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The Case of the W Bali and the $13 Coffee

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  Site Where: Jalan Petitenget, Seminyak, Bali, Indonesia
April 25, 2012 at 5:02 PM | by | ()

Kopi Luwak. Sound familiar? You've likely heard it mentioned in a documentary or by your coffee snob friend, because this "Kopi Luwak" stuff is well known to be one of the rarest, most expensive coffees in the world (and it used to be the rarest).

Luwak coffee owes all these superlatives to how it's produced: an Indonesian civet (like a possum) eats a certain type of coffee berries. Its digestive system digests the meat of the berry, adds enzymes to the bean inside, and then poops out the bean. These beans are then collected, cleaned and sterilized, roasted and ground into coffee powder.

Kopi Luwak is definitely one of those bucket list items; actually we believe it's even featured in the movie "The Bucket List." Go figure.

At coffee shops around the world, occasional bags of the rare stuff find their way into stock, going for $40-$60 per cup. In Bali, Indonesia however, the "cat poo coffee" is far easier to come by and you can even find individual baggies of the powder for $2. The W Retreat and Spa Bali, being a fancy schmancy hotel, both offers it on their bar menu and marks it up to 120,000 IDR ($13 per cup).

Since we were in Bali last week, we of course had to drop into the W to discover what all the hoopla over this newish property was about. We strolled around the terraced pools, poked around the hotel's modern art gallery and finally worked up enough of a sweat just being in the sun that we found refuge on a lounge bed outside the lobby bar.

We went for it. The Kopi Luwak would be ours.

The W's preparation of the infamous coffee is simple. Pour the single serving of the powder into a glass mug, add boiling water, stir. There's no filtering out the powder as it just ends up as silt in the bottom of the glass. A coconut cookie accompanies the drink.

So, did we like it? Well, it didn't taste like crap, we'll say that. The coffee acidity was gone and the brew was noticeably thicker, much like a proper Turkish coffee, but we wouldn't want it every morning (especially not for $13 per cup!).

[Photos: Cynthia Drescher for HotelChatter]

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