In the stunning archipelago of Indonesia lies a remarkable island is known for its stunning beaches, laid-back vibes, and delicious coffee. The island of Bali is known across the world as one of the top island destinations. Visitors here can soak in views of vibrant green rice fields in Ubud, turquoise waters off Seminyak, and spiritual temples — all while sipping on some of the best java on the planet: Bali coffee.
Whether you’re looking for organic coffee or single-origin whole beans, the island of Bali has what you’re looking for. In addition, the island has an incredible cafe scene, making it easy to absorb the sights and mingle with the locals at coffee shops. Here’s everything you need to know about Bali coffee, from the growing regions to the different types.
Where Does Bali Coffee Grow?
Bali is just one of many coffee-growing regions in Indonesia. Other Indonesian islands including Lombok, Sulawesi, and Sumatra as well as neighboring Papua New Guinea also grow delicious coffee blends. Coffee from Bali comes largely from the Kintamani region of the island. This region is north of the famous rice paddies in Ubud and closer to the east side of the island. Read on to learn more about the Bali coffee-growing region and how farmers cultivate the plant.
Kintamani is Bali’s premier coffee-growing region. The coffee plantations are located on a large plateau with volcanic mountains Batukaru and Agung in the background. It’s a stunning area to visit and one that’s even better for growing coffee. The volcanic soil here adds minerals to the coffee plants, imparting a rich, full-bodied flavor. Most coffee from this region is of the robusta coffee bean variety though there are a few arabica coffee plantations as well.
Unlike other coffee-growing regions in the archipelago, farmers harvest Bali coffee just once each year. Local farmers handpick the coffee cherries between July and September. Most producers of Bali coffee use the wet method.
In other coffee regions, producers dry the cherries and remove the coffee bean. In wet processing, cultivators remove the cherry surrounding the coffee bean before any drying process begins. This results in a fruity flavor that is characteristic of most Balinese coffees.
Some of the most popular Bali coffee roasters include Bali Blue Moon, Blacklist Coffee Roasters, and Hungry Bird.
The coffee growers in Bali tend to be small-scale, local operators as opposed to large plantations and government-backed growing businesses. That means each cup of coffee you drink helps to support local farmers.
In fact, most coffee in Bali is grown as part of a traditional system called Subak Abian. This system is based on a Hindu practice that prizes a positive relationship with people, god, and the environment. The priority of a happy environment means that most producers here don’t use chemical pesticides. Instead, they prefer to use natural pest deterrents and organic fertilizers.
The Subak Abian system also focuses on taking care of all stakeholders. That means most coffee is farmed on a small scale. There is also a focus on protecting the individuals involved in cultivating and producing coffee beans and coffee roasts. As such, much of the coffee grown in Bali is organic as well as Fair Trade certified.
The flavor of Balinese coffee depends on where it was grown. That’s largely due to soil composition and various environmental factors. In general though, Bali coffee has a sweet and soft body in addition to low acidity. Fruity notes including citrus hints like lemon complement the gentle body. Some Bali coffee also has a hint of dark chocolate and nutty tastes. That’s thanks to the robusta beans they are made from.
Bali coffee is available in a variety of options, from regular ground coffee to finely ground espresso and whole beans. You’ll also find coffee blends, flavored coffees, and various roasts — including light roast, medium roast, and dark roast options.
Types of Bali Coffee
Peaberry coffee is also known as lanang coffee. This type of coffee is unique as it uses berries that have a single seed. In traditional coffee roasting, the cherries have two, flat seeds inside. In rare cases, some coffee plants produce cherries with just one seed. Farmers roast these rare cherries into peaberry coffee.
Typically grown in Papua New Guinea, there are few small plantations on Bali that also make Wamena coffee. This coffee has dark chocolate, nutty, and caramel notes. It can have citrus and herbal hints as well as flowery notes.
Kopi luwak coffee is also known as cat poop coffee. It is one of the most expensive coffees in the world. Much of the early coffee growing on the island dates back to Dutch colonial times. In this era, most locals were forbidden from drinking coffee. That’s because the product was such a valuable commodity. Tales say that locals first discovered kopi luwak when they realized that wild civet cats would eat coffee cherries from the coffee farms and excrete the cherries. These digested coffee cherries could then be roasted and consumed as a specialty coffee.
Drinking kopi luwak may be a unique experience. However, the consumption of kopi lusaka also creates some issues concerning animal welfare and sustainability. As demand for this unique coffee increased, so has the captivity of palm civet cats. This has led to inhumane conditions in some cases. While drinking kopi luwak may be popular among tourists, it’s worth doing some research to ensure you’re only supporting ethical producers.
Find the Best Coffee for Your Taste
When it comes to Indonesian coffee, Bali coffee is among the best and most flavorful. Choose a roast and blend it into a latte or enjoy it like the locals — with fine grounds layering the bottom of your mug.
Looking for more ways to enjoy a cup of java? Continue browsing our blog where you’ll find particle tips like the different kinds of coffee as well as breakdowns of coffee from other growing regions like Costa Rica.