“NEWMAN, WE WANT TO GO TO UBUD TODAY. PLEASE BRING US TO WHERE THE BALINESE CULTURE IS” We told our private driver as we left Seminyak on a rainy day.
Of course, we should have known better than to leave our itinerary in the hands of a private driver-slash-tour guide. We were brought to the tourist traps of Ubud and this was not the Ubud I imagined – factories and stores, bird park, reptile park, and we skipped on a lot of places Newman wanted to take us (more factories and more parks).
As the cultural heart of Bali, I expected art, dance, music, and nature when we set off to Ubud. Then again, the weather was a bit unforgiving and it poured all day long.
Well well, you know what goes perfectly with rain? COFFEE.
On our way to the Tanah Lot, my friend Nicholas and I went ahead and waited for my 2 amigas, Mia and Bea, in a local coffee shop that serves KOPI LUWAK—Kopi Lu-WHAT??
In a nutshell, coffee that came from the Luwak’s poop. Kopi stands for Coffee and Luwak is the local name of the Asian Palm Civet.
Luwak is a small cat-like mammal that feeds on the coffee berries and other pulpy fruits. It only selects and consumes the best coffee berries for their fleshy pulp hence, leaving the coffee bean whole and ready to be digested, excreted, and brewed! Yum.
During digestion, the Luwak’s protease enzymes seep through the coffee bean and extracts the bitterness from it, making it taste smooth and mild.
Kopi Luwak is also the most expensive coffee in the world, often purchased for novelty, and it sells for about $100 – $600 per pound outside Indonesia. So yes, it’s best to try it from the source—it’s always way cheaper.
A waiter-slash-tour guide awaited as soon as we entered their premises. We were toured around their plantation where they grow different herbs and spices.
Further on, we were shown an actual Luwak and then our waiter walked us through the entire process of creating the cup of coffee we went there for.
They usually give free samples of all the drinks they serve except for the Kopi Luwak that you’d have to order for 50,000 Rupiah (~Php 170 / $3.75) a cup.
It’s clean, no worries! The actual bean is enclosed in another layer of the fruit so it does not come into direct contact with the poop itself. It is also washed several times before it’s dried, roasted, ground up, and served.
It is served the traditional Balinese way—hot water and fine ground coffee mixed directly in the cup. The coffee solids sink to the bottom making it look like mud in a cup and it’s not very pleasant to drink as soon as you’re nearing the bottom since the coffee grounds start entering your mouth, giving off a rough and uncomfortable sandy feel.
As for the taste, I’m no coffee aficionado but it was too bland for my taste. I didn’t have to add sugar and it really was smooth and less bitter. Nothing special, in my opinion, other than the thought of the whole Kopi Luwak process.
Hey, I did go there for the experience and experience, I got!
WHERE ELSE CAN YOU TRY IT?
Civets can be found in different forest floors of the Philippine mountains particularly in the Cordillera region (KAPE MOTIT), Southern Luzon and Kalinga (KAPE ALAMID), and Davao and Cagayan de Oro in Mindanao (KAPE MUSANG)
WAS IT WORTH IT?
Sure, it’s worth a try if you’re up for exotic finds. It’s a novelty drink for sure and probably not something you’d want to have at your breakfast table every morning. Though I’m glad to have Catpoopccino checked off my exotic foods list and as for the Balinese culture, I guess I have another reason to go back to Bali and experience more!