While travelling through West Sumatra, we are excited by everything that grows, flowers or bears fruit. As far as the edible world is concerned, we have already spotted (with a little help from the guides) the lemon grass, cardamom, cinnamon, cocoa and coffee trees. Not to mention the ubiquitous rice fields of course.
In West Sumatra you can find the wild civet cat called luwak, which prowles the coffee plantations during the night. This lovely vegetarian feeds on fresh coffee berries excreting the fermented seeds. Then the brave villagers prowl the coffee plantations during the day in the search of luwak’s poop. Kopi luwak, meaning “the coffee made from luwak” is one of the most expensive coffees in the world because of the not-so-efficient manufacturing method… The excreted seeds are washed and peeled of husks and then roasted so there’s no need to fear the poop.
Although the peeled seeds may look untouched, the luwak’s proteolitic enzymes get inside partially digesting the seed proteins. The brew is very mild, without the acidic aftertaste and low in caffeine. Just about right for a coffee weenie like me, although Marcin also enjoyed it.
Such coffee is naturally organic and according to Ms Umul, who runs the family business producing and selling kopi luwak, the wild cat always picks the best quality berries and only defecates in clean places!
The kopi luwak you can get in supermarkets is a result of a half-industrial manufacturing, which means that the lovely civet cats are kept in cages and fed just like the battery farm chickens. So, if you want to try the real thing and be nice to luwak, you’d better order the coffee through Ms Umul’s website. The price is a little less than 20$ for 200 grams which seems surprisingly reasonable for the most expensive coffee in the world.