How many non-Indonesians can claim that they've driven to Bali? I'm now a member of this exclusive club.
In part 1 of our journey, we departed PTPN XII after a late lunch towards Banyuwangi. Seeing that it took us over 3 hours on the way up from the main road, the only way we can make it down in time for the ferry would be to take a different route: a shortcut through the mountains.
While the tarmac was smoother, it was MUCH steeper. To go down, we had to first rise back to 1600m before quickly descending to sea level. On the way up, many times the clutch would slip and the co-driver (yes we had one) would run off in search of a stone to peg the wheel. On the way down, the brakes would overheat and we'd all stand around waiting in the mist waiting for the pads to cool. Did I mention we almost ran out of gas too....
Alas, we ferried over to Bali island. The ride only took 30 minutes, but waiting for a docking point involved another 60 minute wait. Then it was another 3 hours drive to our hotel in Kuta.
Next morning, before any of us had a chance to see the beach, we hopped onto another bus towards Kintamanti. Situated next to the volcano (and crater lake) Mount Batur (last eruption date: 1968), the plantation didn't have the scale of PTPN, but presented various processing methods for their beans. The Pulp Natural process really brought out a unique sweet note from these plump ripe berries.
The smaller scale meant more interesting coffees, but that also means it's tricky to provide Bali coffee commercially at a consistent basis. Each crop yield is so different from the last that putting it together in a retail offering like our cold brew presents unique challenges.
After cupping, we dined at the Lakeview Restaurant.... what a spectacular view.
Now that the hard part's over, and the green bean samples are in the suitcase, it's all smooth sailing from here right? Part three continues here....