A tasting with a difference

coffee 3

Kopi Luwak 

On the journey from Legian to Ubud in Bali, our driver asked if we would like to stop off at a local coffee producer along the way and try the famous ‘cat-shit’ coffee – Kopi Luwak.

This is reputedly one of the rarest coffees in the world, and features in the movie ‘The Bucket List’ with Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman.

There is a native species of civet cat in Indonesia that feeds on raw Arabica coffee berries and other tropical fruit. It selects and eats only the best berries. In the gut of the animal the berry casing is digested, but the coffee bean kernel is excreted. These beans are then collected by the coffee/civet farmer and are washed and roasted. The enzymes in the civet’s digestive tract do some wonderful things to the flavour of the beans, and makes it a great coffee to drink. So the hype tells us.

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On this farm the civets are caged and are fed coffee beans. They are nocturnal. I am not so sure about the living conditions of the animals, and have read since that maybe they are not that well-cared for. I know it is an expensive way to make coffee – each tasting cup cost us Rp50,000 or about NZD $6 (5 times the cost of a standard coffee in Bali)

But we were keen to try it, as both l and I are keen coffee drinkers, and we bought cups for the three children also.

coffee 1

First up we were treated to a range of flavoured and spiced coffees – coconut, spiced, vanilla, and a bunch of different teas. We got to try plain Bali coffee too.

Then out came the Kopi Luwak. It was made using the siphon method, and was served black. Now, Wellington NZ is one of the coffee capitals of the world. We make maybe the best coffee outside of Italy. So I know coffee. And this had better be good. I usually drink coffee white and with one spoon of brown sugar, so I would have to make allowances.

coffee 2

The coffee was smooth and rich. Dark roast. Not so robust, and with a natural sweet flavour. I think the ‘civet-processing’ extracts tannins and makes the coffee smoother. Not bad, and it certainly didn’t taste shitty J!

We bought a 500g bag of beans for about NZD$60.

I have since learnt about a rarer and still more expensive type of coffee called Black Ivory Coffee. It is ‘processed’ by elephants. You can work out the rest….

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