Ubud is an area of Bali that is located in the middle of the island, lies between the oceans and mountains that surrounds Bali. It lies between the imagined and the real, perhaps this is why it feels like Ubud still contains a little bit of the Old Bali magic left. For most that come to Bali, the centre of parties and nightlife in Seminyak or Kuta is probably the first choice but for some Ubud is the epicentre of all things cultural and artistic. In the middle of Ubud you have the busy main roads and luxury resorts which is surrounded by endless views of the rice paddies, it is more of a getaway from the workday lifestyle that most of us have rather than just a pure fun holiday. This also transfers directly to the cafe culture in Ubud, it was less of a to go coffee experience but rather a sit and relax kind of vibe. And one cafe in particular that caught my eye is Seniman Coffee Studio, which was started in 2010 by two aussies, Rodney Glick and David Sullivan. Seniman in Bahasa means “Artist”, the art of coffee, the art of Ubud?
What is it about this cafe that I love? It combines the culture and art of modern coffee with the traditional Balinese culture. The modern design of the cafe will catch your eye immediately especially when travelling in Indonesia can attune your eyes to the glaring fluorescent lights everywhere. This cafe’s ample amount of warm natural light will calm your eyes while you relax for a few hours. At front there are two spots of snug little outdoor balcony, and step through the wooden doors you’ll find Seniman’s brewing bar, a wooden tabletop equipped with coffee lab apparatuses. Behind the bar is a blackboard displaying diagrams of ‘The Architecture of Coffee’ showing visitors that they are not kidding about coffee. There are plenty of seating as well as a communal table where I saw plenty of people just hang back and work while drinking their coffee.
They serve all kinds of coffee from the usual espressos all the way to the more recently popular filtered coffees. All coffee orders are served on a uniquely designed wooden trays with inserts on them for the cup to sit on. On the board you will receive the ordered coffee, a glass of water and a serving of Balinese cake treats. The moment I saw how they serve their coffee, I understood that coffee here is meant to be enjoyed slowly as we enjoy other things around us. The rocking chairs that you sit on in this cafe further promotes that idea, this modified plastic chairs fixed with curved wooden legs that have now become somewhat of the cafe’s icon. Seniman combines this serving of modern coffee with a selection of Indonesian Cuisines on the menu but with a twist.
I saw a cool quote on the board that day that states “The imagined becomes real, and the real becomes art.” Not as too sure what it was supposed to be pointing at but somehow quite accurate at what Ubud is all about. It presents to internationals and locals of what Bali was and supposedly of what Bali could still be like in the future.
If you’re looking for more than a great cup of Java while in Ubud, simply wander off the busy main road and into Jalan Sriwedari. There are so many kinds of coffee to choose from, both iced or hot, beans are either blends or single origins from the areas of Sumatra, Sulawesi, Bali, Java and Papua.