If you’re looking for a unique way to experience Balinese culture and indulge in some delicious treats, high tea in Bali is the perfect choice. This tradition has been enjoyed on the island for over a century and has evolved into a popular pastime for both locals and tourists alike. In this guide, we’ll take you on a journey to discover the best high tea experiences Bali has to offer.
The History of High Tea in Bali
High tea was first introduced to Bali during the Dutch colonial era in the late 1800s. At the time, tea was seen as a luxury beverage that was reserved for the upper classes. However, as the popularity of tea grew, it became a more accessible drink, and high tea became a way for the wealthy to socialize and indulge in sweet and savory treats.
As Bali became a popular tourist destination in the 20th century, high tea became a staple of the island’s hospitality industry. Many hotels and resorts began offering high tea as a way to cater to their guests, and it quickly became a beloved tradition among both locals and visitors.
The British Influence on Balinese Tea Culture
It wasn’t just the Dutch that played a role in introducing high tea to Bali. The British also left their mark on the island’s tea culture. British expats who lived in the region would often host high tea events in their homes, and these gatherings became popular among both the expat community and locals.
The British influence can still be seen in many of the high tea offerings in Bali today. Traditional English teas, such as Earl Grey and English Breakfast, are still popular choices, and many high tea menus feature classic British treats like scones with clotted cream and jam.
The Evolution of High Tea in Bali
Over time, high tea in Bali evolved to reflect the unique Balinese culture. Balinese ingredients and influences were incorporated into the traditional English-style tea, resulting in a fusion of flavors that is truly unique to the island.
Today, many high tea menus in Bali feature local ingredients like pandan, coconut, and lemongrass. Balinese sweets like klepon and dadar gulung are often served alongside more traditional high tea treats, creating a delicious and eclectic mix of flavors.
High tea in Bali is not just about the food and drink, however. It is also a social occasion, a chance for friends and family to gather and enjoy each other’s company. Many high tea venues in Bali offer stunning views of the island’s natural beauty, making it a truly memorable experience.
The Top High Tea Venues in Bali
If you’re looking to experience high tea in Bali, here are some of the top spots you should check out:
Luxury Resorts Offering High Tea Experiences
Many of Bali’s luxury resorts offer high tea experiences that are both decadent and elegant. Enjoy a selection of fine teas and a spread of savory bites and sweet treats while taking in stunning views of the island’s beautiful scenery.
One such resort is the St. Regis Bali Resort, which offers a daily afternoon tea service in their King Cole Bar. Guests can indulge in a variety of teas, from classic blends to exotic flavors, and savor an assortment of delectable treats, including finger sandwiches, scones, and pastries. The bar’s sophisticated ambiance, with its plush furnishings and live jazz music, provides the perfect setting for a luxurious high tea experience.
Another top resort for high tea is the Four Seasons Resort Bali at Sayan. This resort offers a unique twist on the traditional high tea experience with their “Spice Spoons” program, which includes a cooking class followed by a tea tasting. Guests can learn how to prepare Balinese dishes using fresh, local ingredients, and then enjoy their creations with a cup of tea.
Unique and Quirky High Tea Spots
For something a little more offbeat, there are a number of unique and quirky high tea spots in Bali. From tea served in a treehouse to a vegan high tea experience, these venues offer a truly unforgettable tea experience.
One such spot is the Bali Tree House, which offers a “High Tea in the Trees” experience. Guests can enjoy their tea and treats while perched high up in a treehouse, surrounded by lush greenery and stunning views of the Ayung River. The menu includes a variety of teas, as well as savory and sweet bites, all made with local, organic ingredients.
Another quirky high tea spot is the Sayuri Healing Food Cafe, which offers a vegan high tea experience. Guests can indulge in a variety of plant-based treats, including raw cakes, vegan scones, and gluten-free bread, all made with wholesome, nutrient-rich ingredients. The cafe’s peaceful ambiance and beautiful garden setting make it the perfect spot for a relaxing and nourishing high tea.
Traditional Balinese High Tea Experiences
For those interested in a high tea experience that is steeped in Balinese tradition, there are a number of venues that offer traditional Balinese tea ceremonies. These events are often held in temples or other sacred locations and are a great way to learn about Balinese culture while enjoying a cup of tea.
One such venue is the Tirta Empul Temple, which offers a traditional Balinese tea ceremony as part of their spiritual cleansing ritual. Guests can participate in the ritual, which involves bathing in the temple’s holy springs and receiving a blessing from a Balinese priest, before enjoying a cup of tea and some Balinese snacks.
Another traditional Balinese high tea experience can be found at the Puri Gangga Resort, which offers a “Royal Balinese Afternoon Tea” experience. Guests can enjoy a selection of Balinese teas and traditional snacks, such as pisang goreng (fried banana) and klepon (rice cakes filled with palm sugar), while taking in the resort’s beautiful rice terrace views.
No matter what kind of high tea experience you’re looking for, Bali has something to offer. From luxurious resorts to quirky cafes to traditional Balinese ceremonies, there’s a high tea venue to suit every taste and preference.
The Art of Balinese Tea Making
Balinese tea making is an art form that has been passed down through generations. Here are some of the key components that make Balinese tea so unique:
Local Tea Varieties and Blends
Bali is known for its unique tea blends, which often incorporate herbs and spices sourced from the island. Some of the most popular tea varieties in Bali include lemongrass tea, ginger tea, and rosella tea.
Lemongrass tea is made by steeping fresh lemongrass stalks in hot water. The tea has a citrusy flavor and is often enjoyed as a refreshing drink on a hot day. Ginger tea, on the other hand, is made by boiling fresh ginger root in water. This tea is known for its warming properties and is often used to soothe an upset stomach. Rosella tea is made from the dried calyx of the rosella flower. The tea has a tart and fruity flavor and is often enjoyed as a hot or cold drink.
Traditional Tea Preparation Techniques
Balinese tea is often prepared using traditional techniques that have been used for centuries. The tea is brewed using a special teapot called a “celemek,” which is made from clay and has a spout and handle. The tea leaves are often brewed with spices and herbs for added flavor.
One traditional tea preparation technique involves adding pandan leaves to the tea. Pandan leaves are a type of tropical plant that grow in Bali and are known for their sweet and fragrant aroma. The leaves are often tied into a knot and added to the tea pot along with the tea leaves. This gives the tea a unique flavor and aroma.
The Role of Tea in Balinese Culture
Tea plays an important role in Balinese culture, and it is often served during religious ceremonies and other important events. It is believed that drinking tea has a purifying effect on the body and soul, and it is often used as a symbol of hospitality and respect.
In Balinese culture, it is customary to serve tea to guests as a sign of welcome and hospitality. The tea is often accompanied by traditional Balinese snacks, such as fried bananas or sweet rice cakes. During religious ceremonies, tea is often used as an offering to the gods, and it is believed that the act of making and serving tea is a form of prayer.
Overall, Balinese tea making is a unique and cherished tradition that has been passed down through generations. From the local tea varieties and blends to the traditional preparation techniques and cultural significance, every aspect of Balinese tea making is steeped in history and tradition.
High Tea Etiquette and Customs in Bali
High tea is a beloved tradition that has been enjoyed for centuries, and Bali is no exception. From the stunning views to the delectable treats, high tea in Bali is an experience not to be missed. However, there are certain customs and etiquette that should be observed when participating in a high tea event in Bali. Here are some helpful tips:
Dress Code for High Tea Events
High tea events in Bali are often formal affairs, so it’s important to dress appropriately. Men should wear pants and a collared shirt, while women should opt for conservative dresses or skirts. It’s also important to note that Bali is a predominantly Hindu island, so it’s best to avoid wearing revealing clothing out of respect for the local customs.
Tea Pairings and Accompaniments
The treats served alongside tea are just as important as the tea itself. In Bali, high tea often includes a selection of sweet and savory bites, such as scones, sandwiches, and traditional Balinese snacks. Balinese snacks often feature local ingredients such as coconut, palm sugar, and pandan leaves, giving them a unique and delicious flavor. When selecting your tea, it’s important to choose a variety that will complement the flavors of the accompanying treats.
Balinese Tea Ceremonies and Rituals
Finally, it’s important to be respectful of Balinese tea ceremonies and rituals. These events are often steeped in tradition and should be approached with reverence and respect. One such tradition is the use of a traditional Balinese teapot called a “teteke” which is made from clay and features intricate carvings. The teapot is often placed on a small charcoal stove, allowing the tea to simmer and infuse with flavor. Another tradition is the use of small, handleless cups called “jukut undi” which are used to serve the tea. If you’re unsure of the customs and etiquette, it’s always best to ask for guidance.
So there you have it, a glimpse into the world of high tea in Bali. Whether you’re looking for a luxurious high tea experience or a traditional Balinese tea ceremony, Bali has something to offer. Be sure to take in the stunning views and immerse yourself in the local customs and traditions. So sit back, relax, and enjoy a steaming cup of tea while taking in the beauty of this magical island.