Kopi Luwak, also known as civet coffee is one of the rarest and most expensive coffees in the world. However, the extremely high price (600 dollars) of this Asian specialty may not be traced back to its taste. The unique process of the production of this coffee mostly available in America and Japan weighs more in the formation of this stiff price. The processing of an average modern coffee is done by washing. During the procedure, the beans are graded, the pulp is removed and then washed and dried.
In the case of Kopi Luwak, processing was solved in a quite unique way by nature. The palm civet -a member of the Viverridae family living on the trees of Indonesia- eats the coffee bean which quits through the intestines as feces. After this, the snappy indigenous people carefully scrape out the coffee beans from the excrement of the cat.
According to John Martinez, a Jamaican coffee specialist, Kopi Luwak’s excellent, distinctive and mysterious flavor is due to the special oil-producing glandules of the cat. It is not surprising that there are a lot of counterfeits. But there are even some professionals who are able to identify the real one: just like Massimo Marcone, the professor of the Guelph University In 2002, who claims that the 50 % of Kopi Luwak coffees on the market are fake. Marcone tests the quality of coffees for Animal Caffee, a coffee distributing company.
The civet eats the ripe red colored coffee beans. Once eaten, the body can only consume the soft shell. The hard bean leaves with the cat’s feces. Kopi Luwak coffee may originate from Robusta or Arabica beans. Its flavor is mostly reminiscent of the aroma of chocolate.
The furry creature only bites off the tastiest fruits from the branches, just like a true gourmet. Several tens of thousands of years of practice assure us of not being wrong. Special coffee beans trickle down nicely and slowly through the digestive system of the mammal. The beans, however, do not dissolve as the proteins, which break into small sections, while certain substances simply disappear from it. This feline has been in fact already highly sought after in the ancient times because of the exotic-smelling secret of its glandules, which is still used in today’s trendiest scents. Thus it’s no surprise that the excrement of the civet cat became a fantastically popular article.
The terminal product produced by the Asian predator will necessarily get through thorough processing before getting on the tables of millionaires as their favorite variety. Even though the unique processing may not seem to be too inviting, still, it makes this gourmandism from the Sumatran forest one of the most sought-after luxury goods.
The original Kopi Luwak coffee is not only so expensive because it is acquired from animal feces, but also because civet cats are mostly nocturnal animals. They are hard to find, so their excrement is also circumstantial to detect. However, we cannot exclude the possibility that cheaper Kopi Luwak coffees are acquired from such palm civets that were kept imprisoned. Obviously, an animal living in circumstances of this sort can not provide such a high-quality raw material as their free-living peers. Not only their eating habits differ: there are also psychological factors conspiring.
Real professionals say that Kopi Luwak should be consumed purely, without any flavoring, as a ristretto or an espresso. The baristas also recommend to take only a small sip in the mouth for the first time along with some air that the potion may spread out on the tongue… Thus the taste buds show the characteristic acids of the coffee. After these steps, everyone can enjoy the coffee according to personal taste: in an Italian holus-bolus way, or in sips. Kopi Luwak provides many minutes of a pleasant aftertaste.
This luxury product has also appeared in „Bucket List”, the famous movie. According to the film’s story, the dying millionaire played by Jack Nicholson writes a list of things that he would like to do before he dies. One of the items on this list is the consumption of a cup of Kopi Luwak coffee, which became a real specialty and rarity among coffee lovers as for example Mark Zuckerberg or Oprah Winfrey.