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Friday, May 24, 2013
The Science Behind Luwak (aka Civet Poop) Coffee
No coffee is perhaps in shorter supply and has a more distinct flavor and history than “Kopi Luwak” from Indonesia. With an annual production of less than 500 pounds and a price tag of 500-600 dollars (Canadian) per pound, it commands the undisputed reputation of being the rarest and most expensive coffee in the world. This is indeed a unique coffee, as it is processed through the digestive system of a palm civet (Paradoxurus hermaphroditus). This three-to-ten pound arboreal animal uses its keen sense of eyesight during the night to smell and seek out only the ripest reddish coffee cherries to eat. The coffee cherry fruit is completely digested by the civet, whereas the actual coffee beans are excreted in their feces, being deposited in civetries. These are ultimately collected and washed by local coffee collectors. The internal fermentation and action by different digestive enzymes add a unique flavor to the beans. This flavor has been described as earthy, musty, syrupy, smooth, and rich with both jungle and chocolate undertones.