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A visit to the Bali Coffee Plantation and Luwak Coffee

Happy New Year to everyone!  This is my last post from Indonesia.

We went to a coffee plantation to try the infamous Luwak coffee, and other coffee and tea products.

We were in for a treat!

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The standard free tasting included 11 coffees and teas.

The plantation sells a delicious lemongrass ginger tea which was extremely spicy and delicious, along with roasted rice tea and roselle (a member of the hibiscus family) tea.

I fell in love with their coconut and “mochaccino” — the former was coffee with dried coconut, and latter was coffee with local cocoa.

No flavoring and just quality ingredients.

Interestingly, all the coffee products are sold pre-ground, and many with sugar.

The plantation also sells some products without sugar, but the ingredient list on the packs still listed sugar — something that just would not be allowed with US food labeling law.

Time for the famous coffee: Luwak.

It cost about US$5 to taste a 4 oz. cup of Luwak coffee at the plantation.

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Luwak coffee was extracted from the excrement of Asian Palm Civets, which are members of the mammal family Viveride.

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Many of the Civets were in captivity.

The Coffee Shop folks claimed that people hunt and eat the Civet; in back of my head I was thinking that it would be easier for coffee production if the Civets were locked up as well.

The Civets eat ripe coffee cherries and pass out the coffee beans (which were basically the pits of the cherries) in their poop.

The beans are then washed, harvested (as shown below with the chunk of coffee beans in the middle), and ultimately roasted.

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The coffee beans are fermented along the way in the Civet’s digestive tract, and produce coffee that has distinctive flavors.

Luwak coffee is a mix of robusta (generally associated with cheaper coffee) and Arabica beans (generally associated with more premium coffee) as the Civet did not discriminate between the types of coffee cherries, but rather whether the coffee cherries were ripe for their consumption.

For coffee preparation, Balinese seemed to prefer very finely ground coffee.

We had regular Balinese coffee served to us in French Press and drip, but it was still very finely ground.

The Luwak coffee was also finely ground and put in the bottom of the cup.  Finally, the hot water was added to the cup to brew.

The tasting experience was similar to cupping.

Luwak coffee was very smooth but also with high acidity.

I found this interesting as the 2 properties generally did not go hand in hand in coffee with my taste buds.

It was roasted quite dark, so that the roastiess and chocolatey flavors were most prominent.

The coffee was also a little fruity and a little floral.

I wish I could taste the coffee in a French Press with coarse grind coffee so the flavors could be more distinctive.

Verdict — I am not convinced to spend US$75 for a quarter lb of Luwak Coffee; and am very grateful that I had the opportunity to try one of the most expensive coffee in the world!

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