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Coffee Paradise in Ubud, Bali

My first visit to Ubud in central Bali, Indonesia was 5 years ago, mainly to check out it’s world-renowned spa and wellness scene.  The Bali massage, which you can find everywhere you turn in Ubud, is a wonderful combination of relaxing and restorative. The local people are sweet and there is a huge artistic community with beautiful statues, homes, gardens and rice paddies all around. Little wonder that is a super popular destination. 

On the minus side, 5 years ago the coffee selection was fairly bleak.  It was difficult to find anything other than the traditional Bali coffee, which is simply hot water poured over finely ground Robusta coffee, stirred in the cup,with no filtering. There is nothing subtle about it;  the taste is strong, it is high in caffeine and will certainly put hair on your chest.. It is fine occasionally but gets boring, especially when I  know Indonesian coffee has a whole rainbow of flavour possibilities.  I heard that there were major developments on the Ubud coffee scene and my main mission this trip was to check it out.  Follow along on my fantastic journey into what I now consider coffee paradise.

Kahiyang Anjuna 

I love the ‘whalecome’ sign

My first evening in Ubud I took a long walk, finding some local food and continuing on to scout for interesting coffee shops I had heard about. I walked and walked for at least an hour until I arrived at one of the major intersections, with a huge statue marking it.  I decided that was far enough for this evening but before turning around and heading back, I took a good look around at the shops on this corner and luckily I spied Kahiyang coffee. It wasn’t one one of the shops on my list but it certainly looked inviting before my long walk home.

Pak Iwan doing his Rok Presso thing
Pak Iwan is the friendly man who runs this shop with great passion.  He calls it a manual brew studio.  I watched with fascination as he pulled an espresso shot with his manual Rok Presso machine. There is a coffee roaster sitting prominently in the shop and it seemed to be in action on most of my visits, roasting good locally grown beans . The beans are very good value and I stocked up before leaving Bali. I had a good piccolo latte and the chocolate brownies are sensational. I asked Pak Iwan business hours and he said with a smile from 7 AM until they sleep, which can be quite late depending on the crowd.   

Address: Jl Raya Andong No. 1

Open: Daily 7AM until late

Ubud Coffee Roastery

This one was easy for me to find as it was conveniently located across from my favourite massage.  They serve espresso and pourovers. I had the pourover with Toraja beans and it  was quite enjoyable, good deal  for only 25k. They roast beans from all around Indonesia and were hand sorting through green  beans from Sumatra when I was there. They sell the beans quite affordably, average of 75k for 250g.  They also sell cacao powder and drinks.  There is air-con though I recommend going earlier in the day as they get strong afternoon sun. 

Address: Jl Goutama
Open: Daily 8 AM – 4 PM

Juria House

My favourite, this small shop specializes in coffee from Flores, including a very rare typica variety that Juria House has played  a key role in preserving.  Coffee is pourover (25-30k) and there is a good dessert selection as well as local crafts on offfer.  I would say the Juria special coffee was the best I had in Ubud, the taste is clean, bright and sweet with a nice long finish. The home-roasted beans are for sale, expect to pay accordingly for this outstanding coffee. 
Rumour has it that Ryuichi-san, the humble Japanese man who operates Juria, is perhaps the most interesting man in Ubud. The crowd is  friendly, hip and tend to be very into their coffee.
Juria House

Yummy desserts here too

Address: Jl Sugriwa No. 3

Open: Daily 10 AM – 5 PM , closed Sunday

Gangga Coffee

Stylish and super-comfy layout with air-con throughout. It reminded me of the chic cafes in Penang They have a slow bar with various single origin options.  I had a good long black. The baristas love coffee and kindly offered me a sample brew of one (my choice) of the many different samples friends had left them.

These baristas really enjoyed preparing and drinking good coffee
Trust me, this is a mighty fine selection of Indonesian brews

Address: Jl Raya Andong No. 11
Open: Daily 8 AM – 8 PM 

Seniman Coffee 

The flavour wheel to help guide you through the many options

This is one of the first 3rd wave cafes in Ubud and it has grown into a giant, taking up many building for different facets of the operation.   The atmosphere is electric at peak times with a beehive of barista activity behind the bar. They have a wide array of beans from around the world and seem to have every coffee making device known to man. The knowledgeable and enthusiastic baristas are  willing to talk you through the plethora of options. First time I had a pourover with beans from Toraja, most enjoyable.  I was sitting up  at the bar, where the staff kindly offered samples of a couple other brews they were trying, bonus!  The cost of my pour over was 41k, about the highest in Ubud but fairly worth it. They also sell a big selection of roasted beans at  premium rates.

Address: Jl Sriwedari No. 5
Open: Daily 8 AM – 10 PM 

There you have it, these few shops kept me interested and marvelously caffeinated for a good 10 days in Ubud ( I meant to stay a week but kept extending:-). I was blown away by the changes from 5 years ago but why the big transformation?  My friend James, the Java Nomad, spent a fair bit of time there  and offered  some insight.   Bali grows it’s own good coffee but it is also in the center of Indonesia, surrounded by world renowned coffee islands such as Flores, Sulawesi, Sumatra and Java. To get the coffee over to Bali from these islands takes minimal time and expense with no customs inspections required and no weeks or months in shipping containers.   There are now many local coffee roasters so you get the beans as fresh as can be. Therefore geographically, Ubud is perfectly situated to become coffee paradise.. Add to this the worldwide increase in coffee popularity (the third wave) and the fact Bali is fairly overrun with Western tourists and it is easy to see why the scene has really taken off.
Indonesia has been producing great coffee for export  for hundreds of years,how great is it that there is a sweet little city where you can now taste the best of it.  Coffee in the morning, Bali massage in the afternoon, who could ask for more.

Getting there/away
From Kuta North, I ordered a Grab car, only 100k to  get dropped at my guesthouse, Kenari House on the outskirts of Ubud. 

I left Ubud for Gili Air, booking with Permata travel for 275k one way.  The trip went like this: left on minibus Ubud 11AM, arrive at harbour 12:10,  depart on Wahana fast boat 13:45, arrive at Gili Air 15:45 with one stop at Gili T.

Waroeng Adji Ubud- Local prices with a chilled vibe.. There are many duck dishes and lamb-fried rice.  Crispy duck was very good 55k.
Babi Guling Payangan  Buk Ari- Mostly locals here with good, affordable babi guling (crispy barbecue pork). I had the babi guling special which has extra meat/skin for 47k

Kenari House-  Great room with comfy bed.   It is on the edge of rice paddy on a really beautiful street. It is nice walk to Ubud center but note it takes close to 1 hour. Breakfast is not included but recommended for only 25k. Also can get nasi goreng in the evening, really good.  Bookable on AirBnb..  If you haven’t already, for goodness sake, sign up on AirBnB for great finds like this.You can use my link and we will both get some savings.

Kubu Taman – Moved here when Kenari House got fully booked. I booked the 
room the day before but due to a slight mix up, I never did stay there. The host Ajik still took great care of me , checking in on me and giving me food/drinks over the next few days. They put me up the road at Gusti Homestay  which was quieter and alright but not a champion host like Ajik.


Nur Massage –  Nur is trained beyond Balinese massage and definitely goes more to the root of the issue. She really loosened up my lower back.  More expensive then most at 150k per hour but worth it.  Note she tended to arrive for the appointment 15 minutes late, you can always wait and relax at Ubud Coffee Roastery  or the warung next door. No shower here but possible to wash your feet out back if needed. Close to Taksu Spa, phone 081 338 902 667 whatsapp


Exchange- At the time of my trip the rate was about 10,000 rupiah = $1 CDN
Coco Oil-Nyuh Bali had good quality virgin coconut oil.  The shop is located close to the Royal palace, just up the street from Ibu Oka babi guling
ATMs- At CIMB and Maybank , you can withdraw up to 3,000,000 rupiah in one transaction.  Make sure to use the ATMs attached to a bank as they are more secure. Apparently Ubud is infamous for card-skimming.             

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Brad the Nomad

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