If travelling to Bali wasn’t addictive enough, then sampling the island’s finest coffee and chocolate might just push you over the edge so that you never want to come home. With a wet climate and high altitude mountainous areas, Bali has the perfect climate for coffee and chocolate beans to grow. Not only are the plantations cheaper and use less water than other fruit growing industries on the island, but they can also be grown sustainably and ethically. Plantation owners, working in tandem with the local way of life, support farmers while creating some of the world’s finest coffee and chocolate. From the most expensive in the world made from Asian cat droppings, to making your own hand-made chocolate, these plantations are an experience everyone will enjoy.
Pod Chocolate Factory
On the grounds of the Bali Elephant Camp, opposite Ubud and near the Sangeh Monkey forest, is the Pod Chocolate Factory and Café. This is one of the only places on earth where chocolate is made just down the road from where it is grown, allowing the farmers to be truly connected with the final product. The farmers, who have a deep affinity with the land, are supported by the business, which prides itself on creating a sustainable environment for everyone. Here you can see organic, single origin chocolate being processed from the bean into a bar and also into ice cream, which is definitely a must try!
At Pod, you can take a tour of the grounds to see how the beans are grown, then, as your taste buds start to tingle, thinking about smooth, rich chocolate, you enter the factory and learn how to make your own, with plenty of tastings along the way. Pod Chocolate can be bought all over Bali and is displayed in many hotels and resort gift shops. If you are unable to make it to the factory, the chocolate definitely makes a lovely gift as the rich volcanic soil and high altitude creates the perfect growing climate and a remarkable taste and texture. The dark chocolate and cocoa nibs are also high in antioxidants and can improve blood flow, reduce stress and act as a natural mood booster.
Find out more at podchocolate.com.
Jalan Tukad Ayung, Carangsari, Petang, Bali 80353, Indonesia
+62 361 8086667
Right here in Bali, kopi luwak, the most expensive coffee in the world, is grown and processed. Kopi translates to coffee and the word luwak means Asian palm civet; a cat like animal that is native to South East Asia and Africa. Yes, we’re talking about “that coffee”, where the beans used have travelled through this creature’s intestine and have fermented in its digestive tract, staying intact the whole way through-all to improve the flavour! The civets only eat the freshest coffee berries, and the process removes much of the coffee’s bitterness, leaving a smooth rich blend behind. A cup of kopi luwak can sell for over $25 USD in western countries but in Bali can be bought for a mere $3-5.
However, there is a dark side to this process, as kopi luwak has become more famous, there is a greater demand on farmers to produce a greater quantity of the beans. This has lead to a spike in animal cruelty on the island – definitely a concern for ethical travellers. Many of the plantations are keeping the civets in cages and feeding them on a diet solely of coffee beans. This is obviously bad for the civet, as without a balanced diet their health deteriorates, which also leads to an inferior quality of the coffee bean. The civets are also nocturnal animals and many of them are being kept in cages in broad daylight without anywhere dark to rest. Before the kopi luwak demand was so high, all luwak coffee was collected from civets in the wild and there are still some traders who trade in ethical or free range luwak coffee. Although more expensive, it is definitely a worthy investment. Good names to look out for are: Animal Coffee, Exotic Coffee, Rafflesia Luwak and Doi Chaang.
Munduk Moding Coffee Plantation
Located in North Bali just near Bali’s central lakes, Munduk Moding Coffee Plantation Nature Resort and Spa is one of the most ethical coffee plantations in Bali. It is a great place to breathe in the mountain air and see how locals grow exquisite coffee. The plantation is committed to persevering that natural landscape and working sensitively with the land and local population in order to keep this vastly unexplored part of the island protected.
Munduk Moding plantation also boasts many fruit trees and rice paddies through which you are free to take a stroll. The beans are only picked when fully ripe and then processed in the traditional way. As you traverse the area you can see the beans being dried on the tennis court or out the front of the temples. Guests can also learn how to process their own coffee once the beans are dried and cleaned. Villagers and staff are involved in growing the coffee and are more than happy to chat about the flavour and aroma of the beans that the land in north Bali creates.
The plantation works with the local coffee farmers, pooling resources and creating the finest organic coffee. Organic coffee plantations use less water than other non-sustainable farms on the island and the shadowy trees mean that they attract a huge variety of birds and wild life.
While visiting this plantation, it is not uncommon to see singing bush larks, pink necked pigeons, red jungle fowl and spider hunters. The plantation also offers luwak coffee, but here the Asian palm civets are not caged and the beans are collected by hand, so the coffee is very limited. You can also handpick vegetables with the chefs and sample some of the organic, home grown local food. Munduk Moding is the perfect place to escape to for the day or a week. Coffee lovers will not be disappointed.