Everything you need to know about a Coffee plantation in Bali

Bali Coffee Plantation

For some reason, coffee wasn’t on my brain when visiting Indonesia. Although, an avid tea drinker, I am also quite partial to a decent cup of Joe. And despite clocking the packing on various Starbucks coffee grinds with exotic images of Sumatra or Java, I just didn’t make the connection until I was in Indonesia. So needless to say, visiting a coffee plantation wasn’t exactly what we had planned for our trip to Bali. However, it was certainly an experience I’m glad to have had.

Background on Coffee Plantations

Although the coffee scene in Bali has recently picked up on trend, coffee has been a big part of Indonesia’s history. Brought to the area by Dutch colonization in the 16th Century, the coffee industry soon began to grow to what it is today. It is mainly produced on the islands of Sumatra, Sulawesi and Java but smaller plantations do exist elsewhere as can be seen in Bali. Large areas of natural forests were cleared to make way for coffee plantations on these islands. In Sulawesi, the mountain region was used for coffee growing. The majority of plantations grow the Arabica coffee bean, not native to the lands. Despite it’s small size, Indonesia is the 4th largest producing coffee nation in the world. However, interestingly, a third of production is consumed within the country. 

Where in Bali can I find a Coffee Plantation?

Most coffee plantations can be found in the Ubud area and many great cafes are popping up in Ubud village. For more on where to go for coffee in Ubud, click here. We visited Satria Coffee Plantation as part of a day trip. It was located near Tirta Empul temple and Tegenungan waterfalls.

A Visit to a Coffee Plantation

Upon arriving at the coffee plantation we weren’t really sure what to expect. From the car park we could only see lush vegetation. However, upon entering we were guided through a small spice garden. Our tour guide pointed out various plants like cinnamon and cocoa plants. We had seen a lot of these in Sri Lanka when we visited a Spice Garden there so it was nice to recognise some of the plants again. 

From there we were greeted by a young Balinese girl who showed us to the coffee roasting area. She explained how the coffee beans are dried and then roasted  and finally ground. In addition, we saw coffee beans at different stages of the process and see the grinding process at work. We also observed one of the workers carefully roasting the beans over a ridiculous heat (given how hot the outside temperature was).

Near the end of the tour, we were  offered a chance to grind the beans ourselves, however given the heat and at the risk of looking feeble, we declined and let the experts handle it!

Coffee tasting 

The final part of the tour was sampling the tea and coffee from the plantation (for free!). We were given a tasting menu and a tasting board of 12 different beverages (that we shared between two). There were so many that were delicious. I loved the ginger tea, the ginseng coffee and the hot chocolate made from real cocoa! And I loved it so much that we bought some to take home and for souvenirs. 

Tasting coffee with the locals might offer a slightly different taste than what we are used to. The Balinese like to drink their coffee black and with lots of sugar. What’s more, the end of the coffee often has the dregs of coffee grinds sitting heavy at the bottom of your cup in a sludge. Hence, it is sometimes referred to as ‘mud coffee’. Also be warned that asking for coffee with milk in Bali may leave you with a very sweetened version of coffee with condensed milk, known as kopi susu. 

Kopi Luwak

Information about visiting a coffee plantation in Bali would be incomplete without mentioning the renowned Kopi Luwak. Reputed as the world’s most expensive coffee and equally known to locals as poo coffee (or sh** coffee to others), Kopi Luwak finds its origins in Indonesia. As the names suggest, it is coffee that is processed from coffee beans that have been excreted by the palm civet cat. While the process originally started in the wild, unfortunately the industry has taken a turn for the worse and luwaks are now been held in captivity for the sheer purpose of eat and pooing out coffee beans. The unfair treatment of luwaks has been raised by the likes of Peta which you can read more about here. 

So when purchasing the world’s most expensive coffee do think twice and make sure it is sourced from the wild. Admittedly. we did try the notorious coffee (prior to realising how poorly the animals were treated) Again we were offered the chance to roast ourselves but politely declined. . The verdict? Quite frankly, it does taste as the name suggests – like sh**. So if you were to skip it, you wouldn’t be missing out!

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Coffee Plantations in Bali

17 Comments

  1. I hate to hear that the luwaks are being held captive in order to create more of the expensive poo coffee. This makes me want to boycott their company completely :(. I would love to try some of the items that you got to sample, they sounded amazing!

    Reply
    • I know. I felt the same way. The coffee isn’t even that fantastic so I don’t know what the fuss is all about. The products from the shop were delicious. Especially the hot cocoa!

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  2. I never would have thought to visit a coffee plantation, but it looks kind of cool! Especially getting to try all the teas and coffees and cocoa at the end. Yum!

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    • I wouldn’t have thought to visit one either but it really is part and parcel of the central Bali scenery so definitely worth a visit.

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  3. Wow…it sounds like an amazing educational experience. I actually read a post recently about the luwaks being held in captivity. It’s very sad indeed, and hopefully the demand for that specific coffee will go down.

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    • It really was an educational experience. I think I really appreciate the value of a cup of coffee now that I’ve seen the process of making coffee. I guess its these experiences that make travelling so amazing when you can relate your daily life to the bigger picture.

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    • I can’t say I’m much of a coffee drinker these days either but it was an educational experience. They did also have herbal teas available. I tried a hibiscus tea and loved the ginger tea!

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  4. Being a coffee lover myself I would love to visit coffee plantation in Bali – though yet to make it through there. How wonderful they even offered you to grind the coffee yourself, I would grab that opportunity maybe for 30 secs or so πŸ™‚

    Reply
    • Hahaha we should have seized the moment to grind our own coffee, but the humidity was awful to begin with and to be honest, I think I was more of afraid of looking foolishly weak. I’ve seen my mortar and pestle skills and they aren’t anything to brag about! Hope you get to visit Bali soon!

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  5. I’ve always wanted to visit Bali. They seem to have the best beaches and everyone is so close to nature. Definitely giving me more reasons to head there. Thanks for sharing.

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    • I didn’t rate the beaches in comparison to the likes of Thailand but I’ve heard the Nusa Lembongan and the other islands of the coast have beautiful beaches. The lush scenery in central Bali around Ubud is something I did fall in love with. And it just had a very peaceful energy to it. I hope you get to go soon!

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  6. This sounds like fun! I have visited a couple of Coffee plantations in Coorg. And would love to visit one in Bali. But it’s sad to read about how they treat the animals for the Kopi Luwak Coffee πŸ™

    Reply
    • I didn’t know they had coffee plantations in India. That must have been an interesting experience too. It’d be cool for you to visit one in Bali and then compare! I agree it is really sad the way they treat the Luwaks. Perhaps with more education on that front they may change their ways. Although most of the time when there’s money to be made, this is seldom the case.

      Reply

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