April 18, 2010

Indonesian Civet Cat Coffee - Still Want Some?

Many people may know it as Kopi Luwak coffee, but no matter what you call civet cat coffee, you definitely need to know why it can cost over $150 a pound. Sure it's rare, becoming less so due to fakes and new farming techniques, but the bottom line is that civet cat coffee has to be "processed" by a civet cat; yes eaten, fermented in their digestive tract and collected for washing and shipping. The NYT just published a good article that explains what's going on in Indonesia and how people are debating what makes the best civet cat coffee.

The idea is that the cat chooses only the best coffee cherries to eat, thereby only collecting the best beans to process. There's a debate over what methods are appropriate to "farm" and collect the coffee. Currently to meet demand, people are farming the coffee by feeding the cherries to caged civet cats while collecting the results. The original promise was for wild cats to collect only the best beans; does this stay true to the process? Is the flavor any worse?

The motivation is financial, as the farmers can get paid several times more for civet cat coffee than regular coffee. [As an aside; the NYT article cited farmers getting paid $9 a pound for this stuff. I want to know how many people mark this up from the $9 to over $150? Ouch!] I had Kopi Luwak a long time ago, and I have to recommend that you save your money. We were cupping coffees and the opportunity came up to cup this, and it was not impressive, with earthy tones and a lack of top notes that really didn't wow any of us as a straight cup let alone the fact that it was over $150 a pound.

Well worth the read at NYT

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Posted by Scott Martin at April 18, 2010 8:30 AM
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