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Satria coffee and tea plantation: Bali, Indonesia

This rainy, cloudy morning I am sitting on my sofa in my pajamas, without makeup (don’t judge me), drinking Mangosteen tea.  This delicious warm beverage immediately brought back memories from our visit to Bali, Indonesia, just a little over a year ago.

I don’t think I’ve blogged much about our trip to Indonesia yet, with the exception of writing about our sunrise climb up volcanic Mount Batur.  Anyways, on a day trip we took, we visited a coffee and tea plantation that grew all of their own organic produce to make tea and coffee.

I had not been feeling very well all morning, which was especially uncomfortable in the car and in the Bali heat, but this stop was a nice break for me.  Tucked back in Taman Village sat Satria tea and coffee plantation.

Satria

We walked through their entirely organic gardens and admired all the beautiful flowers and fruit trees.  Our guide pointed out many different kinds of plants that they use: vanilla, cocoa, coffee beans, coconut, mangosteen, rosella, papaya, starfruit, banana, lemongrass, ginseng, etc.

In addition to all of these plants, there were also many pretty and colorful flowers.

We walked up to this little terrace overlooking acres of forest and plants that were a part of the plantation.  We sat down and a woman brought us a platter full of different teas and flavors of coffee in these cute little glass cups.

serving us coffee

view from the terrace

The lovely view from the terrace

 

Sitting in the shaded, covered area, sipping these different teas and coffees was really refreshing.  We really enjoyed the different flavors that we tasted.  From top to bottom, left to right, we tasted: ginseng coffee, coconut coffee, moccacino, vanilla coffee; hot cocoa, saffron tea, mangosteen tea, and regular Bali coffee; lemongrass tea, rice tea, ginger tea, and rosella tea. Our favorites were the Ginseng coffee, the lemongrass tea rosella tea and the Mangosteen tea.

together

Most of the fruits or flavors above were familiar to us (although our guide Wayan did have to show us a lot of the plants), but Mangosteen and Rosella were new.  I looked up each of them and you can see them here.

mangosteen

This is what Mangosteen looks like.

 

The Rosella plant (above) and what the fruit actually looks like

After we had finished sampling the coffees and teas above, we ordered some Luwak coffee, but I’ll write more about that in a second post.  Before we left, we had the opportunity to go by their store.  We liked some of the teas and coffees so much that we bought some to bring back to China with us.  One of the teas we bought was in this cute little container, which we kept as a souvenir and is now sitting on my bathroom shelf below a picture that we also purchased in Bali.

Bali container

Anyways, this was one of our favorite stops on our day trip!  We recommend visiting this plantation if you’re ever in Bali!

 
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Posted by on May 20, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

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Kinatmani, Bali

Set amidst the backdrop of Bali, Indonesia lies Mt. Batur, one of Bali’s active volcanoes. During our second day of sight-seeing, Trent and I had lunch at a lovely restaurant overlooking this gorgeous landform. Arrayed in hues of deep green, blue, and black, the volcano stands proudly next to the freshwater lake Batur that lies glistening at its side. Welcome to Kintamani, Bali, a lovely town with a killer view.

kintamani

It was suggested to us early on, that if we were going to go to Bali, one of the things that we should do is climb this volcano. Neither Trent nor I had ever climbed a volcano before; mountains, yes, volcanoes, no. So we put it on our list of possible expeditions and began to look into it. Since our time in Bali would be short, we decided (as usual) to pack as much activity into our trip as we possibly could.
Our day began with our tour guides picking us up from our hotel. After watching a traditional Balinese dance and visiting all sorts of cool artistic, sacred and natural places (coffee plantations, rice terraces, temples, painters…), we headed out for this epic adventure. Our day tour was long and full- 11 hours of sightseeing and traveling, and to top it all off, I really didn’t feel well. We arrived back at our hotel around 9:00pm and had planned to hit the road right away. We had been told that Kintamani was about 2 hours away from where we were staying in Seminyak. We asked the staff at our hostel to find us a ride, and we discovered that a taxi was going to cost us an arm and a leg (about 60+ USD), so one of our workers called her brother to see if he would be willing to drive us. He was, and he would only charge us 600,000 rupia instead of the 700,000+ that a taxi would cost. The only catch… he lived an hour away. After much debate, we figured we might as well wait for her brother and catch a ride with him.
He arrived with his girlfriend/wife in tow and we hit the road. I tried to sleep while we were in the car knowing that sleep would be scarce and that we would be hiking soon, but the road was very windy and it was nearly impossible to sleep. After about 2 and a half hours, we were in Kintamani… but we had trouble finding our hotel. At this point it was nearly 12:30am… the tour to hike the volcano was going to pick us up at 3:30am. We weren’t going to get much sleep! When we finally found the place, everything was dark and locked up. We rang the bell, called the office, and made as much noise as humanly possible. It was much colder here and we had all of our luggage- sleeping outside under the covered restaurant wasn’t ideal, but it looked to be our only option. We tried to get our ride to leave us so that they could get back home, but in true Balinese form, they had to make sure we were okay and situated before they left. Thankfully they hung around, because I guess we finally made enough noise to rouse the owner and his wife (and at least one cranky neighbor…oops!). He came out and they translated for us that we had already booked and paid for the night at their hotel, could we please get our room? He groggily fished out a key for us and we dragged our tired selves to our beds. The hotel was nice enough, very simple, but efficient. The only problem we had was that after a full day of sightseeing, our phones and my camera were all on their last leg of power. The hotel didn’t have a single converter so we couldn’t plug in any of our electronics. This meant we would have to be frugal with pictures as we climbed the volcano (Noooooooooo….this is something that I am definitely NOT good at!). We climbed into bed just as the clock hit 1:30am and decided to try to sleep for the hour and a half before we’d have to get back up and ready to climb.
BEEP, BEEP, BEEP. Cursed alarm! 3:00am came way too soon. We got dressed and layered up because we had been told that it gets very cold at the top of the volcano in the morning. Then we went outside to meet our ride. We didn’t wait for long before the car came to pick us up. We climbed in alongside an Aussie couple, Laura and Steve, and drove the 10-15 minutes to the foot of Mt. Batur.

the group

It was here that we met our guide, Wayan. This is the third Wayan we had met on our short trip. We learned that Wayan is the name that they give all of the firstborn boys in Bali. He equipped us with flashlights and we hit the road. My stomach was still feeling pretty unsettled but I prayed for grace as we began our ascent. Everything was pitch black except for the starlight above us and the flashes of lightning that momentarily lit up the sky. We began to climb in silence, with only the bobbing flashlights to follow. The trek began through sand and then turned much steeper as we began climbing the actual mountain. As we climbed, we were serenaded by crickets’ songs and peals of thunder. Up ahead and behind us, and all along the volcano, we could see small bobbing orbs of light, illuminating the way to the top. The climb itself was exhausting (maybe more so because I was sick). We took short, frequent breaks to catch our breaths, and then continued our trek. Sunrise was supposed to happen around 6:20am, so we had a little over 2 hours to get up to the viewing platform. Our group powered through it and arrived ahead of schedule. By this point, my stomach was really hurting and I wasn’t feeling so good. While we rested, Wayan went to cook us breakfast- eggs hard boiled in the volcano itself (apparently it makes a good oven), and warm banana sandwiches (different, but not too bad). I ate what I could stomach and tried to drink plenty of water.

waiting

breakfast

There were some young boys at the top, maybe 10 or 11 years old, who also climbed the mountain in the morning, except each with a haversack full of Coke and Sprite to sell. They weren’t the light, plastic bottles either, these were the heavy duty, glass ones. Trent bought me a sprite, hoping it would calm my stomach, and drank a Coke for himself (I know… those are probably the worst things we could drink after climbing and sweating so much). I choked mine down and went off to the bushes to try and take care of some business. I made my way back and as we waited, more people filtered in and we all sat down, hoping for an epic sunrise. Unfortunately for us, it was cloudy and rainy our entire time on Bali. The clouds made for an unimpressive sunrise, but it didn’t matter because the view of the lake and the city from the top was amazing.

sunrise

top

looking back

It got even better when a bunch of monkeys meandered over. Now we had encountered some monkeys the day before that were unfriendly and aggressive to say the least, so we proceeded with caution with these ones. But it turns out that these monkeys were very gentle and friendly. Apparently the guides feed them often and know that they are pretty safe to be around. First they showed one person how to feed the monkeys, and pretty soon everybody was trying it. So Trent and I jumped on that bandwagon, seeing as monkeys are one of my favorite animals. We fed the monkeys pieces of banana and hard boiled egg and enjoyed watching them frolic around the area.

monkey

monkey2

Mt. Batur

Eventually, Wayan rounded us up to go see the crater(s). The first one was the largest one. It was made by the volcano’s first eruption and it was HUGE. As we were looking at the craters, more monkeys happened on by. Trent had saved some extra eggs and had more to feed these guys. He ended up having several different monkeys on him (not all at the same time) and I got a turn too. It was pretty awesome.

t feeding the monkey

t monkey

A- monkey

Then Wayan took us to see the other craters on the volcano. He told us much of the volcano’s history. During the first eruption, the volcano killed 200 people in a town below. All that survived was one lonely temple on the outskirts of the lava flow- they now call this temple the “Lucky Temple.” Other than those people, there have only been a few other fatalities- a German couple who went hiking without a guide ended up in the wrong place at the wrong time because of an eruption, and one stupid lady fell into the crater after going foolishly close. She fell over 200m to her death. Then our small group trekked across the mountain to see a series of other craters left by previous eruptions, the most recent being in 2000. Wayan dug some shallow holes in the ground and we could see the steam and feel the heat rising off of them.

biggest crater

crater smoke

crater2

craters

hiking between craters

trent and I

By the time we started back down the mountain, it was well after 8:00am. We had another 2 hour descent ahead of us and my stomach was screaming at me. Unfortunately, it made for a less enjoyable walk. We stopped to dump the sand out of our hiking boots and then started down. Most of the terrain wasn’t too steep, but when we hit the road (which was a different way than we had come up), it was super steep. Wayan started walking backwards and then we all followed, then he started snaking back and forth and again, we all followed. It was a comical parade of crazies descending down the mountain that morning. We all laughed about it.

descent

Finally we made it to the bottom, and to a BATHROOM! Hallelujah! Being stomach sick on vacation is bad enough, but when you are climbing a volcano, it is even worse! We chatted with Laura while we waited for our ride back and found out that she just got engaged… like JUST got engaged. Steve had somehow stolen her away and popped the question on the top of the volcano at sunrise. How romantic, right? So we rejoiced with them and then chatted for the short ride back to our hotel. When we got there we ate a quick breakfast (I just tried to choke down some fruit) and then showered and tried to sleep for another hour or so before we had to check out of our hotel. On to our next adventure… Amed.

 
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Posted by on March 14, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

Luwak coffee: cat-poo-chino

In my previous post about Satria tea and coffee plantation, I wrote about the different kinds of teas and coffees that we were able to try when we were on a day trip in Bali, Indonesia.  But what I didn’t write about was the Copi Luwak coffee.

I never knew about Luwak coffee until I saw the movie The Bucket List with Jack Nicholson.  In the movie, he loves this coffee; after all, it is the MOST EXPENSIVE coffee in the world.  It sells for about $100 dollars a pound or in some expensive restaurants, $50 dollars a cup.  So when we were given the opportunity to try it, we said… yes.

Why the hesitation?  Well here’s how Luwak coffee is made… there’s this little critter called a civet, or as the natives call him, a luwak.  He’s pretty cute, as you can see below.

What’s not as cute is that he eats the ripest coffee cherries he can find and then while they are in his stomach they go through a fermentation process and then are passed out of the body through defecation.  From Wikipedia:

Producers of the coffee beans argue that the process may improve coffee through two mechanisms, selection and digestion. Selection occurs if the civets choose to eat cherries. Digestive mechanisms may improve the flavor profile of the coffee beans that have been eaten. The civet eats the cherries for the fleshy pulp, then in the digestive tract, fermentation occurs. The civet’s protease enzymes seep into the beans, making shorter peptides and more free amino acids.  Passing through a civet’s intestines the cherries are then defecated with other fecal matter and collected.

Why would anyone drink this then???  (And who the heck came up with the idea to try coffee from fecal matter???)  Apparently, this process is supposed to make the coffee more flavorful.  Is it dangerous, you might ask, since it’s literally been pooped out?  The short answer is no.  Even though the beans have passed through the civet’s stomach and digestive system, they have not been opened or otherwise compromised in any way.  Once they are pooped out, they are still like any other coffee bean.  They are cleaned, then roasted, and then voila- Luwak Coffee!

They showed us each step and explained the whole process- from seed to coffee.  From the poop (as you can see above), they clean the beans and then roast them.  Once they are roasted, they hand grind them to make the coffee.

Anyways, after our complimentary samples of the different teas and coffees they had, we decided to try a cup.  After all, “When in Bali…”  Normally, this kind of coffee retails for a very high price, and well, let’s be honest, Trent and I are “cheap.”  But it turns out that when you’re at the actual source, the coffee is not so expensive.  We ordered one cup of Luwak coffee, which their menu cleverly calls “Catpoochino,” for 50,000 Indonesian Rupia, which is the equivalent to about $3.70 USD.  For that price, why not try one of the most famous coffees in the world?  We knocked that one off the bucket list (as if it were ever on there).

catpoochino.PNG

Our overall consensus- not quite our “cup of tea,” well, coffee anyways.  I’m not really a coffee drinker in the first place, so I prefer a more mild brew (with a lot of sugar) when I do drink it.  This was a stronger coffee that was much bolder than my preference.  Trent IS a coffee drinker, but it wasn’t his favorite either.  We enjoyed some of their flavored coffees much more than this one.  But we don’t regret trying it, and we will always remember Bali and our catpoochino!  Would you try it?

 

 

 
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Posted by on May 20, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

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Christmas letter 2015

christmas card

2015 in review…

This was our second year living and teaching in Qingdao, China. Trent and I were lucky enough to be able to co-teach Kindergarten and Pre-K this year (Trent also helped with 1st grade). We had a wonderful, fun-filled year of learning and were blessed with amazing students and families! Trent and I coached the varsity girls’ basketball team for our second season and were also in charge of organizing this year’s talent show. Ending on such a high note made it hard to leave our friends and colleagues at QISS. If you’d like to learn more about our school year, check out my teacher website at: http://mrsangieskinderclass.zohosites.com

IMG_4904

basketball team

In February we found out that we were pregnant!!! Trent and I were so excited to be welcoming a baby into our family. Just before leaving Qingdao, we found out we were having a boy!

T and A looking down

As far as International travels go, we took our first trip over (last) Christmas and New Years to the Philippines and Vietnam. We rented a motorcycle and rode around the island of Palawan and did some island hopping before visiting Boracay where we went horseback riding, swam at the beach and I became a mermaid. We spent our time in Vietnam in the northern region, visiting Hanoi and the beautiful Halong Bay. A few weeks later we visited Harbin, China to see the world famous Snow and Ice Festival. In February we traveled to Beijing again with our girls’ basketball team for our 2nd annual ACAMIS appearance (Association of Chinese and Mongolian International Schools). Other travels this year included a trip over Chinese New Year to Malaysia and Indonesia. In Malaysia we visited some good friends from San Antonio that teach internationally in Kuala Lumpur. We also visited the oldest rainforest in the world, Taman Negara. After that, we went to Bali where we rode camels, climbed a volcano and spent some time by the beach. In June we traveled back to the United States of America, making our final return from our adventures in Asia.

Domestic travels included a visit to see my family in Minnesota for several weeks before returning to our home in San Antonio, TX. During our time there, we were blessed to be able to see and spend time with some good friends from China (Sing it with me now, “It’s a small world after all…”). We were able to attend our friend’s wedding in Iowa as well as spend a weekend of fun at our friend Warren’s house in Two Harbors. Back in Texas, we visited Dallas and Georgetown to visit some of our best friends from China as well as some family.

DSC00904

Time with my family in MN

When we returned to San Antonio in July, Trent started looking for a job. We are thankful to report that he was hired at Windcrest Elementary school in North East Independent School District. He began work in August. I am lucky enough to be able to stay home with our little guy this year. One of the blessings of living abroad was that we were able to pay off all of our debt (Yay)! This has allowed me to stay at home for this season of life. I will be looking into teaching Spanish courses for home school students this next year.

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The biggest news of the year is that we welcomed our baby boy, Jedidiah James, into the world on the morning of November 15th, 2015. We absolutely love being parents and couldn’t adore our little boy any more. We look forward to visiting his grandparents, great grandparents, aunts and uncles in Minnesota this Christmas season. Baby boy will be well traveled as he has already taken a road trip to Dallas and Austin to visit friends and family. We were also very blessed to have had several baby showers thrown for us – in China, Minnesota, and Texas. Trent and I are very grateful that this baby of ours is so loved by so many all around the world!

Wishing you and your family a Christmas season that’s merry and bright. “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given… and he shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” Thank God for the grace that came through a sweet baby boy over 2,000 years go! A merriest CHRISTmas to you!

With Love, the Logsdons

 

 

 
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Posted by on December 21, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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