Most coffees begin in much the same way, growing up from the ground, picked by coffee farmers, transported to roasters and then off to your cup. Kopi Luwak however, takes a somewhat different route. Kopi Luwak is not about a specific bean but more about where that bean has been. The name translated means “civet coffee”.
The Civet is a cat-like animal found in Africa and Asia. Unfortunately for the Civet, they have many appealing qualities, and are highly coveted for their meat, their musk, and their uncanny love for coffee cherries (the fruit of the coffee plant which holds the bean or seed).
As the story is told, it begins with the civet’s ability to choose the ripest and sweetest coffee cherries. The civets love the fruit but they are unable to completely digest the bean. Coffee workers then scour the ground for their distinctive droppings that hold the undigested cherries.
The rarity of the civets and this process of retrieving and processing the beans has created a great demand and the highest price ever for a coffee bean. In 2007 Kopi Luwak weighed in at $160 per pound, according to Forbes Magazine. This year, the price is up to $227.
Does it merit its price?
Evidently many coffee connoisseurs think it does. According to those who love Kopi Luwak, the combination of the civets love for the best coffee cherries, their digestive enzymes that break down the coffee cherries removing the bitter qualities, and the light roasting leaves a complex sweet coffee that has a following willing to pay the huge price tag.
Should you be shopping for a mortgage to get a taste of Kopi Luwak?
Unless you are a true connoisseur, cupping like a pro and drinking your coffee black, I would say no. Try finding a coffee you can love within your budget.
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