Kopi Luwak is undoubtedly the most expensive and exclusive coffee in the world. Kopi Luwak originated in Indonesia and has seen popularity in the whole world. The most important factor of its demanding price is the uncommon method of production. It is produced from coffee beans that have been eaten, been partially digested by the Indonesian palm civet, and then excreted.
How expensive can it get, it would cost you around Rs.20,000 for a pound of Kopi Luwak. Sounds interesting, lets know about it in details.
Kopi Luwak: Origins
It often seems pretty odd to understand why someone would pick up a coffee from animal poop. The reason traces back to the 1600s when the Dutch Governor of India shipped and planted the first Arabica coffee seedling in the Dutch East Indies (now Indonesia). By 1711 coffee was abundant and exports had started making it the first country outside Ethiopia and Arabia to have coffee widely grown.
By 1830’s the prominence of the coffee had been accepted in international market and the Dutch wanted to utilize it to utmost. They established “cultuurstelsel”, a cultivation system that forbade coffee growers to harvest coffee for personal use.
It was soon that they discovered coffee beans in civet droppings and started collecting it. Out of desperation, they started collecting the palm civet droppings; cleaned, and processed it like any other coffee available. They are very safe to drink s they are processed at very high temperatures over 200 degrees Celcius, killing all the bacteria that might be present.
In Bhasa Indonesia Language, Kopi means coffee and Luwak is Civet. Hence the origin of naming a coffee from Civets
Kopi Luwak: Asian Palm Civet
This mammal is found in the jungles of Indonesia, Vietnam, Philippines, etc. They are the most important part of the Kopi Luwak chain; as they are the natural selectors of the best beans from the trees. Their digestion causes fermentation of the beans giving it a very distinctive flavor.
Kopi Luwak: From Tree to Cups
- The coffee tree has caffeine as its defense system against, it does not work against civets.
- The Asian Palm Civets eat these beans, as a natural tendency, they select the ripest berries from the tree.
- During digestion, the pulp is removed but the seed (bean) stays. Natural fermentation takes place in the stomach, giving the coffee a distinctive flavor.
- After 24 hours in the stomach, the beans are defecated and collected.
- The beans are then thoroughly washed, dried, outer layer removed, and then roasted.
- Kopi Luwak is ready.
Sevice: Best served without any addition of sugar, milk, or cream as it would overpower the delicate flavors of the coffee.
Kopi Luwak: Flavor Profile
Kopi Luwak is considered to be smooth, with musty and earthy notes, hints of chocolate, and a caramelly finish with nearly no bitterness. Its believed the bitterness is cut out by the fermentation in the stomach.
Popular Brands: Wallacea Coffee, Café Granell, Gayo Kopi, Kaya Kopi, etc.
Pro Trip: Whenever buying Kopi Luwak, make sure you check its sourcing and read a little about the company. The more natural sourcing from farms and jungles the better i.e the animals are not caged and force-fed.
Kopi Luwak is a premium combination of the efforts of nature and humans. A distinctive coffee that remains on ‘to try’ list of many enthusiasts. A true piece of history, culture and nature.
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