Kopi luwak – a specialty coffee in Southeast Asia.

Kopi luwak ~ haven’t you ever heard of it?

Kopi luwak is a name of a rarest and most expensive coffee in the world, made of taking the coffee berries which have been eaten and passed through the digestive track of Asian palm civets. It is also one of world’s finest tastes of coffee. Kopi means coffee as in kopi-o (black coffee) and luwak means civet. This is a compound noun which shows a type of coffee made by a civet.

kopi luwak indonesian

An Indonesian made kopi luwak coffee product on Amazon.

Kopi luwak should be deserved the world’s weirdest processed coffee.

The process of making kopi luwak is quite weird which some people may not believe. Asian palm civets (paradoxurus hermaphrodites), a species of animal living in the South and Southeast Asia, eat coffee berries and when they defecate, coffee beans which are undigested or partly digested will be come out with their crap. As a result, these being-left-coffee beans become more flavor than them of before. Why? There are two reasons. The first is when a civet eats coffee berries, they choose the best ones with high-qualified beans inside. Coffee beans themselves, at first, are best-selected coffee beans. The second is the process of digestion of civet’s stomachs can improve the flavor of digested coffee beans thanks to the affection of some enzymes in their intestine. Here one can understand that civet’s enzymes with its biological characteristics create an unexpectedly unique taste for “processed” coffee beans.

An Asian wild civet

It is believed that Asian wild civet is the only animal which can make kopi luwak.

How was kopi luwak found?

The history of kopi luwak is weird, too. In the 18th century, when Indonesia became a colonial country of Dutchmen, they banned the then local farmers from taking coffee beans from their own plantation. That’s made them have to pick only coffee beans on the ground which had been eaten by civets. And surprisingly, these coffee beans tasted so much better than the original ones. Since then, the kopi luwak became popular.

Kopi luwak is mainly produced at Southeast Asian countries, especially in Indonesia, Laos, the Philippines and Vietnam. In Laos and Vietnam, it is also called weasel coffee, civet-enzyme coffee or civet dung coffee. However, because of its specific method of processing, the output of this coffee is extremely limited. It is rumored that the total annual production of natural weasel coffee is around 500 pound of beans. That’s reason why this coffee is super expensive. Its prices range from $100 to $600 per pound. It means that you have to pay about $35 to $60 for a cup of kopi luwak.

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As kopi luwak is weird, its output is very limited so far.

Despite of its inflated price, kopi luwak still gets an excessive consumption thanks to its amazing taste. Coffee beans are undergone chemical treatments and fermentations in a civet’s stomach. They absorb some enzymes and acids in digestion system but still remain the intact shapes. When these beans come out with civet’s excrements, they will be collected and processed with normal ways like other coffee beans. But it has outstanding flavors with smell of caramels or chocolates somewhat. Its taste is heavier and stronger and better than normal coffees. The ground coffee is smoother than the others. The experience of drinking this special coffee is very incredible.

How was kopi luwak named in Vietnamese?

In Vietnam, there are just few farms producing kopi luwak with about 300 civets located in Dak Lak province and Da Lat city. In Vietnamese, people call this coffee as “Café chon” or “Cà phê chồn” which is translated into English as weasel coffee or civet dung coffee with the reference to the meaning of weasel as “chồn” animal. The average production of weasel coffee is about 500.0 kilograms per year. And its price is at around $3,000 per kilogram.

kopi luwak trung nguyen coffee

Trung Nguyen Coffee – a Vietnamese coffee roaster – also offers a so-called Legendee coffee with kopi luwak flavor.

Today, a lot of coffee producers offer kopi luwak at unbelievable prices. Some people say that this coffee is so unspecific and immeasurable that you have to spend such a huge amount of money. But having chance to enjoy this rare and unique coffee once can be an awesome experience.

To sum up, kopi luwak is deserved a must-taste coffee specialty. As its legend and rumors reveal, this kind of coffee is very unique in taste and possesses extraordinary characteristics that any other regular coffees don’t have. Due to deforestation activities in Southeast Asia, there are not many wild civets left in natural environment today. Thus, it becomes more difficult to increase the product’s quantity. And, kopi luwak seems not too much popular in Western markets as its main markets have still been customers from Asian countries.