- Bali Bike Tours, Banjar Laplapan, Petulu, Ubud - Bali www.balibike.com
“What is a Luwak?” I ask. The guide points inside a cage. A small furry animal, no bigger than a cat is napping.
“They are only awake at night,” he tells us.
“And what is it doing here, on a coffee plantation in the middle of Bali?”
These are the animals that are responsible for creating the famous coffee that Jack Nickelson craves.
It’s the most expensive coffee in the world,” he adds.
We follow our guide through the jungle to an outside seating area.
In the trees that surround us we hand pick bananas, tangerines and mango steens, a purple fruit with a sweet, slimy, milk center. All are delicious.
We are each served nine varieties of tea and coffee. I try their local brew first, a bit too watery for my taste. The hot chocolate, mocha, vanilla and coconut all have similar fates.
Onwards to tea. The ginseng has an energizing sparkle and it’s gone in two gulps. The lemongrass is sweetened with brown sugar and refreshing. The ginger is sharp, burning on the way down, but good for the stomach. I buy a bag of each.
“What about the Luwak?” I ask. “Very special cup,” he says. “The Lawak is a scared animal in Bali. He eats only the best coffee beans. The next day, we search through his poop, purify the beans and use them for coffee.”
As if that’s somehow convincing. Still, I came all this way and I’m not about to give up now. “I’ll take a cup!” What normally retails for $25 per cup in Australia can be had for just $3 here in Bali.
The Luwak’s left overs are potent and thick. Strong like Turkish coffee, I can still taste the ground through my teeth in each sip. When I’m through with the cup, I have the jitters. All that’s left are the grinded beans at the bottom.
“Mix this and drink the rest,” the man says handing me some water. I take the grounds with a spoon, a dense chocolate brown with the thickness of mud. I shake my head. “No more.” It’s worth a purchase. I pick up three cases for gifts.
Inside the coffee shop a man is nibbling. I peer over the counter. “What are you hiding?”
He pulls out a bar of chocolate. I raise my eyebrows.
He cuts me off a slice. Heaven.
Made of 80% cacao and 20% coconut sugar, this sweet and oily chocolate is the perfect after dinner snack.
I buy a bar and make the trek back through the jungled forest.
It would have been better if… the other coffees had been more pure, like the Luwak.
For more information on Bali Bike Tours visit www.balibike.com. A full day, including two meals and a coffee plantation is just $45.