This Coffee Comes From an Animal?

I am currently taking Beverage Management and Mixology lab. With my plan to open my own dessert bar, taking a beverage course seemed the best option. As it is still the beginning of the trimester, we are only into coffee, tea, and other non-alcoholic drinks.

Before starting the class, I considered myself someone who know the difference between good coffee and greasy-spoon sludge. After tasting over 200 types of coffee–everything from french roasts to green steamed–and all different brewing methods from french pressed to instant, I now know how to tell good coffee from exceptional coffee.

While we did follow traditional tasting methods and spit out the coffee, I still had the shakes from too much caffeine for about 5 hours after the class. It is truly amazing how many different flavors you can pick out of all the different coffees we tasted that day.

To my surprise, the best tasting (and most expensive) coffee was Kopi Luwak. Kopi Luwak is a rare and expensive coffee that is made in Sumatra, Java, and Sulawesi, Indonesia and sells retail for $25-$35 per pound. Although no one is certain who first brewed Kopi Luwak, the way of… um… harvesting the beans is the key to this coffee’s magic.

Farmers breed and raise a marsupial called a civet, which looks somewhat like a ferret. The civet eats the ripe coffee cherries whole, right off of the tree. While in the animal’s digestive tract, the meat of the cherry is broken down and when the civet expels the beans, they are clean of any fruit. While in the animal’s stomach, enzymes in their bodies break down the meat, which is what gives the beans a unique and delicious taste.

The farmers then wash the beans thoroughly and package them for shipment around the world. The beans can then be roasted to the desired degree, but are typically best roasted light or American. This keeps the expensive beans from losing their unique and robust flavor. One would only want to brew the beans in the best fashion, grind the beans on a medium setting, and pour 180 degree water over the coffee in a french press. Let the coffee sit for no longer than three minutes, press the filter down, and enjoy!

While I can honestly say I never thought I would try anything that was already eaten by another animal, I would recommend that this coffee for anyone who loves the drink.