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The curious case of the most expensive coffee

Shivangana Vasudeva, NDTV, Modified: October 09, 2014 11:24 IST

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The curious case of the most expensive coffee Friends, enthusiasts and coffee lovers, lend me your attention!

Does the thought of slurping the most expensive coffee in the world get you frothing with excitement? Oops! Might we add eccentric? Someone narrated a rather strange tale of animal dung and its association with one of the world's most rarefied coffees.

Statutory Warning: Contain yourself. This will blow your mind.

A tiny rare cat seems to have become a star overnight. How and why has it managed to come under the spotlight is a tale you just cannot miss!

Once upon a time there was an Asian Palm Civet native to the Indonesian islands of Java and Sumatra. It wandered aimlessly until one day it found a mission to attach itself to. While innocently chomping on the fruits of the coffee plant, it had no clue it would be responsible for the invention of the most expensive coffee in the world.

kopi-luwak-2_article.jpg                                            TheAsian Palm Civetwhich feeds on coffee cherries

Kopi Luwak, that's what the world's most expensive coffee is popularly known as. 'Kopi' is the Indonesian word for coffee and 'luwak' is the local name of this animal which eats the raw red coffee beans. The civet feeds on coffee cherries for its pulp. It digests the soft outer covering of cherries but is unable to digest the hard beans and excretes them. Believe it or not, it is these animal feces that are used to process coffee beans.

Now before you let out a shriek here's something more you'd like to feed on.  The beans go through the process of internal digestion in the civet's stomach. The stomach acids and enzymes help to ferment the beans, lending it its unique taste. Surprisingly, the beans are excreted in their original shape.  Back in the days, the local farmers of the islands are known to have discovered this unique creature and its quintessential coffee bean excreta.

kopi-luwak-1_article.jpg                                                    The civet's droppings which are processed to make coffee beans

What might fascinate you is also that these civets feed only on the ripest of coffee cherries. The natural fermentation of the choicest of beans is what makes them worth their weight in silver.

The excreted droppings with beans are collected, cleaned, dried and given a light roast carefully keeping its complex flavors intact.

kopi-luwak-roasted_article.jpg
...And that's the story of how the world's finest blends, Kopi Luwak was born.

This strange brew is said to be smooth, pleasant, earthy with hints of caramel and chocolate. Sip it and then let out a satisfied purr...


Other Links:

Drinking coffee may ward off diabetes

Coffee residue used to make dietary supplements

Coffee may help perk up your blood vessels

No time for tea? How Britain became a nation of coffee drinkers

'Coffee rust' causing massive damage, raising coffee prices

Bangalore: International coffee fest to be held from January 21

Nestle to build coffee centre in China

This column will change your life: coffee and creativity

Filter coffee: the return of a has-bean

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