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The Flavour of Kopi Luwak

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Through the time of coffee, none has garnered the amount of attention that the kopi luwak variety has. It is processed through the digestive tracts of Asian palm Civets, these beans were previously considered to be among the most expensive coffee in the world. Due to how scarce they are, the unique way they’re processed and the flavor they are said to have, this heavenly taste of the world of coffee is sought-after by a multitude of curious drinkers for many years. Its popularity reached its peak in 2007, however, when the well-known American film The Bucket List hit the screen. The protagonist of the hit film, a quick-tempered billionaire named Edward Cole and played by the eccentric Jack Nicholson–jokes about drinking the most sought-after coffee in the world. The coffee obviously not the magnificent kopi luwak.

The popularity wave that swept through the country was short-lived, but those who work in the coffee industry continue to are asked questions about these amazing beans. What is the truth about this particular coffee? Does it really have something distinctive? What is the difference between it and other coffees? Is kopi luwak worth the effort? If they’re top-quality, any coffee beans available can provide you with an experience that is truly unique and an experience that is full of flavors and aromas haven’t been able to experience yet. And kopi Luwak is certainly not an exception. If you’re intrigued, then take a trip into the world of the kopi luwak!

The story of Kopi Luwak: How Did it all begin?

According to legend, during the late 19th century Dutch colonists living in Indonesia required the local farmers to turn over their entire coffee harvest to newcomers. If that weren’t enough they banned the poor Indonesians from collecting coffee berries for their personal use. The drink they love was taken away however, the smart locals quickly came up with a solution. While looking at palm civets – small native animals that are referred to as luwak by the locals–one day, farmers noticed they enjoy eating coffee berries just as they enjoy eating tropical fruits and other insects. After consumption, the coffee berries were removed from their pulp inside their digestive system of the palm civet and the seeds, also known as coffee beans, that were left behind were removed as well as waste matter from the faeces. The locals took a gamble by collecting then washing, drying, and roasting the beans. Imagine their delight when they discovered that this coffee was more delicious than the standard one! The resulting drink was more delicate more mellow, and less bitter. It was characterized by a pleasant aftertaste. The rumors about this drink quickly spread to Dutch colonists too. It was not long before the kopi luwak drink to be a source of exotic appeal all over the globe.

Kopi Luwak Goes Hollywood

We’ve previously mentioned The Bucket List (2007) which was a film the main reason behind many westerners re-discovering kopi luwak in the dawn in the 20th century. Let’s look at its impact further let’s get started.

It tells tale of two retired people who are terminally sick: Edward Cole, a billionaire from the corporate world performed by Jack Nicholson, and an ordinary mechanic of the working class Carter Chambers played by Morgan Freeman. There’s nothing they have in common, the two characters end up together in the hospital. Carter is ruminating about the limited time left, and finally decides to create an outline of all the adventures he’d like be able to experience while alive. When Edward discovers the list, he offers Carter an offer the mechanic can’t turn down to leave the hospital, embark to a new adventure and make all his wishes come true.

One of the opening scenes in the film we can see Edward Cole pouring himself a cup of kopi-luwak, proclaiming it is “the most sought-after drink on the planet”. The connoisseur of wealth even has an entire suitcase that has the coffee syphon wherever he goes. This allows him to enjoy incredible flavors at any time, wherever. Edward isn’t sure the origins of his drink from however. The origin story of kopi Luwak is revealed by Carter:

Kopi Luwak is the most expensive coffee, but for certain people, it is in that category “too great to be real”. It is in the Sumatran village in which they grow their beans there is a trees that are wild. They eat beans to digest them, and afterwards… excrete. The villagers take the stools and clean them. It is the mixture of the beans and gastric juices from the cat tree that gives the unique flavor and aroma.

After hearing that, the two pals are hysterical and laughing. Carter takes a breath to check off one item from his list of buckets. It says “Laugh until I cry.

With such a stunning scene it’s not surprising that kopi Luwak became a part of the bucket lists of many people across the globe. Attracted by the charisma of Nicholson and intrigued by his unique background story, coffee lovers from across the Western world were eager to embark to exciting adventure of their very own.

The Flavor of Kopi Luwak

These stories could make you think about a simple question whether this coffee is truly distinctive? Is its name just an advertising ploy, or inspired by a hilarious scene in the screen of a Hollywood film? What makes these beans distinct from other coffees ? Can authentic kopi luwak be identified by its flavor alone?

In the year 2004, Massimo Marcone, a food scientist within the University of Guelph (Canada) has made kopi luwak the subject of his study. The goal was to determine whether this particular coffee was different from other coffees to any degree. The examination of kopi Luwak with an unaided eye did not detect any major variations and, therefore, Marcone took a step further by using the power of a microscope. He noticed tiny cracks in the beans. The regular varieties weren’t even cracked and this is definitely something else.

After a thorough investigation The scientist discovered that the cracks are due to enzymes inside the stomachs of palm Civets. The enzymes penetrated into the shell of the bean, causing proteins to breakdown. Since the beans spent about for 24 hours inside the palm civet’s stomach they began to sprout. Overall it is described as having a unique type of malting, that’s why we wouldn’t be far off if we were to refer to kopi luwak as the “malted coffee”.

Protein content present in your coffee is exactly what the bitterness of your coffee is based on: the higher amount of proteins present in the beans and the greater bitterness the taste of the coffee is. Intense protein decomposition lends kopi luwak its delicate flavour. Other tests, like electronic odour analysis have revealed that the smells and tastes observed in these beans are different from those present in coffee that haven’t gone through processing by Asian palm Civets.

It is important to remember when discussing the term “kopi Luwak” refers to a particular processing technique, not any specific variety of beans. The taste you get from the kopi luwak is determined by various other conditions it experiences throughout the process, such as the type of coffee used (arabica as well as robusta) as well as the conditions for harvesting as well as the selections of the roaster… The whole of which means that different varieties of kopi-luwaks could be distinguished by distinct quality. However, the rule of thumb here is straightforward: the better the quality of the beans and the more meticulous, skilled their processing and the better the resultant drink.

Uncertain if luwak coffee is completely healthy to drink? The research conducted by Massimo Marcone has shown that it is. With careful clean-up and roasting any undesirable remnants are removed from beans while their best properties are effectively kept and further enhanced.

What is kopi luwak flavor like? It’s rich, deep and particularly thick. It’s characterized by the aromas of nuts and chocolate. It’s got a hint of toasted caramel. After you’ve finished drinking it, a refreshing long-lasting, lasting aftertaste remains on your palate for quite long time. It sounds appealing, doesn’t it?