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World’s Most Expensive Coffee

April 17, 2009

Indonasian Style of cofee will welcome you to the sunlight with the most expensive coffee in the world.

Kopi Luwak[ad#ad-link] the most expensive coffee in the world does exist, and those who drink the expensive coffee insist that it is made from coffee beans eaten, partly digested and then excreted by the Common palm civet, a weasel-like animal.[ad#ad-3rect]

mostexpensive-coffee-kapi-luwakKopi Luwak is the most expensive coffee in the world, selling for between $120 and $600 USD per pound, and is sold mainly in Japan and the United States. It is increasingly becoming available elsewhere, though supplies are limited; only 1,000 pounds (450 kg) at most make it into the world market each year.One small cafe, the Heritage Tea Rooms, in the hills outside Townsville in Queensland, Australia, has Kopi Luwak coffee on the menu at A$50.00 (=US$33.00) per cup, selling approximately four cups a week, which has gained nationwide Australian press.In April 2008, the brasserie of Peter Jones department store in London’s Sloane Square started selling a blend of Kopi Luwak peanut and Blue Mountain called Caffe Raro for £50 (=US$99.00) a cup.It has also recently become available at Selfridges, London, as part of their “Edible” range of exotic foods. It is also available in Toronto, Canada, at Coffeeholic: Handdrip Roastery in the upper Forest Hill village on Eglinton Avenue West.

Production and Origin:

Kopi is the Indonesian word for coffee, and luwak is a local name of the Asian Palm Civet. The raw, red coffee berries are part of its normal diet, along with insects, small mammals, small reptiles, eggs and nestlings of birds, and other fruit. The inner bean of the berry is not digested, but it has been proposed that enzymes in the stomach of the civet add to the coffee’s flavor by breaking down the proteins that give coffee its bitter taste. The beans are defecated, still covered in some inner layers of the berry. The beans are washed, and given only a light roast so as to not destroy the complex flavors that develop through the process. Some sources claim that the beans may be regurgitated instead of defecated.

In early days, the beans would be collected in the wild from a “latrine,” or a specific place where the civet would defecate as a means to mark its territory, and these latrines would be a predictable place for local gatherers to find the beans. More commonly today, captured civets are fed raw berries, the feces produced are then processed and the coffee beans offered for sale.

Making it Worth:The Research[ad#ldpost]
A popular and intuitive hypothesis to justify this coffee’s reputation proposes that the beans are of superior quality before they are even ingested. At any given point during a harvest, some coffee berries are not quite ripe or overripe, while others are just right. The palm civet evolved as an omnivore that naturally eats fruit and passes undigested material as a natural link to disperse seeds in a forest ecosystem. Where coffee plants have been introduced into their habitat, civets only forage on the most ripe berries, digest the fleshy outer layer, and later excrete the seeds eventually used for human consumption. Thus, when the fruit is at its peak, the seeds (or beans) within are equally so, with the expectation that this will come through in the taste of a freshly brewed cup. As this may be true for the beans derived from wild-collected civet feces, farm-raised civets are likely fed beans of varying quality and ripeness, so one would expect the taste of farm-raised beans to be less.

Further research by Dr. Massimo Marcone at the University of Guelph (CA) has shown that the digestive juices of the civet actually penetrate the beans and change the proteins, resulting in their unique flavor.

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