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Things I Miss About Living in Bali But is Probably Not the Same During the Pandemic: Coffee Shops Edition (Part 1)

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Back to this nostalgic series, last week’s entry made me reminisce a lot of spaces in Denpasar. But then I realized that I kind of defeat the purpose of the series itself – which is to see it from the pandemic point of view.

That being said, let’s trace back a little and discuss something that’s way too obvious (and probably should have been done since the start). Yep, let’s talk about coffee shops. We’ve discussed Denpasar last week, I’m gonna give you a break and talk about Kuta now.

Why Kuta? Because having worked there for three years (plus, having many friends living in the area), I’ve come to feel at home there. Especially with the rise of third-wave coffee brewers around the same period. Also, compared to Seminyak’s glam, Sanur’s solemnity, and Canggu’s extreme growth, Kuta’s colorful neighborhood is really a treasure of its own. 

The first obvious choice for my list is Espress Coffee House, right at the bustling Dewi Sri street. Its semi-outdoor setting, industrial-ish interior, and quirky artsy decor make this the perfect group meetup spot.

Just a few steps away in the same street, there’s the legendary Sensa Koffie, which is more than just a coffee shop. The Sensa brand is also known as coffee roasters and suppliers for many F&B businesses around Bali and East Java. We wouldn’t dare to doubt their coffee’s quality, but it’s their Indonesian food menu that is surprisingly amazing. 

And speaking of quality roasters, Domba Coffee is in the same neighborhood. The processing factory has a small and quiet coffee shop in front and it’s the most lovely thing. It only has a small number of seats and is filled with Japanese books and the factory’s products, complete with murals, colorful pillows and souvenirs.

Moving on to the calm and cool riverside Kresna road, we can find Whale & Co. – probably the one that defines the third wave coffee movement. Moderately tucked in, designed to be cozy for serene afternoon sips, thematically decorated, and idealistic in their brews. An instant favorite among my introvert coffee-drinking friends.

Lastly, we go to the alleys of Legian, park our motorcycle as neatly as possible, and enter the raw rusticness of Crumb & Coaster. As if built inside a war-ridden post-apocalyptic space, the exposed brick walls and roof trusses add more to the charm – especially when your coffee and breakfast meals are as good as their creations.

In the pandemic, I can imagine that their biggest pivot would mean shifting the business online. Delivery services and having family-size bottles are the main thing for coffee brands. Domba has not posted anything on their social platforms since last year, but their beans are available for online orders – the latter goes for Sensa as well. The indie hub Espress surprisingly already opened their second shop in Canggu. C&C apparently has gone through renovations and they appear like a shop more now than ever. As for Whale, I assume with their own quirks, is still surviving the best way they can. I hope on my next visit to the island, I could still take a sip or two in each one of them.

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