Civet coffee has been a hot topic of discussion since Oprah Winfrey, the renowned media person, made a reference about the unique taste and aroma of this coffee in her TV show.
The origin of this coffee can be traced back to 18th century coffee plantation workers in Indonesia. This country was a Dutch colony during those days. The Dutch established cash-crop plantations in areas like Sumatra and Java Island. All well and good but regrettably, the coffee plantation workers were not allowed to collect beans from the coffee plants for their own consumption. The workers found out that certain species of civet known as luwak were leaving coffee cherries undigested in their droppings after having eaten those cherries. They then made coffee with those cherries after having cleaned, roasted and ground them.
It must have a been a pleasant surprise for the workers because the taste and aroma of civet coffee (kopi luwak) was truly outstanding. The popularity of civet coffee has always been on the rise since then.
Civet Coffee:- The Taste
When these beans pass through the intestinal tracts of this Asian civet cat ( a nocturnal, catlike mammal), they will undergo a process of fermentation in the stomach acids and enzymes of this animal. This natural digestive process accounts for the great taste and purity of this coffee. A clean aftertaste is the normal response from someone trying civet coffee for the first time.
This coffee can be classified into two categories, wild civet coffee and cage civet coffee. When the demand for this coffee got higher, farmers started catching the luwak and keeping them in cages. No real surprise there! The only other option being to collect the beans left by wild luwak.
Is there a difference? Does one taste better than the other? Well, the perceived wisdom is that the coffee made from wild civet taste better because civet cats pick the best beans from the forest. Which seems sensible, doesn’t it?
Civet Coffee:- The Process
The brewing process should be done with great care and the civet droppings should be collected within 24 hours. The droppings should be placed in a sink and they should be washed well to make coffee beans stand out among the droppings. The next step is to arrange the beans on a tarp or cloth that is kept at a warm and airy spot. When the beans become dry, the roasting process should be performed to achieve the desired color and then, they can be ground to make a cup of exceptional civet coffee.
Civet Coffee:- For And Against
The cost of this coffee is always very high. A pound of kopi luwak can cost in between $300 and $600. However, if you are lucky enough to be in a position where money is not an issue, then you can enjoy an earthy, full bodied coffee, with of course that amazing aftertaste.
Earlier, the production was confined to Indonesia only. Now it is now produced across South East Asia as well.
Various studies have shown that this coffee also offers a lot of health benefits. They include better protection of teeth, reduced cell damage, reduced risk of breast cancer and effective diabetes prevention. Perhaps some things are more important than money. Civet coffee could be one of them.