If you have heard about civet coffee or kopi luwak, but not enough to know exactly what it is, that’s about to change. In this post, we are going to discuss what kopi luwak is and why people pay so much for coffee.
What is a Civet?
The civet or civet cat is a small mammal belonging to the Viverridae family. They have feliform (cat-like) bodies with heads more akin to that of a mongoose. These feliforms are not true felines of any order, nor do they belong to any order of the Herpestidae (mongoose) family.
The Viverridae family consists of only two broad species, namely civets and genets. In relevance to kopi luwak or civet coffee, the Asian palm civets are of the most importance. Unfortunately, the small fearful animals are widely hunted and even farmed for their meat in several regions. Fortunately, civet coffee has nothing to do with that.
What is Civet Coffee?
Civets are primarily carnivores, but a select few subspecies of the Asian palm civets are selective omnivores. These rare civets eat coffee beans with extreme prejudice, picking only the ripest, juiciest beans for consumption. In case you don’t know how civet coffee is made, this is the part that makes all the difference.
Civets cannot digest the whole bean, but they digest them just enough to remove that inherent bitterness of coffee from what is left. Changes that these beans undergo inside a civet’s digestive system are responsible for creating that unique, delectable taste of kopi luwak, aka civet coffee.
As long as the source is authentic, the collected beans go through several stages of cleaning, purifying, drying, and further fermenting. Post-processing, the civet coffee beans are turned into what is essentially the world’s richest coffee, aka kopi luwak.
Should You Try Civet Coffee?
Authentic kopi luwak is costly, but it is also the world’s richest coffee in terms of flavor as well. The choice is always your own, but if you can afford it, rest assured that the price is more than worth the cup. If you need more reasons to try civet coffee, read on as we discuss a few.
Full-Bodied Flavor without the Bitterness
Try kopi luwak because it tastes better, not bitter. Kopi luwak will always taste significantly less bitter than any other full-bodied coffee. It is possible to chemically remove some of the bitterness from coffee beans, but that process also lightens the bean’s original flavor quite significantly.
On the other hand, stomach enzymes inside an Asian palm civet only remove the bitterness from coffee beans, without lightening the original flavors. Note that if you are looking for a massive caffeine boost, kopi luwak may not be the best fit. However, since the beans have roughly half the caffeine content of undigested beans, kopi luwak will not leave you anxious with the infamous coffee jitters either.
Potential Health Benefits Exclusive to Civet Coffee
There is a high possibility that civet coffee might be even more beneficial to human health than regular coffee. There might be a relationship between regular consumption of kopi luwak and:
- A reduction in depression and mood swings.
- Decreased chances of developing kidney stones, type II diabetes, and PCOS.
- Better neuromuscular coordination.
Civet coffee is, after all, a unique variety of very rich coffee. It means that just like any other cup of high-quality coffee, kopi luwak also acts as a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agent. These effects reduce our chances of developing heart disease, type II diabetes, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, certain types of cancer (colon, uterus, liver, etc.), and liver cirrhosis.