July 05, 2022

Truths and myths a about Kopi Luak

By Philippe Jolicoeur
Delicious cup of kopi luwak

Kopi luwak is a coffee made from partially digested coffee cherries that the Asian palm civet ate and passed on . Additionally known as civet coffee. The cherries are defecated together with other faeces and then collected after being fermented in a civet's intestines. More and more Asian palm civets are being traded for this reason after being captured in the wild. 

The Indonesian islands of Sumatra, Java, Bali, Sulawesi, and East Timor are where kopi luwak is primarily manufactured. It is also commonly harvested from forests or grown on farms in the islands of the Philippines, where the product is known as kahawa kubing in the Sulu Archipelago, kape motit in the Cordillera region, kapé alamd in Tagalog-speaking areas, kapé melô or kapé musang in Mindanao, and kape motit in the Cordillera region. The loose English translation of its Vietnamese name, cà phê Chn, is "weasel coffee."

The technique, according to coffee bean producers, may enhance coffee through two mechanisms: selection (civets select only particular cherries to eat) and digesting (chemical or biological processes in the animals' digestive tracts change the content of the coffee cherries).

The forced feeding of cherries to captive palm civets in battery cages has replaced the traditional practise of collecting their waste from wild Asian palm civets. The handling of civets and the living conditions they are subjected to, which include isolation, a poor food, cramped cages, and a high mortality rate, have prompted ethical questions regarding this method of production. 

Despite being a method of processing rather than a specific type of coffee, kopi luwak has been dubbed one of the most expensive coffees in the world, with retail prices for cultivated beans reaching US$100 per kilogramme and US$1,300 for wild-collected beans.

The history of coffee production in Indonesia is directly related to the origin of kopi luwak; Dutch colonialists planted coffee plantations there and imported beans from Yemen. Farmers in central Java began brewing and consuming coffee made from excreted beans gathered in their plantations in the 19th century. 

Kopi luwak is made from coffee beans that have undergone acidic, enzymatic, and fermentation treatment while passing through the digestive tract of an Asian palm civet. The endocarp of coffee cherries is penetrated by digestive enzymes and gastric fluids during digestion, which breaks down storage proteins and produces shorter peptides. This changes the amino acid makeup and affects the coffee's aroma. The proteins go through a non-enzymatic Maillard reaction during the roasting process.

 It is said that the palm civet chooses the perfect and most ripe coffee cherries. The digestion process and this choice both affect how the coffee tastes. Malting the beans causes them to start germination, which lessens their bitterness. These two processes, which are carried out naturally or in the wild, accomplish the same thing as selective picking and the wet or washed method of coffee milling: 1) picking cherries that are optimally ripe, and 2) mechanically and chemically removing the pulp and skin from the cherry, primarily leaving the seed.


In the past, ejected coffee beans were directly gathered from plantations and forests. As the demand for kopi luwak rose internationally, several farmers used caged production techniques to boost yields. The yield of kopi luwak was inaccurately predicted to be less than 127 kilogramme in 2014. It is made in Ethiopia, East Timor, East Java, the Philippines, Thailand, and the Philippines. [12] Different coffee beans have different flavours depending on how they are processed, roasted, aged, and brewed. The choice of berries by the civet and other dietary and physiological factors, such as stress levels, may also affect processing and, in turn, flavour. 

Kopi luwak is frequently seen as a novelty item or gimmick in the coffee industry. According to the Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA), there is a "general industry consensus... it just tastes horrible." Using a thorough coffee cupping study, a coffee expert examined the identical beans with and without the kopi luwak process. "It was clear that luwak coffee sold for the tale, not higher quality," he said in his conclusion.

The luwak got two points under the lowest of the other three coffees on the SCAA cupping scale. Many consumers seem to highlight the smoothness of the coffee's body as a benefit, which suggests that the luwak processing reduces the coffee's good acidity and flavour. Professional coffee tasters could tell kopi luwak from from other samples of coffee, although they said it tasted "thin". More broadly, some detractors contend that kopi luwak is just lousy coffee, bought more for novelty than for flavour. I personally liked it , although it isn't a earth shattering revelation .I found it do be a clean cup , subtle in taste ,maybe not worth the $ 50 I paid for my cup.

Kopi luak coffee is a rare, and unique Indonesian coffee that is making a name for itself in the specialty coffee world. With its earthy, chocolatey flavor and low acidity, kopi luak has become a favorite of coffee lovers everywhere. If you’re looking to try something new and willing to spend, add kopi luak to your list.

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