Saturday, March 13, 2010

Kopi Luwak, Most Expensive Coffee

Kopi luwak (or also known as civet coffee) is coffee that is prepared using beans of coffee cherries that have been eaten by a cat-sized mammal called Asian Palm Civet (paradoxurus hermaphroditus) or some people known as Toddy Cat or Motit, then passed through its digestive tract. The luwak (a species of civet cat endemic to Java) will only eat the choicest, most perfectly matured beans and these nocturnal omnivore animals eat the berries for their fleshy pulp. Unable to digest the coffee beans, the Luwak (civet) graciously deposits them on the jungle floor where the locals are eagerly collecting them and clean any residue from the casings. The enzymes in the animals' stomachs seep into the beans, making it more amino acids, shorter peptides and much less bitterness. The beans are then defecated when passing through the luwak’s intestines. After collecting these half-digested beans, thorough sun drying, washing, light roasting and brewing, this process produces the world’s rarest coffee beverage and widely noted as the most expensive coffee in the world.

"Kopi" is the Indonesian word which means coffee, and "Luwak" is the local name of this indigenous animal. In some parts of the world, kopi luwak can cost as much as $30 for a single brewed cup and the biggest consumers are North America and Japan. The Oprah Winfrey Show featured this coffee as well. Indonesia is not the sole producer of civet-processed coffee, Vietnam is also said to produce this kind of coffee through the same way. Kopi luwak comes from the islands of Sumatra, Sulawesi (formerly Celebes) and Java. Many people may be turned off once they know the origin of the beverage, or figure the beans must be tainted, but scientists who study this things said that there’s no real danger of contamination. The luwak only digest a bit of the outer hull, the beans itself then sit in the animal’s stomach and ferment, only to be excreted out few hours later, the acids in the animal’s stomach will destroy the harmful bacteria of the beans. The kopi luwak has a rich, heavy flavour with hints of chocolate or caramel. Other terms used to describe it are earthy, exotic and musty. The body is almost syrupy and it's very smooth.

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