tea which I liked. They were really friendly, and I don’t think it’s a bad place to stop and have a free tasting.

The whole visit took only about 30 minutes including the tasting, and with luwak coffee in tow, we got back in the car and headed towards Ubud to the Komaneka Bisma! Stay tuned…

Read the rest of our Bali 2014 Trip of a Lifetime.


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