York, Pa.-based writer and coffee aficionado Maggie Koerth-Baker, along with her husband, recently provided an entertaining review of Kopi Luwak, often known as civet coffee.
As Koerth-Baker explains, “the hand-harvested bean of Kopi Luwak has been artisanally shat out of the digestive system of a small Indonesian pseudo-cat.” They’re not actually cats, but civets, small mammals found throughout Indonesia that feed on the coffee fruit, while beans pass whole through their digestive tracts, with enzymes breaking down the proteins.
Kopi Luwak is widely considered to be the most expensive coffee in the world. For example, at Koerth-Baker’s local artisan coffee supplier, the beans retail for $420 per pound, or $10 for a brewed cup.
As for the review:
There is a difference in flavor. Kopi Luwak is noticeably not bitter. Swallow a sip, and it’s like you just drank some water. There’s no sting or heavy flavor left in the back of your throat. That makes sense. Proteins are part of what is responsible for the bitterness of coffee. Kopi Luwak beans have fewer whole proteins than normal beans. So they’re less bitter, but still taste good. As my husband put it, “Everything that is wrong with cheap gas station coffee is right about this.”
Will Koerth-Baker be buying civet coffee again? Probably not:
That difference is totally not worth the price. Again, to quote my husband, “If I were a Russian oligarch or an investment banker or something, and $420 a pound represented a much smaller amount of my time worked, I’d probably drink this. As it is, not worth it.”
The full story: Boingboing