Kopi Luwak: Would you like to try it?

Kopi luwak, or civet coffee is one of the most unusual harvests in the world. The Asian Palm Civet (Paradoxurus hermaphroditus), and some of its close relatives are small mammals that live in Southeast Asia, Africa and in parts of southern Europe. Although they are sometimes variously described as cats and as weasels, they are in fact verridae, a separate species entirely.

These civets love coffee. They climb to the top branches of the most inaccessible trees high in the mountains and because they essentially have the field to themselves, they can afford select only the very finest arabica coffee cherries at just the point of ripeness that pleases them best. They can reach coffee that no one else can harvest and they can pick and choose exactly the cherries that they want to pick. The civets live on the fleshy pulp of the coffee cherry, the bright red part that surrounds the bean. When they eat the coffee, the bean passes through the civet and passes out the other side. The droppings are collected, throughout washed, dried in the sun and then lightly roasted.

Kopi Luwak Civet Coffee Civet feeding

Kopi Luwak: As Smooth As Silk

The coffee is delicious. It’s not to everyone’s taste but I love it. It’s light on the palate and as smooth as silk. The mouth feel is light and the taste notes are muted, nutty and earthy. The finish is short but very clean. There isn’t the remotest hint of bitterness. The first time I tasted kopi luwak, I have to say I was expecting something very different. The traditional way of drinking it is with just a little drop of condensed milk from a can and this adds body to the drink. I was expecting a sharper, darker more intense taste and I was completely unprepared for its utter, utter smoothness. It’s like imbibing raw silk. It’s this smoothness, rather than an intensity of flavour that the aficionados seek out.  When you experience how smooth it is, it’s all the more surprising when the caffeine kicks is. Even though the civet’s digestive juices break down some of the caffeine, it’s still there and it behaves slightly differently to normal coffee. After a few minutes, you can feel the coffee acting as though it was a catalyst, rather than a stimulant. It’s a more sophisticated sensation than the hard blare of a pure caffeine hit. It’s a very pleasant feeling and it lasts at least half an hour. The proteolytic enzymes in the civet’s system shorten the peptides in the coffee beans and make more free amino acids. The beans are harder and more brittle than ordinary beans.

Coffee cherries Greenbean coffee

Kopi Luwak and Animal Welfare

Kopi luwak is controversial now because battery farms have sprung up where caged luwaks are fed nothing but coffee beans and kept in captivity in inhumane conditions. Demand for the coffee has rocketed in the past decade and the price of the of the beans means that it’s a lucrative trade these days. We have a very reputable certified supplier who can source some of the genuine article, the coffee that is produced in the wild by free, wild civets in Indonesia and Cambodia. This is the real deal and it’s very hard to get these days.

Kopi Luwak. Now is your chance to try it.

It’s also expensive. We’ve worked it out that it would cost €74 per 250g or €290 per kg. Bear in mind that this coffee typically sells for between €30 and €80 per cupWould you or any of your customers like to try it? If you are interested, let us know and we’ll order a couple of kilos. It will take up to 10 weeks for it to be delivered. If you have ever thought about trying civet coffee, now is your chance. You can be certain that it’s ethically produced and that it’s of the very finest quality. If you like coffee, it’s definitely a taste and sensation worth experiencing.