CIVET COFFEE // KOPI LUWAK
What is Kopi Luwak?
Kopi Luwak, or Civet Coffee, is the world’s most exclusive and most expensive coffee. Kopi Luwak is not actually a type of coffee, but rather a method of production – which is a common misconception.
The Process Broken Down: Kopi Luwak is produced from coffee beans which have been partially digested by the Indonesian palm civet and then excreted. The outer layer of the coffee beans are removed during processing and the remaining beans are completely cleaned before being roasted, packaged and despatched to customers.
A Little More
What is Civet Coffee in Detail
Civet coffee, also known as kopi luwak, is one of the most sought-after and expensive coffee varieties in the world. This unique and exotic coffee hails from various regions in Southeast Asia, including Indonesia, Vietnam, the Philippines, and parts of Africa. The name “civet coffee” is derived from the civet, a small, cat-like mammal found in these regions.
Also known as “Kopi Luwak”; The term “kopi luwak” consists of two parts: “kopi,” which means coffee in Indonesian, and “luwak,” which refers to the civet. The word “luwak” is the Indonesian name for this particular animal.
Civet coffee stands out due to its unusual production process. It starts with the selection of ripe coffee cherries, typically from arabica or robusta coffee plants. What makes civet coffee unique is that these cherries are consumed and digested by civets. The civet’s digestive enzymes affect the coffee beans in several ways:
Consumption: Civets are selective about the cherries they eat, often choosing the ripest ones. This helps ensure that only the best coffee cherries are used in the process.
Digestion: After consuming the cherries, the beans pass through the civet’s digestive system. During this journey, enzymes in the civet’s stomach ferment and break down the pulp and mucilage surrounding the beans.
Excretion: The beans are excreted by the civet as feces. At this point, they have undergone chemical changes due to the digestive enzymes. These beans are collected from the feces.
Cleaning and Processing: The collected beans are thoroughly cleaned, removing any traces of feces. They are then roasted to various degrees, depending on the desired flavor profile.
The unique fermentation process in the civet’s stomach is believed to impart distinct flavors and characteristics to the coffee beans. Proponents of civet coffee claim that it results in a smoother, less acidic brew with unique aroma and taste notes.
Despite its high price tag, civet coffee remains a niche and luxury product due to its labor-intensive production process and limited availability. It continues to be a topic of fascination for coffee connoisseurs and those interested in the intersection of coffee production and wildlife in Southeast Asia.
Is Kopi Luwak Ethical?
While civet coffee is highly regarded for its flavor, the production process has raised ethical concerns.
In the past, civets were often kept in captivity and force-fed coffee cherries, a practice that raised animal welfare issues.
However, in recent years, there has been a shift towards more ethical and sustainable methods of producing civet coffee, where the animals are allowed to roam freely and select their own cherries.
We will be exploring this on this website in coming weeks and months.