You’ve never had a cup of truly rich and strong coffee with an aroma to die for, unless you’ve tried Kopi Luwak coffee. Since the Kopi Luwak has been introduced (even featured in the Oprah Winfrey show!), the demand for this rare and flavorful coffee has been incredible.
What makes the Kopi Luwak so talked about? Is it the process involved in producing the Kopi Luwak coffee beans? The expensive price for which it is sold? Or simply its exceptional taste? There are several questions surrounding Kopi Luwak coffee—and you might be pleasantly surprised with the answers.
What is Kopi Luwak Coffee?
The popular Kopi Luwak coffee is exported from Sumatra, one of Indonesia’s 13,677 islands. Kopi is the local Indonesian term for “coffee”, while Luwak refers to a mammal highly responsible for its production.
Kopi Luwak has a very smooth profile, and can only be lightly roasted. Unlike other coffees, no caramelization of the sugar in the beans. There are several Kopi Luwak coffee blends, such as Arabica, liberica, and excels, all depending on the cherries eaten by the civet. The taste may vary, but the aroma and lack of bitterness are stable features of all Kopi Luwak blends.
And the taste? Coffee enthusiasts and connoisseurs have been raving about how truly unique and delicious the Kopi Luwak is. It has less of the bitter taste most strong coffees have, and the fusion of chocolate and caramel is not something you’d find in any other cup of brewed coffee. You don’t even have to add any other sugar or spice to enjoy this great-tasting coffee!
Where does it come from?
So how does a gourmet coffee imported all the way from Indonesia manage to be so famous? Perhaps it’s because the process involved in producing Kopi Luwak is a highly complex, not to mention unusual, one.
A local Indonesian marsupial, the Luwak, is responsible for the production of Kopi Luwak. The Luwak is an Indonesian term for the Asian palm civet found in Sumatra.
What’s can a civet, a mammal that looks like rat, possible have to do with making Kopi Luwak? The civet would find the ripest and freshest red coffee berries, and eat them. The berries would then pass through its digestive tract, going through a series of chemical processes for around a day and half. The processes involve the civet’s stomach acids and enzymes fermenting the beans. Research shows that the germination process of the beans are responsible for lessening the bitter taste of Kopi Luwak.
When the civet defecates in clumps, the beans are still intact with even layers of juice from the coffee cherries. The beans are then gathered, washed, and sun dried just like all the other coffee beans. Unbelievable as it may sound, that’s how you have the rare Kopi Luwak beans, ready to be brewed!
Why is Kopi Luwak Coffee so expensive?
If you think a cup of coffee in your favorite coffee shop is far too overpriced, then you’ll probably be shocked to find out how much a cup of Kopi Luwak can cost you. Touted as the most expensive coffee anywhere in the world, Kopi Luwak beans sell for as much $600 per pound, with an average of $300 per pound. The Vietnamese weasel coffee, a special variety, can be as expensive as $3000 per pound.
A cup of Kopi Luwak coffee would cost $30 to $90 a cup. It is sold in variety of places around the world, from the US to London. As the publicity for Kopi Luwak heightens, more coffee shops are beginning to sell them in different sizes.
The price of Kopi Luwak has got many people asking: what makes it so expensive? The strange and difficult process of making Kopi Luwak beans is the reason behind its high price. From the difficulty of gathering beans to making sure that it is extremely clean before being sun dried, making Kopi Luwak is definitely a challenge. Its rarity also contributes to its expensiveness—only around 500 to 700 pounds of Kopi Luwak beans is produced annually!
Where can you buy authentic Kopi Luwak Coffee?
Unfortunately, there are several cheap imitations of Kopi Luwak coffee that are sold at extremely low prices. Some are even sold at the same price range, but taste nowhere near as good as authentic Kopi Luwak coffee. How can you protect yourself from fake Kopi Luwak coffee?
Just because you’re buying coffee from an Indonesian institution or a company certified by the government of Indonesia itself doesn’t mean you’re buying authentic Kopi Luwak coffee. Spotting fakes requires careful scrutiny.
For one, refrain from buying Kopi Luwak at extremely low prices. Also, you might want to stay away from blended Kopi Luwak coffee—more often than not it only includes 1-5% of Kopi Luwak. You shouldn’t believe in wholesale Kopi Luwak. With the scarce production of Luwak beans, there’s no chance at all that it can be mass produced and sold. Lastly, shy away from companies that have a no return no exchange policy. Once you find out that you’ve just bought fake Kopi Luwak coffee, there won’t be anything you can do about it!