Worlds apart from our south east asia experience, arriving in tourist mecca Bali was our first experience of reverse culture shock! Bali is an easy place to holiday, with many tourists choosing Kuta beach as their holiday destination of choice. All would be forgiven though as we travelled North into the heart of Bali, and had our first experience of Cat Poo Coffee! Perhaps we should explain…
After pouring over a map of Bali for a few hours, we had a plan. We would travel to the central north area of the island, spending a few days in the mountains around Munduk, followed by a week on Gili Meno island just off the coast of neighbouring Lombok.
The easiest way to get around Bali is to hire a driver who will take you on a day tour for a negotiated rate. It’s pretty easy to get a driver in Bali, simply head out onto the street, chat to a few and bargain a rate for the journey. Even though it was the major holiday Galungan, we found a driver for the morning – we were off to Munduk.
Munduk is a two to three hour drive north east from Kuta, nestled in the hills of Bali. The roads wind up and around the hills of Bali, negotiating steep passes and narrow roads with ease. Not good for those with a fear of heights! We stopped at a couple of beautiful sights to break up the journey, spending some time taking in the beautiful view of the twin lakes of Tamblingan and Buyan.
Hopping back into the car, we visited the Pura Ulun Danu Bratan temple on the banks of Lake Bratan.
After some time walking through the gardens on the shores of the lake, it was onwards to our destination Munduk, our Balinese mountain getaway.
A narrow two lane road slices Munduk in two, and a walk from one end to the other would take less than 20 minutes. There are no bars, only a handful of restaurants and served us brilliantly as a base to explore the surrounding areas. Our Cat Poo Coffee experience was getting closer.
Day one we decided to trek to the local waterfall Buleleng. With our trusty map and the advice ‘just follow the path, you can’t go too far wrong’ we were off on our trek! A round trip trek from Munduk to Buleleng waterfall should take about three hours, and you really don’t need to hire a guide for this. Ask at your guesthouse for a map and a route to the waterfall and make your own way there. After a couple of wrong turns in the forest, and stumbling across some lovely locals who directed us in the right direction, we reached our waterfall destination, a towering 25m above us!
Delicious Cat Poo Coffee
Getting within 20 metres of it you will be soaked through in 30 seconds with the giant haze that rises up from the base of the waterfall. We spent 20 minutes taking it in and cooling off, before scrambling up the hill onto the main road back down to Munduk. By this point we were quite hungry, and searched out a place for lunch. As happens often on our trip, we stumbled upon a small restaurant perched on top of the hill overlooking the rolling rice fields below, and hit the jackpot.
It turns out we’d found something we had been keen to try when in Bali, its famous Cat Poo Coffee!
Sometimes you’ve just got to ignore the ingredients that go into something and focus on how it tastes, Haggis a classic example. Delicious but the list of ingredients might make you wretch. Cat Poo coffee is the same, a delicious outcome, but a slightly odd method of production! Talking with the passionate owner, we learnt much about how the coffee is made, what gives it its unique taste and how he brews the coffee using his specialist equipment.
And so to our tasting. What would Cat Poo Coffee taste like? Precisely which flavours would be taken on through digestion? We were about to find out.
Kopi Luwak, or Civet coffee is one of the most expensive coffees in the world due to its low levels of production and unique method of creation. To create the unique taste, Asian Palm Civets eat the fleshy pulp of the berries, leaving the beans to pass through the animal, taking on all sorts of enzymes and other things we care not to think about! They then pop out the other end, where farmers gather them up, wash, dry and roast them to produce the coffee beans to create the coffee.
The method of brewing was as intricate and complex as the selection process, check out the contraption used to brew our coffees for the afternoon! Talk about making an effort!
It was strong, delicious and we happily sat on the veranda overlooking the Balinese rice fields, sipping on our Cat Poo Poffee.
Suitably refreshed we headed back to the guesthouse to do, well, absolutely nothing. You see, there isn’t really that much to do there in the evening. There are no bars, only a handful of places to eat and it’s all very quiet. Perfect, and a world away from Kuta.
Day 2 followed a similar plan to day one, a short trek followed by an afternoon of relaxing. The local rice fields are beautiful to walk through, and we took a couple of hours to walk down to the fields, through them and back to the main road. Be warned, the paths are very steep up and down the valley.
Our afternoons were spent sitting on our balcony, watching the sunset and generally relaxing in the hills of Bali! If you arrive in Kuta and, like us, just wanted to get out of there, Munduk is a great pace to visit for a couple of days. Do a bit of walking, have some coffee and enjoy the beautiful scenery. And then get on a boat and visit Gili Meno island!