We had seen kopi luwak (civet cat coffee) sold at many different places in Indonesia, but this was the first time we had seen the operation “end to end”.
During a day spent hiking through the rice terraces around beautiful Ubud, Bali, we stopped in at a spice farm that was selling this famous beverage.
When we heard the coffee is produced by “civet cats” we pictured cute, fluffy, purring kittens. In actuality, the Asian palm civet is a nasty little ferret-type creature, with beady little eyes and a mean temper.
The civets eat coffee beans in the wild, though they only actually digest the fleshy “cherry” fruit that surrounds the beans. The beans are (ahem) expelled through their feces intact. I wish I knew the full story on the first guy that decided to try brewing coffee from these beans, but sadly that story has been lost to the sands of time.
Back home in New York City, this coffee goes for $30 a cup, but here in Indonesia I was able to sample it for 50,000 Rupiah (about US$5).
The beans are cleaned before they are roasted, ground, and brewed into coffee as usual. Coffee connoisseurs claim the civet cat coffee is smoother and mellower than your normal cuppa joe. So, what did I think? Watch the video:
While it sounds absolutely disgusting, in actuality I found kopi luwak tastes just like normal coffee. Perhaps my pallet is not refined enough to pick up the subtle differences in taste and acidity this coffee is renowned for…or perhaps they just sold me an overpriced cup of normal coffee.
Either way, I won’t be rushing back to try another cup.