Would you try Civet coffee if you really knew where it came from?
Civet coffee used to average as high as $1,300 per kilo, why is that?
The hype behind the Kopi Luwak or Coffee Alamid (other names) might have brought you here right? If not, you must probably confirming if the Civet cat coffee comes from the “waste” of a cat-sized mammal that is found in South-East Asia and Southern China.
Well the answer is yes but I hope that doesn’t stop your interest in this delicious coffee, so read on.
Really, what is Civet coffee?
It is one the most rare and expensive gourmet coffee in the world, that’s why it is much coveted by coffee connoisseurs. It comes from an unusual source though, as it is from the droppings of the nocturnal Asian Palm Civet.
This Civets consume the red coffee cherries, and they usually get the sweetest and the ripest. The inner bean of the cherry isn’t digested but acquire a unique combination of enzymes breaking down the proteins that typically give coffee its bitter taste in the Civet’s stomach. But this is what gives the Civet coffee it’s excellent taste.
When the bean is defecated, villagers then pick them to wash then give them a light roast so as not to destroy any of the complex flavors it has.
Did you know?
Civets are usually seen as pests in the Philippines and are hunted for their meat.
What makes Civet coffee the most expensive coffee in the world?
There are two reasons why it’s priced this way: it’s rare and it has excellent taste.
With the demand for the Civet cat coffee growing through the years, the supply of this coffee would have to catch up. But only around 450-500 kg of Civet coffee is produced each year. This is mainly sold (exported to) in the US and Japan but slowly is being sold in other countries.
There was a time where the Civet Cat coffee was sold more than $1,000 per kilo but these days you could purchase them for around$500 per kilo.
What adds to the demand of this is that it actually has an excellent taste – none like you’ve tasted. It is very rich andstrong and has a hint of dark chocolate with hazelnuts. It also has less bitterness and has a very clean aftertaste.
So, is this Kopi Luwak or Coffee Alamid worth the hype and the price?
If you’re a true coffee lover, then trying the Civet Coffee is worth the money. But if you’re just a casual drinker of coffee then maybe a cup of this once in awhile would be nice.
To be honest, I am really not a big fan of spending a lot of money on coffee on a regular basis unless of course you have disposable income to spend on it.
Another thing, if you will be having trips to the Philippines, Indonesia or Vietnam, it would be better to try it there as it can be cheaper. While you’re in the Philippines, you might want to try their liberica coffee (Kapeng Barako).
Another question we ask is, are Civet cats really cats?
No, they’re not cats nor weasels but come from the family of Viverridae.
WHAT ON EARTH IS KOPI LUWAK?
Quite simply Kopi means coffee in Indonesian and Luwak is the name for the Civet cat. So Kopi Luwak translates to coffee cat – or coffee from the Civet cat.
Civet cats are night-time diners that spend their evenings hunting berries in our coffee plantation.
They pad along fruit bearing branches, inspect each berry, and select only those that are perfectly ripe with just the right amount of water content and acidity.
Their highly developed sense of smell means they only pick the ripest, reddest, sweetest, most perfect cherries.
And only one or two cherries from each plant are good enough. The rest are ignored. These cats are surely the world’s pickiest pickers.
But it is the civet’s unique ability to pick the perfect cherry that helps make Kopi Luwak valued above those hand picked by any human.
What is Kopi Luwak coffee?
The Kopi Luwak is a coffee whose origin is quite “interesting” the least. It is not harvested from a plantation, as is the case with most varieties of coffee, but comes from the feces of an animal : the luwak. Kopi being the word used by Indonesians to refer to coffee. The luwak is a small civet of the family viverridae native to Asia. Essentially frugivorous, it feeds on different types of fleshy fruits including ripe coffee cherry, berries, but sometimes also insects and small vertebrates.
When consuming the fruits of coffee trees, luwaks digest only the pulp, thereby throwing the intact core into their feces. It is this core that gives the kopi luwak, a coffee without bitterness and with a special aroma. The peculiarity of the aroma of this coffee comes from the chemical transformations that it undergoes in the digestive tract of the civet.
It is found mainly in parts of Indonesia where it was discovered, but also in other Asian countries such as East Timor or the Philippines. Given the way it is obtained, the kopi luwak is rare and highly sought after, its price per kilogram can reach unsuspected records, in the order of a thousand dollars.
The first thing you’ll notice about your first cup of Kopi Luwak is the aroma. It is sweeter, richer, and stronger than ordinary coffees.
Then there’s the taste. The flavour may vary slightly depending on the cat’s diet, yet it is always full bodied, bordering on syrupy.
You’ll detect delicious rich hints of caramel and chocolate, yet the finish is smooth with a clean aftertaste that lingers longer than coffee processed any other way.
But it is perhaps the lack of acidity that distinguishes Kopi Luwak from lesser coffees. There is absolutely no bitterness and no acid.
Just pure, refreshing full-bodied flavour.
‘Processing’ doesn’t get any more natural than this.
Remarkably, the cats’ intestinal enzymes and juices create the ideal process for digesting the flesh of the cherry without digesting the coffee bean.
The enzymes penetrate the husk just enough to remove the proteins in the beans. It leaves only the perfectly processed 100% natural coffee bean.
However there’s more to creating great coffee than simply allowing civet cats to eat and ‘process’ the coffee cherries to their hearts content.
We also influence the cats’ diet by planting wild native trees and shrubs, berries and jungle fruits among our coffee plantations.
The ingestion of these wild foods along with their digestive system produces unique and delicate flavors’ in the coffee.
No, we can’t say exactly which natural wild plants we influence the cats’ diets with, that is a precious secret.
But we can say with confidence that the result is the best and rarest Kopi Luwak single origin coffee in the world.
Kopi Luwak (Civet Coffee) Making/Production Process
What is the best coffee in the world? This can be a question of many coffee lovers but each may have different opinion. However, Civet Coffee (or kopi luwak) is assumed to be best coffee in the world due to its pureness. Kopi luwak is originally derived from west area of Indonesia called Sumatra but the coffee is getting famous reaching some areas worldwide. The reason this coffee reaches its popularity is due to something unique it has to offer. Let’s take a look at the entire process of producing civet coffee. A mammal called civet eats coffee beans and they are naturally fermented in the abdomen of this animal. After a couple of hours, coffee beans without outer skin come out along with feces of civet.
Local farmers then take coffee beans among feces of civet. This process sounds shabby but not as what many people think about as feces of the mammals does not have pungent smell. Like other coffees, local farmers dry coffee beans and then ground them into coffee powder. What makes kopi luwak Indonesia differs from others is that exotic and pure taste aside from having some advantages like preventing risk of oral cancer and skin cancer. Caffeine of this coffee is well known for its efficacy to protect teeth from decay due to bad bacteria.
In spite of shabby process of making civet coffee, this coffee is getting popular due to its uniqueness. According to a trustable source, civet coffee price is expensive reaching $500 per kilo. It is such an expensive price for a kilo of coffee since others usually take $4.5. In spite of its expensive price, this coffee is worth it according to some coffee lovers. This is why spending more money for a cup of luwak coffee is never a problem. The fact shows that production of civet coffee is about 3% of total coffee production worldwide. This amount is with no doubt much lower than other variants but does not make civet coffee lose its popularity.
Kopi Luwak Indonesia is absolutely the best coffee in the world.
SECRETS OF SUCCESS
Naturally there’s more to creating the world’s finest coffees than merely letting civet cats run wild in our plantations and plunder our beans while we collect their ‘scats’.
Years of meticulous and thoughtful management have taught us a lot.
Through partnership our supplier’s with the cats learned to create Luwak gardens – eco-friendly areas within the plantations that invite the cats to feast on not just coffee beans but also wild berries and fruits.
This is what helps create our unique flavor’s. And experience has taught us the best coffees come from the best gardens.
Of course such careful farming does not lend itself to mass production and our coffees are available only in strictly limited supplies.
Yet through diligent planning we have been able to introduce them to select boutique cafes and the word is spreading in coffee circles around the world.
But words are clumsy instruments to describe delicate flavor’s so we won’t even try. Instead we invite you to try Kopi Luwak for yourself and compare it to the coffee you usually drink.
Only then will you know what all the fuss is about.
The unusual origin and History of Kopi Luwak or Civet coffee:
The discovery of kopi luwak dates back to the eighteenth, when Dutch settlers planted the first coffee plantations in Indonesia. At that time, they employed mainly indigenous farmers, who were prohibited from harvesting coffee trees for their own consumption. The latter, however, having discovered that a certain palm civet fond of these precious fruits would not digest the stones and expelled them into its excrement began to collect them to discover the flavor, driven by curiosity.
The kopi luwak is “produced” by an animal named Asian Palm Civet or binturong. The common palm civet (“Paradoxurus hermaphroditus”), known also as musang in Tagalog Philipine language, is a species of carnivorous mammal or viverrids in the family Viverridae that is widely distributed in India, southern China and Indochina.
As we mentioned Kopi Luwak, the most expensive coffee in the world, is prepared using coffee beans that have been ingested by the Asian palm civet, partially digested, and collected from among their feces.
The Palm Civet or Musang is hunted in southern China for human consumption partly as Bushmeat. Indian tribes also hunt it for consumption.
In Southeast Asia, the famous coffee variety Kopi Luwak is produced with the help of the Musang. The name comes from the Indonesian word “Kopi” for coffee, “Luwak” is the native name of this animal. The civet eats the coffee cherries and excretes them almost without any of the fruit flesh left. In the digestive tract of this animal, the coffee beans are exposed to Fermentation by enzymes, which changes the taste characteristics: allegedly, a dark and full, but also somewhat musty Aroma is created.
The Spotted Musang is not yet listed as an endangered species. Nevertheless, wild catches for the industrialized Luwak coffee production put him. The animals are kept in barren cage cages (similar to battery chicken husbandry) and fed mainly with coffee berries, which leads to malnutrition, stress behaviour and a significant death rate.
History of Kopi Luwak
The history of Kopi Luwak is as rich and exotic as the coffee itself.
Back in the 17th century the Dutch East Indies Trading Company conducted a global coffee trade from the Arabica plantations in Java. In 1835, after studying the area the Dutch decided to introduce the best coffee seedlings they had to the Sumatran Highlands of Gibbon Ridge and throughout Pakantan.
This perfect environment, geographical position, altitude and climate created the best places for the best coffee beans to flourish. The result was rare, strong, black, rich, sweet coffee that became highly prized throughout Europe.
Sadly, when the Dutch East Indies Trading Company was dissolved the coffee trees were forgotten and swallowed by the jungle.
During WW11 the Indonesian coffee industry closed. Invading Japanese banned all exports including coffee and the coffee vanished.
It wasn’t until 1995 when Albert and BapakBaharruddin went looking for the lost Arabica trees that things changed. After 3 years of searching they purchased a 200 hectare plot in the Mandailing province – an ideal site for growing coffee.
Facing the right direction for sunlight, at the right altitude for the premium Arabica to thrive, it is still today a pristine place where Sumatra’s greatest rivers are born with crystal waters. It is home to more species of wildlife than anywhere on the Indonesian Archipelago and unknown species are discovered everyday – more than anywhere else on earth.
By the year 2000, with trees now reaching maturity, Bapak was resting with Albert whilst pruning the plantation border when they looked around and were surprised to find they had stumbled on Typica – the original Arabica coffee grove planted by the Dutch centuries earlier. Some of the coffee trees were now 15m tall.
Bapak and Albert immediately set up a rehabilitation scheme and over the next 7 years this hidden plantation of extremely rare coffee trees was nurtured back to vitality.
Today, the replanted Cultivator Typicathes Arabica trees once again are producing premium beans and thriving in the same soil on the original ridge where they were first planted 170 years ago.
Local Ethiopian people cleaned, roasted and crushed the coffee seeds collected in the feces of the animal before consuming the product obtained. Over time, information came to the Dutch owners, who discovered in this variety of coffee, unsuspected qualities and made it a variety of luxury.
Wild Kopi Luwak in Indonesia
A production process that has evolved over time
In colonial times, Kopi luwak was produced by harvesting exclusively the seeds released into the wild by the luwaks through their excrement. Today, the production process is more controlled. Civets are raised by man to produce the raw material of kopi luwak. This breeding is usually done on farms, pens or cages.
Animals are fed with carefully selected fruits of coffee trees. After a little more than 24 hours of digestion, they reject in their feces, seeds devoid of any bitterness, and whose aroma has been transformed.
The feces are collected by the producers, who extract the famous seeds from them, thoroughly clean them before drying. When dried, the kopi luwak is lightly toasted so that it does not lose its aroma. The final transformation gives a coffee without bitterness, with a light nutty scent and notes of dark chocolate, a treat for coffee lovers.
World production of kopi luwak today is estimated at just over half a ton per year, which makes this coffee the rarest and most expensive in the world. Much of this production comes from Sumatra, with the Indonesian island being even the largest producer in the world.
Doubts about the safety of kopi luwak removed by scientific research
What is Kopi Luwak coffee ? Complete Guide-café du monde – info-good coffee maker
Several studies have been conducted on Kopi luwak to ensure that the seed from an animal detection is suitable for consumption, but also to understand the specificities of this coffee. One was led by Massimo Marcone, a professor in the Department of food sciences at the Ontario College of agriculture, and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry in the United Kingdom.
The results show that pre-processing treatments remove almost all pathogenic organisms, making Kopi luwak safe and safe for consumption. This study also showed that the infiltration of secretions from the digestive tract of luwak into the seed causes chemical changes that are at the origin of the special scent of this coffee. The absence of bitterness is due to the fact that the seeds begin their germination in the digestive tract of the animal before being expelled.
Varieties of kopi luwak
The original Kopi luwak comes from a variety of arabica coffee that Dutch settlers had imported and then implanted in the Indonesian archipelago. Today, several varieties of coffee are grouped under the name Kopi luwak.
These are artificially obtained varieties (cultivars), and mixtures of natural varieties (robusta, arabica, liberica…) from which palm civets feed. The common feature of these varieties of kopi luwak is that they are devoid of bitterness, and have the same type of aroma.
Nevertheless, their taste varies from one variety to another, the sweetest are very often those that have undergone the lightest roasting. Some blends of kopi luwak made by coffee manufacturers also give particular scents that are not found in other varieties of coffee.
The main consumer countries of kopi luwak
The United States and Japan are the main countries where Kopi luwak is consumed. It can also be obtained by Cup in some cafes of Southeast Asia. One kilogram of this coffee is traded between 200 and 1,200 US dollars, with the most expensive variety selling just over 6,000 dollars per kilogram. Obtained from seeds collected in the droppings of wild luwaks, this one comes from Vietnam.
Between 70% and 80% of Luwak Coffee which is available at coffee stores and Internet is not 100% pure Luwak and it sometimes does not contain anything of the genuine coffee.
Do not trust in:
Cheap Prices. Considering the scarcity of the authentic product, pure Coffee Luwak cannot be sold at low prices. In fact, Coffee Luwak has an annual world production of around 500 to 700 kg, that is why it is such an expensive product.
Blended Coffee Luwak. If you are looking for pure Coffee Luwak, do not buy any product that claim to be a blended Coffee Luwak coffee. You never know how much percent of Coffee Luwak was added in the blend, sometimes only 1%, in other words, NOTHING. You will see that the blended product price is quiet cheaper in relation with the pure Coffee Luwak price.
Wholesale. Considering the scarcity of the authentic product, it is almost impossible to sell this product for massive consumption unless the product contains a lower quantity of the genuine beans of Coffee Luwak.
Certificate of Authenticity. This certificate can be true but it only certifies the sample of the Coffee Luwak coffee sent to the laboratory and not the product you will receive. Imagine sending every coffee bags of 30 grams to the laboratory, then packed and sealed there after certification. It is a difficult and expensive process, isn’t it? That is why, it is not serious the argument, which states that the coffee has been checked and approved by a famous doctor.
Guaranteed by a famous coffee gourmet. In the world, only few people have tried the genuine Coffee Luwak so it is difficult to compare taste, aroma, body, and acidity. Nobody is able to guaranty that the coffee is the genuine Coffee Luwak just by trying it.
Real Bali Coffee Luwak
Like any other expensive product, Coffee Luwak is not free from fakeness and tricky mixtures, that is why buying Luwak coffee is an act of trust to the producer.
Some people have thought to make Coffee Luwak in large quantities by having the civets in captivity. The problem is that the civet is an animal which needs territory and later may die when it does not have it. Besides this, the civet feeds itself with ripe berries, which are available only in the harvest season. This means that the animal would be unproductive the rest of the year and therefore it would need other type of food to be fed during long periods. The results of having the Luwaks in captivity have been absolutely negative.
Who said that find the true Bali Coffee Luwak is an easy task? But I must say that finding out the real aroma and taste of Coffee Luwak is a pleasant adventure. Want to try it?
Let us know if you’ve tried the civet cat coffee all right? Enjoy!