Luwak coffee – the rarest coffee in the world

Luwak coffee – is it a legend?

Luwak coffee, also known “civet coffee” or “kopi luwak” in Indonesian linguistic is the coffee beans made by a very special method. The normal coffee cherries are eaten by wild Asian palm civets and the coffee beans are gone out through digestive track of the animals. This unique and weird method makes luwak coffee become the most expensive coffee beans in the world (together with Black Ivory Coffee made with the similar method).

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What is its origin?

This specialty coffee was first made in Indonesia. In 18th century, when Indonesia was a colonial land of Dutch, the colonist brought coffee to some islands into the country to cultivate. They abandoned the local farmers not to pick the coffee beans on the trees. That’s why the farmers had to pick the coffee beans on the floor. And surprisingly, they found that coffee so much better than the normal ones. They discovered that these coffee beans had been eaten by palm civets.

How it works

The Asian palm civets eat coffee cherries, but they cannot digest the beans. That’s why these beans are defecated with their excrement. So what makes its taste so good?

The first reason is that wild Asian palm civets have ability to select the best coffee cherries holding the best coffee beans. And it makes the coffee more flavored. The second and most important reason is that during the digestion process, the coffee beans absorb some enzymes and acids in the animal’s stomach that help to improve civet coffee beans.

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Luwak coffee is featured with a very unique flavor. However, its taste may depend on the types of coffee that the civet eats, the process of drying, roasting, grinding and brewing. But the general taste of it is earthy, smooth, and less bitter than other regular coffee. The coffee has a very strong and charming aroma, with the light fragrance of caramel or chocolate or syrups. Also, luwak coffee contains only 0.5% of caffeine (while normal coffee contains from 1% to 2% of caffeine).

Some people those who prefer intense flavor of coffee may not be interested in luwak coffee. They said it smells good but tastes bad. And it is not worth for that unbelievable price.

Price and production

Kopi luwak may be the most expensive coffee in the world. A single cup of luwak coffee costs between $35 and $80. And one pound bag of it is from $100 to $600. Comparing to two other most expensive coffee: Blue Mountain coffee ($40 for a pound) and Kona coffee ($30-$35), we can see the shocking price of this specialty coffee.

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Of course, that super high price has its own reason. Because of the unusual method to produce this coffee, the productivity is limited. Each year, there are just about 500 to 1,000 pounds of coffee beans that be eaten by the wild civets. The amount of luwak coffee is really moderate as we only find Asian palm civets (“luwak” in Indonesian language) in some Asian countries including Indonesia, the Philippines and Vietnam where this coffee is also named weasel coffee.

There are many contrary opinions about luwak coffee. Some people say it is the best coffee in the world. Some oppose the use of wild civet to produce the coffee in cultivating countries. Others say that it is not worth with the price. No matter what it is, trying a cup of luwak coffee for once is an interesting experience.