In Southeast Asia, there’s a jungle cat called the Civet that loves to eat coffee cherries.
The civet’s digestive system uses the fruit of the coffee cherry for nourishment – but only partly begins to break down the coffee cherry pit (what we call the “coffee bean”) before pooping it out.
Someone, and I have no idea how this someone got this idea, but someone thought it would be perfectly splendid to pick the undigested coffee beans out of the Civet cat poop, and proceed to process, roast, grind, brew, and serve them just like any other beans you’d buy from your coffee shop.
In Indonesia – they call it “Kopi Luwak” or “Civet Coffee.”
And it’s one of the most sought after coffees in the world – mainly because of it’s scarcity (you can imagine the hordes of people signing on to harvest it…).
Today – I got to drink some Kopi Luwak. Fresh-brewed in a French Press. Here’s how it all went down (and out).
My little sister took a trip to Indonesia last week and kindly procured a 100 gram bag of genuine Kopi Luwak coffee – and shipped it directly to my Dad.
As you can see on the bag – it was Sumatran Mandheling coffee – one of my favorite regional coffees, except this time it had just been passed through the gut of a civet cat.
It had a really unique aroma. Very chocolatey and rich – which is typical of Sumatran coffee anyway. But this had a very distinct after-smell.
I’m not sure how to describe it.
It wasn’t gross or anything – but it was very different than the normal specialty coffee after-smell. Something that indicated that this coffee had been processes differently.
I measured it out – you don’t get much since it’s so pricey, but we had plenty for me, my Dad, my brother Jason, and my Grandma to all try it out.
And of course we had to do it justice, so I brought over my French Press and followed all the right French Press measurements.
I was worried about its freshness – but it foamed up beautifully as I stirred up the water.
And the big moment.
We all drank it.
And it was absolutely delicious. It was very different and very distinctive – even for non-connoisseurs like us.
It was very rich aroma, but a mellow and thin body. It had winey, and sort of hazlenut tones. But here’s the odd bit – it had very little aftertaste.
Really – it had next to no aftertaste. It was really quite interesting.
If it weren’t for the scarcity and experience value – I’m not sure it’s worth the $50 and up per pound – especially compared to extremely high quality specialty coffees.
But it unique enough and delicious enough that when combined with it’s really bizarre story – it’s worth the experience.
And the ability to say that I’ve drunk Kopi Luwak.