While watching the the World Cup opening game of Mexico vs South Africa at La Guelaguetza, one of my friend's mentioned something about some most expensive coffee in the world. The coffee was so expensive because it had something to do with it being pooped out by some kind of monkeys...I was like whaaaaa...
Extremely intrigued, I immediately looked it up upon getting home, in disbelief of course, and lo and behold, found it was true.
Apparently, this coffee, named Kopi Luwak, is coffee that is made up from defecated coffee berries that the Asian Palm Civet could not digest.
Civets, which are actually not monkeys but mammals of the viverridae family are very much like Racoons. Or better said, more like long-nose felines that are often called or even referred to as "Toddy Cats". They are often found in the Southern part of Asia and Indonesia, where the name actually stems from, and in some parts of Southern China. They are exclusively nocturnal and are omnivores although their diet mainly consists of fruits.
Civets also like to eat red coffee berries and beans. In most of the jungles they live in, they are able to find the sweetest and ripest of the berries or beans. The only problem is, they can not digest them. So when these Civets defecate these beans, they come out in their entirety and are clumped up together as seen below.
So I am assuming some person, maybe on shrooms or bored, was one day walking through the jungles and witnessed a Civet pooping or something. Noticed that they were undigested coffee beans and for some strange reason decided to grab the poop, wash the beans of course, roast them, grind them and make themselves a cup of coffee. And wallah, the Kopi Luwak was born.
What was actually discovered was that the enzymes in the civet's tummy break down the coffee's bitterness which then leave behind an extremely delicious and unique bean of coffee. How this or any one person thought they can market this?...I don't know.
But today, the Kopi Luwa, goes through a more rigorous process. After it is collected, the beans are processed hygienically then given a medium roast so it would not destroy the complex flavors that develop naturally through the process and then served in a small cup much so like an espresso.
The result? A coffee that is said to be non-bitter and of a naturally rich caramelish-chocolate-like flavor. Many have attempted to breed their own Civets and hand feed them but due to the naturalness of their living conditions and habitat of the jungle, the breeders have not had success.
The coffee is said to be the most expensive coffee in the world, $30 - $50 dollars a cup! That is far from your daily visit at Starbucks or Coffee Bean or even 7/11 for your daily dose of caffeine. When packaged, it can cost you anywhere between $250 - $400 a pound.
Now, I personally love coffee...I drink it every day. I have had some really good java but never as such as Kopi Luwak. I am dying to try this coffee but I do not have the $400.00 disposably to drop on a pound of coffee. The other bad thing is, I do not plan to visit Indonesia any time soon, but I know it is sold and found in Japan, which I may be heading out to this year or early next. This would definitely be on my list to try. $30 a cup? I can do that and would just to taste and experience it. If sooooo good as they say...I may just very well dish out the 3 bills for a pound. I can't, although, help to think what kind of breath it leaves afterwards.
Kopi - Indonesian for cofee
Luwak - Indonesian for Civet