What do you think of when we say “premium coffee”? Many would say Kopi Luwak. Hailing from the islands of Indonesia, Kopi Luwak is unlike any other coffee in the world. Since there are unethical companies out there who exploit the Luwak for financial gain, it’s important to know where and how to get Kopi Luwak that is certified. What are some Kopi Luwak facts you should know? How can you tell if your Kopi Luwak is real?
Let’s take a look at some Kopi Luwak facts that will help you understand the most expensive coffee in the world.
1) What makes Kopi Luwak so special?
Let’s get it out of the way: Kopi Luwak comes from Luwak droppings. Luwak are otherwise known as Asian Palm Civet, a tree-dwelling animal that eats only the ripest coffee cherries.
What’s peculiar is that the civet doesn’t fully digest the cherries, and they are passed out in almost its original state, albeit slightly fermented. It is this fermentation process that takes place in the civet’s stomach that gives the final product its unique taste.
2) What does Kopi Luwak taste like?
Kopi Luwak has an oilier texture, with a flavor that’s earthy and pronounced. Some even say that it tastes like dark chocolate without as much of the bitterness that characterizes other coffees. That said, quality can vary, and with it, the taste. It pays to get your Kopi Luwak from a reputable supplier.
3) Why is it so expensive?
One of the reasons why Kopi Luwak is so expensive is because of the process of obtaining and cleaning them. If you’re worried about hygiene and bacteria, Kopi Luwak undergoes a strict cleaning process to rid the beans of any contaminants. Afterwards, they are put out to air-dry before the roasting and grinding process. It is estimated that only about 10,000kg of Kopi Luwak are produced each year.
4) Why should I get Kopi Luwak from a reputable supplier?
Firstly, around 70% of Kopi Luwak available at coffee shops and over the Internet is not 100% pure Kopi Luwak. Sometimes, it doesn’t even contain any of the genuine coffee. There are lots of snake oil salesmen packaging inferior grade coffee under the Kopi Luwak banner and trying to get $300 for it.
Secondly, there is the concern of animal abuse. While there are still some Kopi Luwak that are wild-sourced, the vast majority of Kopi Luwak come from civets that have been captured, put in cages and force fed with coffee beans. For these reasons, you’ll want to get your Kopi Luwak from an ethical and certified source.
Doing so means that you are getting Kopi Luwak from civets that are not mistreated or abused, the coffee is pure and not mixed with other inferior grades, and the beans were handpicked by local farmers.
5) Where can I get authentic, ethical Kopi Luwak?
So now you’re probably thinking, all I have to do is track down a bag of ethically produced, free-range Kopi Luwak, right? The truth is that finding certified Kopi Luwak is a challenge.
Fortunately, UTZ Certified, the world’s leading label for sustainable coffee production, no longer certifies producers using caged civets. Similarly, the Sustainable Agriculture Network (SAN), which the Rainforest Alliance and other well-known coffee certifiers use to issue their stamps of approval, has banned coffee production from caged civets on its Indonesian farms.
Here are some Kopi Luwak brands bearing certifications:
Gayo Kopi sources its Kopi Luwak from the wilderness of the Gayo Highlands in Sumatra. Their products are traceable, and the company employs a stringent process to guarantee each bean is certified as wild. Gayo Kopi farms have set the standard for the sourcing and processing of truly wild Kopi Luwak in Indonesia. They are acclaimed by organizations such as the SCAI, SCAE, SCAA, and the Indonesian Government.
Civet Café produces and supplies Philippine-sourced Kopi Luwak from wild-roaming civets. The company is currently carrying the Fair Trade certification, however UTZ cage-free certification has yet to be established and standardized in the Philippines. Civet Café is at the forefront of this process to attain more widely recognized international certifications.
Kaya Kopi is family run coffee plantation in Pangalengan Highlands of West Java, Indonesia. They are also certified by Fairtrade International and only collect their coffee from wild civets. In fact, they are so confident of their product and farm, guests are welcome to visit for themselves.