Kintamani Coffee: The Balinese Brew of a Spiritual Kind

Think of Indonesian coffee and chances are the first thing that comes to mind is kopi luwak, aka civet coffee made from beans plucked from the faeces of Asian palm civets. But there are bigger, more popular varieties that originate from Indonesia, particularly from a region named Kintamani in everyone’s favourite island getaway: Bali.

Kintamani Coffee: Origins

Kintamani Coffee comes from an area that’s located in the northern highlands of Bali. This is a place that has all the factors needed for that perfect coffee production process, including a highly favourable climate and rich volcanic soil. The lands between two main volcanoes, Batukaru and Agung, is where most of the Kintamani coffee cultivation is carried out.

The Balinese brew is a 100% Arabica, single-origin specialty coffee with an incredibly smooth body. Its signature taste really shines thanks to the handful of family farmers in Kintamani who take the time to pick the coffee cherries one by one from their coffee trees, many of which are decades-old.

The ‘Tri Hita Karana’

There’s something really intriguing about coffee grown by these family farmers in the Kintamani region, and it’s all got to do with the ‘Subak Abian’ farming system.

Go organic and try Kintamani Coffee today. Photo from Sabri Tuzcu

The Subak Abian refers to a way of farming (or a ritual or system, if you will), and it is based on the ‘Tri Hit Karana’ philosophy, which has its roots in Hinduism. ‘Tri Hit Karana’ translates to “the three sources of prosperity”, and the belief focuses on the significance of a healthy, harmonic relationship between man and God, man and fellow man, as well as man and the environment. In other words, the Kintamani farmers take this concept to heart and essentially refrain from the use of pesticides, insecticides, and other harmful chemicals to produce coffee beans in a natural, organic way that’s eco-friendly.

Tasting notes

The first thing that hits you is the aroma – citrusy, full-bodied, and oh-so-delightful. Then comes the taste. Fruity, chocolatey, and with subtle hints of other familiar flavours, including caramel and brown sugar – it’s a wonderful combination that ultimately gives you a coffee that can only be described as voluptuous and lush.

The distinctive tartness of Kintamani Coffee can be attributed to the fact that most of the plantations grow their coffee together with citrus fruits, and this in turn results in a drink that’s fruity with a sweet, almost syrupy aftertaste. Also, here’s a fun fact for you light sleepers: don’t worry about downing a cup of Kintamani during tea time and losing sleep at night – the brew’s caffeine levels are naturally low, making it a good afternoon pick-me-up.

Where to find it

If you’re not travelling all the way to Kintamani to taste the magical cuppa joe, then ordering it online is your next best bet. Order from stores like Pelan Beans and Seniman Industries, or go the commercial route and sample Coffee Bean Singapore’s Bali Blue Moon.