OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWe couldn’t leave Ubud without witnessing the signature rice fields that the area is known for. Admittedly, we didn’t do much             research on how to come across the lush landscape beforehand and by the time we logged in to wi-fi at Hujan Locale, it was too late to book a bike tour or an eco walk. Luckily, good ol’ word of mouth worked for us when one of the waiters suggested Bali Pulina.

Not knowing what to expect, apart from my hopes of taking some pretty pictures, you could say we were in for a surprise. We had just walked up to an agro tourism site that aims to encourage visitors to experience agricultural life first hand. I remember seeing     labeled ginger plants and cacao trees, amongst others, upon entering but I soon realized that the main attraction here was kopi luwak. A guide greeted us on arrival and walked us through the start to finish production of civet coffee, which is made from the seeds of coffee berries once they have been eaten and defecated by the Asian Palm Civet. Yes, this is the ‘cat poop’ coffee!               Apparently, their digestive tract creates a more fragrant and less bitter bean. We witnessed the entire process of how it is made and even got to observe the cat-meets-ferret looking creatures. Balinese women also demonstrated how to roast and grind coffee the old fashioned way; the aromas were strong and our interest was heightened.

Our guide then told us that we would be getting a tasting of several coffees and teas – we had no idea! He asked if we wanted to try the civet coffee for an extra IDR50,000 or US$4. I mean, we might as well, right?! At this point, we hadn’t paid for anything so we weren’t sure how it would all add up. Anyhow, while they were preparing our drinks they told us to wait on the deck, which overlooks the amazing rice terrace views in their backyard. The greenness was remarkably beautiful, so we went out to the farthest point, took photos and appreciated the gentle beauty of it all. By the time we got back, our samplers were waiting with a side of sweet potato strings, also grown on the plantation. The civet coffee was smooth, dark and a little grainy… It surely did not have any notes of, for a lack of a better word, poo.

The tour concludes itself at the shop, where you can purchase items to bring home. There we learned about the small fee, IDR100,000 or US$10, for the experience. The Balinese have realized the benefits of sustainable development brought about by     nature travel and we were more than inclined to show our support for their livelihood.