The earlier parts in The Bali Journal
The sky was darkening. Rain seemed imminent. Maybe it would not be a bad idea to stop for coffee and let the rain have its way. Not that I am a coffee drinker. My concerns were more about my camera not getting wet. But what was this? Arjun turned off the main road and pulled the car to a stop amid a lot of greenery, but there was no cafe in sight. A man was by our side leading the way. And this beautiful winding path lay before us.
It seemed rather a quiet place for a cafe, I thought. Perhaps the restaurant was at the other end of this green tunnel? But where was the hustle and bustle associated with a coffee shop for tourists? As we walked down the path the man pointed out the various plants, the fruits on trees. There was Torch Ginger (it had edible petals), Arabica coffee, Tamarillos, Eggplant….
Wah wah! This cafe had people to show customers around the garden as well?! Cool. Okay, now I know what at least some of you are thinking. She is rather slow on the uptake. Yup, I agree. Sometimes I am like tube-light, I take time to light up. But then (keep this in mind) there ARE times (if I say so myself) when I am faster than Chacha Coudhary on the uptake. Since I had the picture of a modern cafe fixed firmly in my mind, I had not yet cottoned on to the fact that when he said ‘Let’s go, coffee!’ Arjun (the driver) had meant a farm. We were at a goddamn coffee plantation and I had all along been expecting to see waiters bustling around with coffee, tea and snacks.
But then I wasn’t way too off the mark. There were seats to sit and a fantastic view that no regular cafe could give.
Tea and coffee were also served, but just to taste. There was coconut coffee (which was totally yum), lemon grass tea, ginger tea, ginseng tea and a few more whose names I fail to recall now.
Here is my brother in law tasting one of the items served.
He also had a cup of Kopi Luwak. At around $500 or more for a pound it is the world’s most expensive coffee. I bet many of you already know that. But it was news to me though. It was even bigger news to me that it is made from coffee beans pooped by the Asian Palm Civet. It seems nobody knows how exactly it came about that humans started collecting coffee beans from the faeces of an animal. Was it some lazy man of yore who found it easier to collect the beans from the ground rather than from the coffee plant? Whoever it was then discovered that coffee made from the beans pooped by the civet had a superior, distinctive taste.
Well, this is how it is done. First they let the animal gorge on ripe coffee berries. Smart buggers that these civets are, they choose only the best quality berries and eat them bean and all. That is exactly what the humans count on, I bet. Now, the civets that have gorged themselves silly on berries, inevitably have to ‘evacuate’ few hours down the line. And guess what, the consumed beans supposedly undergoes some chemical reactions/fermentation in the digestive system of the civet before their exit, which is what gives them their uniqueness. The otherwise intact beans pooped are then collected by humans from forest floors, cleaned, roasted and ground, just like any other coffee beans. The resulting coffee is said to be like no other, with a syrupy body and smooth, whatever that is. Yeah, I told you I am no coffee drinker. But those who do go ga-ga over coffee, use words like earthy, musty, exotic, rich, heavy flavour, hint of chocolate/caramel etc to describe kopi luwak.
The man in charge there told us how he and his men go to the surrounding forest area to collect the pooped coffee beans. Here are two women hard at work. One is roasting the beans and the other pounding them the old fashioned way. We were invited to try our hand and sis and I did. It is really hard work.
Next of course was the store where we could buy the different coffee/tea concoctions.
Yup, I ended up buying the coconut coffee, thinking the L & M would love it. As luck would have it, I had made a wrong choice, he didn’t . He said it tasted like payasam (Many Mallu payasams have coconut milk in them) on account of the coconut-ty taste. So now it is mine to finish at my leisure.
We were actually quite reluctant to leave the farm. So enamored were we of the sylvan surroundings. But we were not quite done for the day. There was more to see. That of course is for another day.
Fabulous photos and subjects!
Thank you and welcome to Shail’s Nest 🙂
Usha Pisharody said:
And a civet must be what we call a ‘marapatti’? Just wondering. Or it is a feline? Can’t google right now, though I will when I get the time 😀
Now now now… the coffee drinkers, esp. of the Kopi Luwak kind might just wonder if they would still be so… 😀
I have since found out that it is indeed our good old marapatti! 🙂
Thanks Usha. 🙂
ah come on, you should have had one teeny weeny sip. for trying something exotic (even if it has poopy origins? )
I too wonder at times how the idea of picking up pooped beans and cleaning them to make coffee would have come to someone? There is a another coffee like this made from elephant pooped beans too. I think it is called ivory coffee or something,
I read some time ago that to cash in on the premium rush for kopi luwak, civets are now kept in cages and starved. Then they eat any beans given to them, even if they are the low quality beans.
Oh, I forgot to mention that in the post. I read too that civets in captivity don’t choose the best beans and that affects quality. Now I have to read on the elephant-pooped coffee! 🙂 I know I should have had a sip of kopi luwak, so I could at least write about it, right?
The pics are really good. I write for an Australian coffee blog and have written on Kopi Luwak coffee. It was really interesting to see your post from a coffee lover’s point of view (read me) :). Bali looks like such a paradise!
Thank you, Rachna. Oh wow, you wrote about it for a coffee blog? That’s nice. Bali is a paradise! 🙂 I’d love to go back any time.
Sajeevs blog said:
Can’t wait to go to Bali someday!
I hope you will sometime soon 🙂
Cool blog! Thanks for the info on civet processed beans. It was something new. Wonder if I can give this idea to the coffee entrepreneurs here in Ethiopia. Don’t know if civets roam around here but goats certainly do.
Thank you, Vivek 🙂 I guess the coolness comes mostly from the lovely greenery 😀 😀
Well,why not give your idea a try? 😛 If civets can, why cannot the goats?! 😐
“made from coffee beans pooped by the Asian Palm Civet”- news for me too! Such a lovely place and you have captured it so well.
Thank you, Bindu. It was a lot like nammalude naadu. 🙂
I love the greens and how you have captured them. The place looks so calm and soothing.
Bali really has a soothing effect on you. And as for this particular place, we did not want to leave it for quite some time.
Lush greenery and coffee . very close to my idea of paradise 😛
had heard about the civets pooping coffee beans but I always thought it was just a story.I am thoroughly enjoying your Bali journals Shail !
Thank you Ruchira. It’s a place you will love. May be we can go there together some day 😀 A bloggers’ trip? 😉
Yes Yes Yes !
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beautiful pics Shail:) you have a knack for photography. and your Bali trip seems amazing:) you have the nomadic spirit in you….wondering..wandering… excited like a kid:)
Indeed I have, Indy! I hate staying put at one place. 😉 Thank you, I am so enjoying photography! 🙂
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I think they mis-spell kopi loo-wak
But maybe i’m a little off-whack
Civets, elephants and Ethiopian goats
What will they next think of, maybe stoats
And is that coconut-coffee still on your rack?
Haha! That’s a good one Gulshan! 😀 And yes, I am enjoying the coconut coffee 🙂