What’s a Kopi Luwak Anyway, and What Does It Have To Do With Coffee?

If you’re not quite sure what Kopi Luwak coffee is, there’s a great photoblog on msn.com news that goes into more detail about the Kopi Luwak process. The blog’s photos steal the show, as they feature the adorable Asian Palm Civet that unknowingly creates the best coffee in the world. One photo is shown at right. Can't you just hear him say "You want me to eat this and what?"

Just how does this cute little marsupial turn beans from the Indonesian islands of Sumatra, Java, Bali and Sulawesi; the Philippines; and East Timor, into an aromatic coffee with less bitterness than any other? Basically, the civet cat eats the coffee berries and after his enzymes make some beneficial changes to the bean, they leave his digestive tract.

After gathering, the beans are washed, sun dried, light roasted and brewed. These days, the process has been simplified by farmers raising their own Palm Civets so workers don’t have to go out searching for the beans. The whole process is done on the farm. The Vietnamese have simplified even more by eliminating the cute civet altogether and using simulated enzymes.

Because of the rarity of the beans and the great taste, this delicacy is a bit more expensive than other coffees. But for Kopi Luwak fans, the extra pennies are well worth it.

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