Civet Cat “Kopi Luwak” Coffees
General BackgroundBuy Now
Asian Palm Civet Cats inhabit the islands of Sumatra, Java and Sulawesi in the Indonesian Archipelago, in the Benguet region of the northern Philippines in Bali, and in India.
Civet coffee is coffee made from coffee berries which have been eaten by and passed through the digestive tract of the Asian Palm Civet, which are catlike animals with long noses that love their coffee cherries fresh. They move at night, creeping along the coffee trees, sniffing out sweet red coffee cherries and selecting only the ripest.
After chewing off the fruity exterior, the Civets swallow the bean whole and enzymes within the stomach massage the beans, smoothing off the harsh edges while passing through their system undigested. It is believed that these enzymes add to the flavour by breaking down any residual bitterness. The beans are defecated by the civets and then washed hygienically and thoroughly before being given only a light roast so as to not to destroy the coffee’s complex flavors.
Scientific Facts About Civet Coffee
Canadian food scientist, Massimo Marcone, has undertaken significant research on civet coffee and found that a civet’s digestive system definitely removes some caffeine. Furthermore, the civet’s enzymes indeed reduce the proteins that make coffee bitter, which is why “Kopi Luwak” has such a smooth and pleasant flavour. Marcone himself commented that real civet coffee highlights the rich, dark chocolate flavours with earthy tones.
Civet Coffee In Popular Culture
The CSI episode, "Last Laugh", features Kopi Luwak. Its presence in poisoned water allows the investigators to determine who the killer is.
Kopi Luwak is featured in the 2007 film, The Bucket List. Jack Nicholson's character drinks Kopi Luwak.
In the Gossip Girl episode, "It's a Wonderful Lie" (S212), Ian's girlfriend asks Dan whether he has any Kopi Luwak in the coffee shop.
Sea Island Coffee Civet Cat “Kopi Luwak” Coffees
Philippines Kape Musang Coffee
This coffee is produced in the highlands of the Benguet region in the northern Philippines.
At altitudes of 1800 to 1970 metres above sea level, the droppings are collected by the Kankanaey and Ibaloi tribes, indigenous people who have inhabited this land for thousands of years. They gather the droppings left by the Musangs (as the civets are called in Philippines, as well as in Sumatra). They then carefully wash the coffee beans and lay it out in the sun to dry.
In the past, the Musangs were hunted, but the popularity of this coffee and the income it brings to the community have had a very positive impact on the populations of Musangs who are now fiercely protected by the natives.
Cupping Assessment by Coffee Expert, Kenneth Davids
“Rich, very sweet-toned aroma: hints of fruit, aromatic wood, earth, dark chocolate. In the cup roundly muted acidity, lightly syrupy mouthfeel, and continued sweetness with a pungent, earthy fruit that leans toward chocolate. Rich finish with continued chocolate and a slight suggestion of nuts.”
India, Balmadies Civet Cat Coffee or “Monkey Parchment”
This “Kopi Luwak” coffee is collected at Balmadies Estate, a coffee farm located at 1,400 metres above sea level in the Nilgiris region in southern India. This area is also known as the Blue Mountains of India.
Balmadies is a Tamil word which means “udder of the cow”. This name is very appropriate as the farm nestles in a verdant valley through which flow numerous mountain streams.
Coffee is produced at Balmadies Estate using the Bio-Dynamic method of production, which is one step higher than Organic. It not only includes the principles and practices of Organic cultivation, but also takes into account the cosmic movements of the Sun and Moon during cultivation, including fertilization, pruning, handling and all cultural practices followed on the farm. This type of cultivation uses not only the natural ingredients, but is also in step with the nature’s cycles.
Workers at Balmadies Estate gather the coffee which have been eaten by and passed through the digestive tract of the Civets and left on the ground or in fallen trunks. It is carefully washed and dried afterwards. In India they also call this kind of coffee “Monkey Parchment”, even though monkeys don’t have anything to do with it.
As far as we know, this is the only single estate and Bio-Dynamic civet coffee in the world.
Cupping Assessment by Coffee Expert, Kenneth Davids
“Deep, resonant aroma: roasted nut and an orangy dark chocolate. Muted acidity, syrupy mouthfeel, round balance, quiet notes of dark chocolate and orange-toned nut. The short finish is simple but a hint of the dark chocolate surfaces in the long.”
Sumatra Kopi Musang Coffee
This coffee is produced in Banda Aceh, northern Sumatra, one of the most important coffee regions in Sumatra.
The droppings are collected in the highlands of Banda Ache at 1300 metres above sea level. This coffee is 100% Arabica.
The Kopi Musang coffee was discovered by a Dutch Governor in the 15th century. At that time each and every coffee bean produced in Sumatra was exported to Holland and, accordingly, the indigenous Sumatran people were left with no coffee for their own consumption. Their only option to drink coffee was to recover the one mixed with the droppings of the Musang (Civets).
On a regional tour, the Dutch Governor detected a very rich and deep coffee aroma coming from a local hut. He followed the aroma, drank the coffee and fell in love with its sweet taste and that is how the West discovered Kopi Musang. From that day onwards, the only coffee that the Dutch Governor would drink was Kopi Musang.
Yunnan is the most south western province in China, with the Tropic of Cancer running directly through this mountainous region. It has a mild tropical climate and is thus perfect coffee territory.
Coffee cultivation was introduced to the south-facing mountain slopes of Yunnan by French missionaries in 1890 who brought seedlings, gathered during their journeys in Laos and Burma. Nowadays the coffee, a blend of the Catimor, Bourbon and Typica varieties of Arabica, is grown by Mr Zuo, owner of Zuo Yuan Estate, Civet Cats roam the estate searching for the ripest and sweetest cherries at night. By day, Mr Zuo and the other farmers search the land, far and wide, for the Civet droppings at elevations of 1150 metres above sea level.
Finely balanced & mellow, Zuo Yuan Civet Cat coffee is soft and silky sweet in the cup with almost no bitterness.
Timor-Leste Laku-Ten Kopi Luwak Coffee
In the Highlands of Timor-Leste there lives a little seen and very shy nocturnal animal called the Laku also known as the Asian Palm Civet (Paradoxurus hermaphroditus) or Luwak in the Indonesian language. The Asian Palm Civet is an omnivore utilizing fruits and berries as a major food source including coffee cherries, and thus helps to maintain tropical forest ecosystems via seed dispersal. They also eat small mammals and insects. Ecologically, they fill a similar niche in Asia as Raccoons in North America.
In Timor-Leste the Laku is a totally wild animal and it is not kept in any form of cage nor forced to feed on coffee cherries. It does so of its own accord. This has also helped to ensure its continued survival in the wild. As it now provides valuable income to the local communities that in the past would have killed the animal for food. This also means that the quantities available will vary from season to season depending on the size of the crop.
The Laku will feed on both Arabica and Robusta coffee cherries. However, these are not mixed as the two crops are grown in different areas and have different harvesting times.
During the Coffee Harvesting season the Laku will feed on only very ripe coffee cherries that it eats for the fleshy pulp. The coffee beans pass through the civet’s digestive tract where the outer fruit is mostly digested, and then the beans are then defecated onto the ground.
The deposits left by the Laku after its nightly meals in the coffee fields are then gathered up by the coffee farmers and placed in the Sun to dry out. Once the drying process is completed the Laku-ten is then delivered to Timorcorp’s processing facility in its original form (pellet) for hulling and hand-sorting.
The Coffee Diversa plantation has a new and highly exciting coffee to add to its diverse range of coffees; Bat Coffee.
The bats are feeding on the coffee cherries but, unlike the famous Kopi Luwak civet cats, the bats are too small to swallow the coffee cherries. The bat breaks the skin of the ripe cherries with its teeth, they then feed on the cherry pulp and lick the sugar-rich mucilage and thereby initiates the uniquely natural coffee processing method of the actual bean with the coffees being left on the tree and exposed to the sun as nature’s own way of drying the coffee. They are then handpicked and processed.
This is the first time, as far as we know, that this type of Bat Coffee has been offered anywhere in the world and as this coffee is so unique and rare we feel very fortunate to have it.Artibeus Jamaicensis is the bat species found in the forests surrounding the Coffee Diversa coffee garden in Costa Rica.