Ever the fans of Lonely Planet, we read about Banyan Tree Cycling Tours from our trusty guidebook, and decided to book a tour through the rice fields. Sounds relaxing, doesn’t it?
To our surprise we were the only ones who had booked a tour that day – I guess that’s one of the advantages of visiting in December – virtually nothing was booked full. Anyway, we started our ride through the rice fields, which was relaxing and beautiful. Also hot. Extremely hot. Before we knew it though, we were looking down a steep muddy hill with our guide happily sliding down before us, wondering what the hell was taking me so long. Guess that’s the downside of visiting during rainy season…
After sliding and skidding down the hill and peddling back up a steep hill we were suddenly exposed to a two lane road (as is typical in Bali) where we biked along the side exposed to tour buses and of course the thousands of scooters whisking by. Luckily, and to my great surprise, neither of us were run over by a tour bus and we made it safely to our next stop – Luwak coffee (kopi luwak) tasting.
What is luwak coffee? Well, for starters is the world’s most expensive coffee, selling for around $500 per pound!
A civet, a small cat like creature, chews the coffee beans and poops them out, having removed the outside of the coffee shell. Or something like that. The civets are kept in cages and are fed the coffee beans which they Haven’t you ever heard of a cat-poo-chino? Like so many touristic sights that include animals in Indonesia, there is some controversy over how civets are treated. I had no idea about it until starting to write this blog post, but in hindsight, I can see how this could be a an animal cruelty problem. I have to admit though, the coffee wasn’t so impressive to me – the tea tasting was far better!
Despite skidding into the mud and holding on to my brakes for dear life in Balinese traffic, yes, I can definitely recommend one of these tours with Banyan Tree. Afterward they informed us this wasn’t the “normal” tour they give, but the more “advanced” tour they take when they have “Europeans” on the tour.
Have you tried luwak coffee in Bali? Do you think it is ethical to buy or drink it?
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