In the long years of coffee, none has received the amount of attention that the kopi luwak variety has. The beans are processed within the digestive tract 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 their flavor is believed to possess, 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 cult 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 world’s most rare coffee. The coffee obviously it’s the kopi luwak, a glistening cup of coffee.
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 makes it different from other coffees? In the end, is kopi Luwak worth a try? If they’re top-quality, any coffee beans available can provide you with an experience that is truly unique as you experience a journey filled with scents and flavors that haven’t been able to taste yet, and kopi luwak is certainly not an exception. If you’re interested, you should embark on a journey into the world of Kopi Luwak!
The story of Kopi Luwak: How Did it All Start?
According to legend, during the 18th century Dutch colonists living in Indonesia required the local farmers to give their coffee harvest to newcomers. As if that wasn’t enough they barred the poor Indonesians from taking coffee berries to meet their personal use. They were stripped of their favorite drink however, the smart locals quickly came up with a solution. When looking at palm civets, small native animals that are referred to as luwak by the inhabitants–one day, farmers noticed they enjoy eating coffee berries, just as they enjoy eating tropical fruits and various insects. Once they were consumed, these coffee berries were sucked out of their pulp inside their digestive system of the palm civet and the seeds, also known as coffee beans that remained were removed as well as Faecal matter. The locals decided to try something new and began cleaning the berries, washing them, drying and roasting the beans. Imagine their delight when they realized that the luwak coffee they brewed tastes better than regular coffee! The resultant brew was more subtle and less bitter, characterized by a pleasant aftertaste. The rumors about this drink quickly spread to Dutch colonists too. It took a short time for copi luwak to spread its exotic appeal all over the globe.
Kopi Luwak Goes Hollywood
We’ve already discussed The Bucket List (2007) which was a film the main reason behind many westerners discovering kopi Luwak at the dawn into the new century. Let’s take a look at the impact it had on westerners will we?
This film tells the tale of two retired people who are terminally sick: Edward Cole, a billionaire in the corporate world who is played by Jack Nicholson, and an ordinary mechanic from the working class Carter Chambers played by Morgan Freeman. There’s nothing they have to do, the two characters are reunited within the same room in a hospital. Carter is ruminating about the limited time left, and decides to write an outline of all the adventures he’d like enjoy while alive. When Edward learns of the list, he gives Carter an offer the mechanic cannot refuse the chance to escape the hospital, embark on a thrilling journey, and help make his wishes come true.
Within 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 rare beverage on the planet”. The affluent connoisseur also carries the bag with an espresso syphon every time he travels: this means he is able to taste 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”. The Sumatran village in which coffee beans grow is a trees that are wild. They eat beans and digest them, afterwards… eliminate. The villagers sort and treat the stools. It is the mixture of the beans with the gastric juices from the cat in the tree that give the unique flavor and aroma.
When they hear that, the two pals begin to laugh hysterically. Carter is able to tick off one thing on his bucket-list. It states Laugh until I Cry.
With such a stunning scene it’s no wonder that kopi Luwak was added to the bucket lists of many people from all over the world. Attracted by the charisma of Nicholson and intrigued by the unique story of its origin, coffee enthusiasts 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 what makes this coffee unique? Perhaps its fame is just marketing gimmick, inspired by a hilarious scene in the screen of a Hollywood film? Are these beans different from other varieties of coffee? Can genuine kopi luwaks be recognized just by its taste?
In the year 2004, Massimo Marcone, a food scientist within the University of Guelph (Canada) was the subject of his study. His aim was to discover whether this coffee was different from other coffees to any degree. Examining kopi luwak using the naked eye didn’t show any notable distinctions and, therefore, Marcone took it one step further and used an extremely powerful microscope. He noticed tiny cracks in the beans. The regular varieties weren’t even cracked and this is definitely something else.
After careful study after which the scientist realized that the cracks are due to enzymes inside the stomachs of palm Civets. The enzymes penetrated the outer shell of the bean, causing proteins to degrade. Since the beans spent about for 24 hours inside the palm civet’s stomach they began to sprout. In the end the kopi luwak beans can be believed to undergo a distinct kind of malting process that’s why we wouldn’t be far off if we refer to kopi Luwak as the “malted coffee”.
Amount of proteins contained in the coffee is exactly what the bitterness of your coffee is based on: the higher amount of proteins are present in the beans the more bitter the flavor of the beverage is. Intense protein decomposition lends kopi luwak its delicate flavour. Other tests, including electronic odour analysis have confirmed that the smells and tastes that are detected 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 that the phrase “kopi Luwak” refers to a particular process, not the specific bean variety. The taste you get from your kopi-luwak will depend on the other factors it comes across during the process, including the kind of coffee you choose (arabica and robusta) as well as the conditions for harvesting as well as the selections of the roaster… This all which means that different varieties of kopi-luwaks could be identified by various quality. But the principle is that the better the quality of the beans used , and the more meticulous, skilled their processing and the better the resultant drink.
Uncertain if this particular type of coffee is healthy to drink? Studies conducted by Massimo Marcone has proved that it is. With careful cleansing and roasting any undesirable remnants are removed from beans, and the most desirable properties are effectively retained and enhanced.
What is kopi luwak flavor as you ask? It’s rich, deep and particularly thick. It’s characterized by the scent of nuts and chocolate. It’s got a hint of toasted caramel. After you’ve finished drinking it, a refreshing lasting aftertaste sticks to your palate for quite long time. Doesn’t that sound appealing, does it not?
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