For many people, coffee is indispensable in their lives, and many of us cannot start the day without a cup of coffee. But as much as we love coffee, our knowledge is limited to the classic bean varieties and more traditional preparations.
However, a small group of coffee enthusiasts always want to go one step further, whether it is the choice of bean, roast or preparation. If you belong to this group, you may be familiar with Kopi Luwak or civet coffee.
Civet coffee has a unique characteristic that makes it one of the rarest coffees in the world and one of the best. The Kopi Luwak coffee bean is not harvested from the coffee tree but from the civet’s faeces.
What is Kopi Luwak or civet coffee?
To better understand what civet coffee is all about, we must first know the animal responsible for such a high-quality product; the civet. The civet is a small nocturnal mammal, physically very similar to a raccoon, native to Africa and tropical Asia.
Now you may be wondering what this animal has to do with coffee and why it is called Kopi Luwak and civet coffee. To answer the second question, we have to travel to Indonesia, where the word Kopi means coffee and Luwak means civet. As for the first question, the civet ingests the coffee berries and defecates the coffee beans without the husk.
I don’t know what kind of person first thought it was good to use the coffee beans directly from the civet’s excrement. Although the animal’s digestive system takes care of removing the husk, the beans have to be washed thoroughly before they can be roasted.
The harvesting, washing and roasting of this coffee are described below.
How is civet coffee obtained?
We have reached the unpleasant moment of this article because I may have to tell you some not-so-pleasant things about how civets are treated in Indonesia and what is involved in the commercialisation of this type of coffee.
As mentioned earlier, civets are native to parts of Africa and tropical Asia. In Indonesia, virtually all the Kopi Luwak on the market was born and come from.
Civets are omnivorous animals, i.e. they eat everything. When a civet is in the wild, its diet consists of mice, frogs, eggs, fruits and vegetables. If these civets had coffee berries nearby, they would feed on them, but they would barely make up 1% of their total diet.
Civets ingest the berries with little or no damage to the coffee bean. They possess enzymes that can chemically modify the excreted coffee bean, removing some of the bitterness and imparting a unique flavour and aroma.
So, if animals in the wild can produce such an exquisite product, why not capture them and produce that product in larger quantities without having to go out into the rainforest to collect the excrement? This reasoning leads many producers to put civets in cages and feed the civets on coffee berries only.
Remember that civets are wild animals and that coffee berries make up about 1% of their diet if they have coffee trees nearby. There is no guarantee that the civet coffee we buy does not come from animals suffering in a cage and whose only purpose is to eat coffee berries.
The PETA association has reported this situation in a video that I share with you here.
Should I buy civet coffee?
This article was born to make civet coffee known and offer the reader some purchase links from which they could buy and taste this exquisite coffee. However, after researching this topic as we do in our articles, we decided to use this small space for information purposes.
We will not tell you what you should do because we think that each individual is free to make their own decisions, but we are not going to offer purchase links to these products because we believe that consuming this type of coffee promotes animal abuse.
So if you want to buy civet coffee, you need to do one more search on the internet.
How to prepare civet coffee so as not to ruin it
If you have finally decided to buy civet coffee, we would like to answer your questions about how to prepare it. Since we are talking about a unique type of coffee with exquisite properties, you should use the most suitable method to appreciate all the nuances.
There is no special method for preparing civet coffee, none that particularly favours this type of coffee. However, as with all good coffees, in order to appreciate all the nuances, a pour-over method should be used. With this method, the coffee will have more body, less acidity and will be easier for the user to control.