Sounds familiar? To some people, it would. To some, it is totally strange.
The kopi luwak coffee is one of the strange and specialized coffees in the world. Some people even regard the kopi luwak as the best type of coffee in the world.
What makes this coffee special? And why do some people prefer it over other types of coffee? We’d jump right in and examine the Kopi Luwak coffee.
What Makes the Kopi Luwak coffee Different?
The kopi luwak is like every other type of coffee in that the Arabica Coffea plant is cultivated, but what makes it different is where it is grown. The kopi luwak coffee is peculiar to Indonesian farmers.
That is the first thing that separates the kopi luwak from the other types of coffee. The next thing is that a unique Indonesian animal consumes the coffee cherries, the Asian palm civet, also known as the Luwak; they are similar to cats and roam around Bali – a province in Indonesia.
When the cherries of the Coffea plants are ripe, the Luwak eat them and then excrete them. I know, it’s kinda gross thinking that people would drink this, but that’s not the best part.
The enzymes in the digestive tract of the Luwak gradually digest the cherries removing the flesh, the trash and making them a bit fermented. The Luwak can either be wild ones or the tamed and caged ones.
After the luwaks have ingested the coffee cherries and partially digested them, they excrete them, and then workers gather the excreta to handpick the beans from the faeces (I don’t want to say poop).
The workers gather the beans, wash them, and then roast them like the regular coffee bean that we know. To recap the steps of getting the kopi luwak bean:
- Farmers plant the Arabica Coffea plant.
- The Indonesian cat-like animal called the Luwak feeds on the cherries.
- The enzymes in the Luwak partially digest the cherries removing the flesh, chaff and leaving the beans a little bit fermented before excreting them.
- The Luwak excretes, and workers handpick the beans from the luwak’s excrete. They wash them, clean them and then roast the beans.
Our intelligence is something I’ve always admired as human beings because how could someone think about doing this. It takes a great initiative to do this, and the history of the kopi luwak can be traced back to the 1700s when the Dutch explorers set up coffee plantations in Java and Sumatra.
Later on, what happened was interesting because the natives were not allowed to harvest coffee for their needs. Everything they gather goes to the Dutch, but the natives noticed that some wild animals eat the cherries and then leave the beans behind in their excretes. The legend has it that the natives started picking the discarded beans, roasting these beans, and brewing them.
Recently, this type of coffee has made its way into the American scene as early as the 1900s, and this was credited to the efforts of Anthony Wild, who wrote a book on coffee titled “Coffee: A Dark History.”
This type of coffee is becoming increasingly popular with it being featured on a few American TV shows like “The Bucket List” and renowned “Oprah Winfrey show.”
What Does It Cost To Have a Kopi Luwak Coffee?
It cost you money to have a kopi luwak coffee. But how much is the question we all have? The process of getting the kopi coffee is not the only thing that makes it unique; yes, it is that coffee every person wants to take then, but ‘then’ has graduated into ‘now’ as people are still crazy about the drink.
I feel all of these contributed to its pricing. To get a cup of kopi luwak coffee, you should have a budget that’s between $35 and $100. It’s that expensive but hold on because the price per pound is slightly higher; it could sell as low as $100 and as high as $600. I know I said a bit, but it’s like twenty to sixty times the usual coffee we take every day.
Why is the Kopi Luwak Coffee so Special?
If you have read up until now, you know that the kopi luwak coffee is highly rated and a bit pricey compared to the other types of coffee out there. So, why is it so special?
Everyone who has taken a sip or drinks it regularly, one thing is expected that they refer to, and it’s the smooth taste of the kopi luwak coffee and its distinct flavour. Coffee itself has a great flavour and taste, but the kopi luwak has a distinctively smooth taste and flavour; it is unique and different from other types of coffee.
Sometimes I think about how gross it is to drink something produced from something coming out of an animal’s anus, but it gets better. As humans, we are pretty picky when it comes to what we eat!
Animals are much more selective than us; their noses are developed to pick out the bad one or the not too good one, so it means they Luwak would only eat the best cherries, and I mean the best of the best because as humans, even our eyes wouldn’t be able to detect the bad ones.
The Luwak would go only for the best, the ripest, and the exotic cherries, unlike humans who would find it hard to differentiate the ripe cherries from the unripe ones.
An additional advantage is that the enzymes in the digestive tracts of the Luwak would influence some changes in the coffee beans, and this is what is responsible for the smooth taste. The way this happens is not a mystery, and it’s just the digestive tract of the civet cat speeding up the process of turning the cherries into beans.
What happens is that when the cherry is passing through the civet cat’s (it’s what I’ve been calling luwaks. That’s their nick) stomach is that, the lining of the stomach altogether remove the flesh from the beans, this is the first thing to do to get your bean, and the luwaks do it thoroughly, washing the meat entirely off the bean.
When this happens, it makes the bean ready for drying and then roasting, and you see it has saved the farmers the headache of removing the outer part of the beans. It is also beneficial because if any part of the external parts remains, it could allow the growth of mould, which could spoil the beans. But thanks to the luwaks for eradicating it.
So far, we have only examined the best parts of the kopi luwak coffee, but it will be a disservice to you if I don’t tell you that some people don’t recommend drinking it.
What then is Problem with the Luwak Coffee?
I wish I could get a peep into what you think the problem with kopi luwak coffee is, but I can’t, so we’ll look at some of the established reasons people disapprove the kopi luwak coffee.
The first problem with kopi luwak coffee is that it is tough to produce. There are numerous places where Arabica coffee is cultivated, but all these places lack the essential thing in producing the kopi luwak coffee. You can only find the civet cats in Bali, Indonesia, and if we are honest, we would realize this is one of the reasons it is expensive.
Bali is the only place that could produce the kopi luwak coffee naturally, and what they would produce would be minimal amounts, so it is hard to get the wild kopi luwak coffee. But, people seeing an opportunity of a great business in this coffee devised ways of getting the kopi luwak by capturing the civet cats and keeping them in a cage.
The capture and captivity of the civet cats are the second problem associated with the kopi luwak coffee because they can’t reproduce the environment and nature of these animals.
The civet cats are nocturnal and would only roam at night where they are most active, but keeping them in cages means they are exposed to people and sunlight every time. These things can mess up their systems, coupled with the fact that some of these plantation owners allow tourists to come and see them.
They also force-feed the civets’ cherries as well, which could cause malnutrition because there are other things that these creatures eat. As we also discussed above, the animals have the senses to pick only the best cherries, but when they are force-fed, they have no choice but to eat all the cherries they are given, containing bad and unripe ones; this can also affect their digestion.
When the kopi luwak coffee is produced this way, the end product is always substandard and won’t be authentic. Researchers have also revealed that some plantations keeping the civets captive don’t have the resources to give the animals the typical welfare they are used to, and this could affect their health, among other things.
Another problem is that kopi luwak coffee is a lucrative business and people love to make money; this has led several people to go about peddling other types of coffee as the kopi luwak or civet coffee as there are different animal coffees out there.
Another example of animal coffee is the one gotten from the monkeys, and the only difference is that they don’t digest it; they chew and spit it out. Another one similar to this is from macaques in Taiwan who also chew and spit the bean out.
Some people have sold these kinds of coffee as the civets or kopi luwak coffee, whereas they are entirely different. Some also sell coffee that is not authentic or that has been chemically synthesized as the kopi luwak coffee.
While the kopi luwak coffee was first produced naturally, most of the peddled streets nowadays are made through animal abuse. Researchers have also talked about the kopi luwak high acidic levels.
Some other people believe that the notion of the kopi luwak coffee having a smooth taste and the excellent flavour is old and that it was when coffee consumption wasn’t as high as this and when the civet cats eat the cherries without being compelled to do it.
There are different ways to make coffee taste well these days, as people have found other ways to brew coffee. Brewing is significant if you want to get the best from your coffee, you have to get the brew right, and when you become good at it, you might not need to go looking for any kopi luwak coffee.
However, if you want to taste what the kopi luwak coffee tastes like, you might want to research the retail. There are numerous retail outfits, but what you want to look at is the reviews they get and the recommendation of people.
That’s a trick for me because when people get what is good, they want to talk about it the same as when it is terrible and average. And most importantly, a company that sells quality would like to show testimonials and reviews from people. Watch out for this, and you are on the right path to getting the best.
Let’s know what you think in the comments section. Would you love a taste of the Kopi luwak coffee, or you would stick to your regular coffee?