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Hidden Turn-Off On Road From Ubud Reveals Secret World Of Organic Coffee And Spices

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Hidden Turn-Off On Road From Ubud Reveals Secret World Of Organic Coffee And Spices

February 15, 2016 @ 8:02 am
by e.neil
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Zipping down the road away from Ubud, Bali, you’d never notice the mystical destination that lay ahead. Especially if your driver seems to be in the qualifying round for F1 races despite being in his Suzuki AVP. Suddenly, tires screeching, our micro-van fishtailed to the left. We bounced forward a few meters and came to a halt in a pea-gravel parking area, just large enough for a few more micro-vans. But for the moment, we were the only ones parked.

Our driver slid open our door, smiling, “We're here!”
Planting our feet on solid ground, our necks craned backward as our eyes followed the surrounding trees up to the sky.

A warm breeze wafted around me, nurturing my skin with the equatorial humidity.
The pea-gravel crunched beneath my sandals and gave way to rich, dark soil. An arrow on a wooden sign directed us to the path head. High-pitched 'cheeps' and 'chirps' from small birds, and deep 'uuh, uuh, ahhhs' of larger birds hidden throughout the high branches and low scrub immersed us in a sensory bath. The bird calls joined with fragrances of tropical flowers and subtle scents of spices from some mystical sommelier spirit of the wilderness.

Taking the risk of looking very silly, I allowed the dance of excitement to erupt from my heart and through my body. It was a celebration of finally achieving a decades-long desire. I laughed and performed a little dance of joy right at the entrance of the organic spice and coffee farm.
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Recovering from my jubilant spell, I began my self-guided tour. I followed a winding path among trees and shrubs that sported little signs.

“Cinnamon” here “white pepper” there. “Cloves” and “nutmeg” yonder. “Cocoa” reached up high and sported its magic pods. And “coffee” demurely displayed innocent looking berries.

This was it! This was the nexus of earth and tree, of berry, seed, and root, from which culinary magic is released. I was in the country of the Spice Islands, and my “epi-curiosity” of seeing the source of coffee and spices had brought me here. To be totally honest, I had no idea how to find what I had so longed to see. But I shared my curiosity and desire with a local expert: I asked my driver.

It seems that every piece of knowledge worth knowing is now available at our fingertips. With the right the right words to search and an internet connection, we can go down a rabbit hole that will lead us to the answers of questions we didn't even know we had.

But on rare occasions, even our best constructed research returns a blank, or our signal connections fail. When that happens, a glorious moment in disguise, turn away from your screen and to a local resident.
You’ll be surprised where local knowledge takes you.
I continued my tour through the shrubs and trees, awe-struck at the beauty and magic that surrounded me. The path ended at a set of small earthen and palm thatched open walled huts. In hand-woven baskets, spices, coffee and cocoa beans collected from farm laid out for my closer inspection and sampling.
A farm employee roasted coffee by hand on a large pan, while another pounded fresh roasted coffee to grounds in a wooden mortar and pestle by hand.

Naturally the next logical step was for this fresh roasted, hand ground coffee to be brewed up. It was. And to my extreme pleasure and satisfaction, I was able to sample it.

What I experienced was a coffee like no other. Deep, rich, fragrant, and smooth. Smokey, earthy, slightly acidic, but velvety and almost buttery as well. Floral notes. The coffee was a symphony of hints and nuance of flavors.
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In the afterglow of the coffee, a tray of eight other beverages were presented to enjoy.
Among them, ginger tea, lemongrass tea, hot cocoa, and a kind of “chai tea” of mixed spices.
As expected, with most kinds of tours in Bali, one final step of the tour presented an opportunity to purchase any of the spices or coffee I had encountered on my walking tour through the organic spice farm. To be honest, some seemed a little pricy. But other items, especially compared to prices back home, were a pretty good deal. I walked out of the shop with some organic vanilla beans.
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It turns out, there are several of these places scattered around Bali.
When your setting up your trip, look into some of the local tour operators for your very own spice and coffee far experience.

Here are some of the actual farms that my research turned up. (As a disclaimer, none of the following places endorse or approve this article, nor do I receive any compensation or consideration for mentioning them here.)
Also note that often entrance is free, but there are typically some sort of gift shop or souvenir shop at the end of the tour.

Bali Pulina:
Address: Jalan Raya Ceking, Sebatu, Kintamani, Indonesia

Alam Bali Agrowisata & Coffee Plantation:
Address: Banjar Apuh Desa Tegallalang – Gianyar Bali
Website: http://www.balikopiluwak.net/


Also, pretty much any of your Bali tour operators will be able to line something up for you. Just ask them.

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