Bury St Edmunds coffee expert Rob Butterworth discovers Bali’s hidden coffee gem
Almost the other side of the globe is the Australian’s popular holiday island destination of Bali. One of the provinces of Indonesia lesser known for coffee growing than Java or Sumatra, but as I recently discovered, an absolute gem for coffee on every level from Farm to Cup.
On arrival in Bali I stayed in an area in the south east called Seminyak. This area, although coastal, was significantly built up and unbeknown to me this area was the beginning of the discovery of a surge of trendy cafés of a style yet to grip the UK and rarely discovered in Europe.
It is said that Australia leads the way for speciality coffee and the café culture that encapsulates it. Melbourne leads the way and is regarded as 10 years ahead of Sydney, a bold statement in itself.
Yet here in SE Asia where local surfing instructors earn an average of £25 a week, I found some of the best equipment available in the world, La Marzocco & Mahlkonig espresso machines and grinders the standard, and passionate baristas to boot. From Seminyak, to Uluwatu, to Canggu,
Bali kept on giving. One of my favourite cafés from Amsterdam, Coffee & Coconuts, even had a recently-opened outlet, all showcasing the best Bali coffee had to offer, from traditional washed coffees to honeys and natural processes. Coffee Cartel though remains my top recommendation for Bali.
Chatting to baristas and owners alike, I came upon a barista whose family owned a farm in the popular growing region of Kintamani. I was invited to visit, so took the 90-minute journey on my rented 125cc moped through beautiful countryside whilst weaving through the Asian traffic.
Here I visited a well managed one hectare farm growing varieties such as Cobra, Catuai and S795 growing amongst tangerine trees at 1,200masl.
Since my return I having been working hard on bringing some of these coffees back and look to secure exclusives for delivery later in the year.
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Rob owns Butterworth & Son coffee roasters and tea smiths, based on Moreton Hall, and Guat’s Up! café in Guildhall Street.
His job takes him around the world visiting coffee farms to source great coffees.