On the minus side, 5 years ago the coffee selection was fairly bleak. It was difficult to find anything other than the traditional Bali coffee, which is simply hot water poured over finely ground Robusta coffee, stirred in the cup,with no filtering. There is nothing subtle about it; the taste is strong, it is high in caffeine and will certainly put hair on your chest.. It is fine occasionally but gets boring, especially when I know Indonesian coffee has a whole rainbow of flavour possibilities. I heard that there were major developments on the Ubud coffee scene and my main mission this trip was to check it out. Follow along on my fantastic journey into what I now consider coffee paradise.
|I love the ‘whalecome’ sign|
My first evening in Ubud I took a long walk, finding some local food and continuing on to scout for interesting coffee shops I had heard about. I walked and walked for at least an hour until I arrived at one of the major intersections, with a huge statue marking it. I decided that was far enough for this evening but before turning around and heading back, I took a good look around at the shops on this corner and luckily I spied Kahiyang coffee. It wasn’t one one of the shops on my list but it certainly looked inviting before my long walk home.
|Pak Iwan doing his Rok Presso thing|
Address: Jl Raya Andong No. 1
Open: Daily 7AM until late
Ubud Coffee Roastery
This one was easy for me to find as it was conveniently located across from my favourite massage. They serve espresso and pourovers. I had the pourover with Toraja beans and it was quite enjoyable, good deal for only 25k. They roast beans from all around Indonesia and were hand sorting through green beans from Sumatra when I was there. They sell the beans quite affordably, average of 75k for 250g. They also sell cacao powder and drinks. There is air-con though I recommend going earlier in the day as they get strong afternoon sun.
Address: Jl Goutama
Open: Daily 8 AM – 4 PM
My favourite, this small shop specializes in coffee from Flores, including a very rare typica variety that Juria House has played a key role in preserving. Coffee is pourover (25-30k) and there is a good dessert selection as well as local crafts on offfer. I would say the Juria special coffee was the best I had in Ubud, the taste is clean, bright and sweet with a nice long finish.. The home-roasted beans are for sale, expect to pay accordingly for this outstanding coffee.
Rumour has it that Ryuichi-san, the humble Japanese man who operates Juria, is perhaps the most interesting man in Ubud. The crowd is friendly, hip and tend to be very into their coffee.
Stylish and super-comfy layout with air-con throughout. It reminded me of the chic cafes in Penang They have a slow bar with various single origin options. I had a good long black. The baristas love coffee and kindly offered me a sample brew of one (my choice) of the many different samples friends had left them.
|The flavour wheel to help guide you through the many options|
Address: Jl Sriwedari No. 5
There you have it, these few shops kept me interested and marvelously caffeinated for a good 10 days in Ubud ( I meant to stay a week but kept extending:-). I was blown away by the changes from 5 years ago but why the big transformation? My friend James, the Java Nomad, spent a fair bit of time there and offered some insight. Bali grows it’s own good coffee but it is also in the center of Indonesia, surrounded by world renowned coffee islands such as Flores, Sulawesi, Sumatra and Java. To get the coffee over to Bali from these islands takes minimal time and expense with no customs inspections required and no weeks or months in shipping containers. There are now many local coffee roasters so you get the beans as fresh as can be. Therefore geographically, Ubud is perfectly situated to become coffee paradise.. Add to this the worldwide increase in coffee popularity (the third wave) and the fact Bali is fairly overrun with Western tourists and it is easy to see why the scene has really taken off.
Indonesia has been producing great coffee for export for hundreds of years,how great is it that there is a sweet little city where you can now taste the best of it. Coffee in the morning, Bali massage in the afternoon, who could ask for more.
I left Ubud for Gili Air, booking with Permata travel for 275k one way. The trip went like this: left on minibus Ubud 11AM, arrive at harbour 12:10, depart on Wahana fast boat 13:45, arrive at Gili Air 15:45 with one stop at Gili T.
Coco Oil-Nyuh Bali had good quality virgin coconut oil. The shop is located close to the Royal palace, just up the street from Ibu Oka babi guling