The palm civet cat (of the genus Paradoxurus Hermaphroditus) is a small sleek mammal native to Indonesia. The palm civet diet consists of insects, rodents and fruits such as coffee berries. While the pulpy fruit of the outer coffee berry is digested by the civet cat, the indigestible inner bean is excreted. Kopi Luwak – literally “coffee palm civet” in Indonesian – is made from the beans that have been excreted by the civet cat.
Exotic Coffee from the Palm Civet Cat
The coffee beans in Kopi Luwak are effectively harvested by the civet cats, and they are as discerning as any coffee gourmet when it comes to selecting choice coffee berries. Civet cats eat only the ripest and most succulent coffee berries, and a consequence of this is that the excreted beans are of the highest quality, and aged to perfection.
These quality beans are further improved whilst in the civet cat stomach, where a combination of digestive enzymes destroy proteins within the coffee beans that normally produce a bitter taste.
The resulting bean, once excreted and washed, requires only a light roasting to produce a mellow, earthy flavor without the astringent taste that would accompany the bean had it not passed through the digestive tract of a palm civet cat.
The Most Expensive Coffee in the World
The reason that Kopi Luwak is so expensive is its scarcity. The annual crop of coffee berries that are harvested after passing through the digestive tract of a palm civet cat rarely exceeds 500kg, and this limited supply is reflected in the price of this exotic coffee. Kopi Luwak coffee beans sell for up to $600 per pound, and prices for a single cup range from $30 to $100 depending on where the coffee is purchased.
Where to Find Kopi Luwak
Once considered an exclusive commodity, the curiosity factor of this exotic Indonesian coffee has led many coffee retailers to hold Kopi Luwak coffee tastings. As such, Kopi Luwak is available worldwide, though it is only stocked permanently in a few cafes, such as in the Heritage Tea Rooms of Townsville in Queensland, Australia, and Selfridges in London, England.
Buy Kopi Luwak Gourmet Coffee Beans Online
An alternative to seeking a cafe that sells individual cups of Kopi Luwak coffee is to purchase Kopi Luwak beans online. However, the buyer should beware: there are many internet stores that sell substitute coffees in place of true Kopi Luwak beans, and determining the authenticity of purchased beans requires laboratory testing, which can be more expensive than the beans themselves.
As such, it is advised to purchase this exotic gourmet coffee from a reputable supplier, such as Animal Coffee, who sell only genuine Kopi Luwak beans.