Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Cat poo coffee in Bali

That got your attention –didn’t it! 

It’s not as bad as it sounds and I can say that from personal experience.  Yes, I’ve drunk and enjoyed kopi luwak on several occasions, in both Australia and Bali.

What’s it like? Well very smooth with a well-rounded flavour, certainly easy to drink.  If it was cheaper I am sure I would have lined up for more. 


Kopi Luwak is an Indonesian coffee made from the faeces of a Luwak, a small cat-like creature native to the island nation's coffee-growing regions. The luwaks select the freshest coffee cherries to eat and once the bean passes through their digestive system it remains intact but is no longer bitter. Experts say this creates a sweeter-tasting coffee. Bean pickers collect the animals' faeces along with the coffee beans. The excrement is then separated from the actual coffee before being washed and brewed up. The heat of the initial brewing process eliminates all other than the coffee.

Presently Merlo’s  coffee of the month, Kopi Luwak is $10 a cup and if you like to tick all the boxes or even just want to try something different, well worth a sip.

The last time I drank it I was in the highlands of Bali with Bali Bike Tours. www.balibike.com.  We started with a short forest tour through a coffee plantation followed by breakfast on the side of Kintamani with an expansive view of the region's active volcano mountain Batur and Lake Batur. Then we cycled downhill (well mostly downhill) for the next two and a half hours through small villages, past school children and through the daily life of rural rice farmers and craftsmen. We even ventured into a rice paddy and took a turn at threshing the rice – it’s hard work in the sun! There was also a stop at a village temple and learn about Balinese spiritual beliefs and practices. 



Threshing the rice

A biking break

Our breakfast view

The finale was a short drive you to a traditional Balinese home for lunch in the family compound of tour guide Wayan "Bike-Baik" Sujana with a real Balinese feast featuring family favourites and special occasion dishes such as smoked duck.

The opportunity to chat with Wayan and learn about his family life was a real treat. It’s hard to get away from the commercial realities of life in Bali and see how people really live.  This meal was a rare glimpse into that world.
This feast was the finale for the day


Wayan and his delightful son


But back to the coffee – our brief stop at the coffee plantation included a tasting of kopi luwak prepared Balinese style which does not involve an espresso machine!  The result was a little gritty but still good coffee.
We were shown where the cats were held (small cave like cages) and told they were trapped, held for a few days and then released on regular basis. The Balinese have a respect for animals so I tend to believe this is what they do.  They also collect the cat droppings from around the coffee trees. There’s a balance here between allowing the animals to eat their crop and reaping the rewards of the ‘value-added’ bean.

This is a very bad photo of one of the 'cats' in their cage.
According to the coffee guru’s at Merlo, Kopi Luwak – more commonly known as cat poo coffee made from the droppings of the Asian feline breed, Palm Civet – is a fine blend. 

A Merlo tin of Kopi Luwak from Sumatra is priced from $65.00 for 125g. You can also purchase a takeaway coffee (Regular $10; Large $15), or sit down instore at any Barmerlo or at the Southport and Springfield Torrefaziones (Espresso $7; Standard $10; Double Strength & Mug $15) to get the full experience.

Poured as a short black, Kopi Luwak has a bouquet of caramel and cinnamon. On the palate the arabica bean has a clean, smooth flavour and tastes of cacao, caramel and a hint of berries and lingers for a long time. As a flat white, the coffee aroma has almost disappeared, but the resulting taste is clean and smooth on the palate.


More about Bali -
Bali travel tip 
Sheer luxury - that's the way to see Bali!
Beautiful Jimbaran

Disclaimer: E,d+bK paid for this trip.
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