Everything you need to know about Civet Cat Coffee or Kopi Luwak
Kopi Luwak is, hands down, one of the most talked about kind of gourmet coffee and one that also surrounds itself with a lot of myths and controversy. However, civet coffee or kopi luwak as it is more popularly known as, has a lot more to it than what is known by the average human.
In a more generalized sense of the term, kopi luwak or civet cat coffee is the coffee that is derived from the excreta of the cat after it has consumed the whole coffee berry. The term Kopi Luwak has been derived from Indonesian roots where Kopi translates to coffee and luwak is an Asian Palm Civet, thus translating in literal terms to Civet Coffee.
Kopi Luwak is easily one of the most expensive coffees that a man can consume not just because of the unique procedure involved in getting the seeds and brewing a cup but also because of the rarity that comes along with it. Besides, kopi luwak, whilst available all over the world today due to globalization and ease in transporting goods from one continent to another, it is specifically grown only in the regions of Sumatra, Sulawesi, Java and Bali in Indonesia. The civet cat coffee is so rare that farmers only produce up to 700 Kg in a given year. After washing the beans, they are only roasted up to the medium level as anything higher can destroy the complex notes and flavors that this coffee is famous for.
Essentially, when it comes to creating this exquisite coffee, there are two parties that play a major role. The first is, undoubtedly, the civet or the cat and the second party is the team of coffee farmers who deliver the final product.
Given below is the entire procedure that is undertaken from start to finish to produce this expensive and rare coffee.
- Collecting the coffee beans:
Essentially, the civet or the cat consumes the coffee berries as a large part of its everyday diet. While the outer fruit gets easily digested, it is the coffee bean itself within these berries that does not undergo digestion and is therefore, thrown out of the civet’s body in the form of excreta.
The coffee farmers who work in these fields locally then collect these excreta. This is the first step in obtaining the extremely rare and gourmet civet cat coffee or kopi luwak. Apart from using a coffee roaster, there is hardly ever any kind of equipment used and every other step that is involved in the preparation of the final product is done so by hand.
- Sorting and cleaning the beans:
Once the farmers have acquired the raw materials, it is then time to meticulously have the beans cleaned so as to separate the feces from the bean. The layers that envelop the green coffee beans are crumbled and the coveted beans are obtained.
The work that follows is quite monotonous and needs to be done in an immaculate manner so as to ensure that only the best Civet coffee is delivered to coffee connoisseurs. Essentially, every single bean is inspected carefully to check for quality. Smaller ones are usually discarded. Sometimes, there is also a possibility of finding stones in the feces and therefore, taking them out for safety purposes is important. Once the sorting is done, the exceptional quality green beans are taken to the next stage of the kopi luwak experience by roasting them.
- Getting the beans cleaned:
However, the beans are not directly taken to roast. They first need to be washed and dried to remove any unwanted fecal matter that may still be attached to the beans. Once the green beans have been thoroughly washed, they are then dried sufficiently. This forms a very important part of the procedure since any kind of humidity can wreak havoc on the precious beans and can lead to fermentation. The civet coffee beans are then stored in a place devoid of any humidity and generally in a dark environment until they are ready for the roasting.
Irrespective of the kind of Civet coffee being made, it is the roasting process that gives every kind of coffee its distinct aroma and body. Therefore, even if two different companies have managed to obtain the same kind of coffee beans, the final flavor of the coffee is likely to vary vastly depending on the procedure adopted when roasting the green coffee bean.
In the usual roasting environment, coffee seeds are subjected to no more that 230 degrees C and need a minimum temperature of 220 degrees C for the perfect aroma and body.
For kopi luwak, a medium roast works well. They are not usually roasted beyond medium as it can interfere greatly with the complexity of the flavors and it is only when the green coffee bean for the civet cat coffee has been roasted to light or medium does one enjoy the real flavors.
Once the kopi luwak beans or Civet Coffee have been adequately roasted, they are passed through a quick cooling procedure to stop further roasting and acquire the perfect aroma. For the most intense and original kopi luwak flavor, it is crucial to grind the beans only after 12 hours of its roasting as anything less can affect the way the final product tastes.
When enjoying your cup of kopi luwak, it is extremely important to protect the coffee grinds from coming into contact with oxygen and humidity as it can cause the coffee to lose its potency. At the same time, protecting it from direct sunlight will ensure that you get to enjoy maximum flavor from your kopi luwak coffee of civet coffee.