Articles From Whole Latte Love

Rarest Coffee?

Posted: 08/20/03

It sounds like an urban myth of some sort. You can’t keep yourself from laughing the first time you hear of it. As strange as it may be, Kopi Luwak is not an urban myth but in fact one of the rarest and most costly coffees in the world.

Palm CivetKopi Luwak gains it’s legendary status from the way it is “processed”, as opposed to its origin. There is a small cat-like animal called the Palm Civet (Paradoxurus hermaphroditus) found in Indonesia that reside in the coffee trees. Civets were considered pests because they constantly ate the ripe red coffee cherries of the trees. Just like the rest of us, what Civets eat, Civets digest and excrete. One fine day some rather bored locals gathered the expelled beans to find them still intact and wrapped in their thin layers of cherry mucilage. We’re not too sure how the story goes from this point but they decided to roast these beans.

They found that the Civet’s stomach enzymes added uniqueness to the flavor of the coffee. This process of natural fermentation using stomach acids and enzymes has a different effect than the typical fermentation with water. We personally have yet to try it, but those that have, described it as having a heavy caramel taste, gamy flavor and a musty and jungle-like aroma.

Because of this “process” it obviously takes a long time to collect enough beans to roast. It can be found priced upwards $300 a pound and seems to have become more of a novelty coffee. If you do ever get a chance to taste it you just might be able to appreciate its uniqueness and rarity. Or not. Either way, we’d love to hear what you thought of it!