Kopi Luwak, again.

growing, harvesting, processing, cupping, purchasing

Kopi Luwak, again.

Postby Emily Oak on Mon May 24, 2010 4:36 pm

General question:

Has anyone ever drunk and enjoyed a cup/espresso/brew of Kopi Luwak coffee? I've tried it a few times and never enjoyed what I tasted.

I got quite angry at a tweet I recently saw that said:

"The world's rarest coffee - Kopi Luwak - is now available at Olio! First in Sydney to offer this experience on a daily basis at $9/cup!"

Considering the recent fuss and media storm over the Cafe Grumpy $12 Nekisse I can't help but wonder why it seems easier to get people to pay higher prices for cat shit coffee, yet baulk at the idea of spending a similar amount of money on a rare coffee that actually tastes good (or just spend more money on good coffee, which usually comes at a higher price).

Thoughts, experiences, suggestions?
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Re: Kopi Luwak, again.

Postby JakeLiefer on Mon May 24, 2010 7:12 pm

It's all about the story. This happens all the time in other products too. Take Absinthe for example. It's pretty well figured out that it doesn't cause hallucinogenic effects, and even if it did, stateside absinthe laws require it to be thujone free (the supposed chemical that causes mind altering effects). However, tell that to some 20something at the bar that wants to order a round of absinthe for his buddies. Regardless of the facts, people will continue to believe what they want and buy based on the response it brings. People will still buy absinthe because it sounds cool, mysterious, and illicit. "Dude! I did a shot of absinthe!"

People will buy Kopi Luwak because it sounds rare, exotic, and well... weird. It makes for a good story. You can tell them till your face gets red about the Nekisse, but that's not as good of a story as telling someone that you drank an exotic rare coffee that some animal craps out.

This is why the coffee stories that you hear about on the travel channel or read about in a in-flight magazine will always talk about Kopi Luwak. It's a good story. Unfortunately, people are more interested in reading about "Exotic animal eats coffee and craps it out" than "Ethiopian farm meticulously cares for their coffee and produces a wonderful cup." Kopi Luwak will always be swooned over by writers looking for an easy story to write.
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Re: Kopi Luwak, again.

Postby nick on Mon May 24, 2010 9:43 pm

Emily Oak wrote:Considering the recent fuss and media storm over the Cafe Grumpy $12 Nekisse I can't help but wonder why it seems easier to get people to pay higher prices for cat shit coffee, yet baulk at the idea of spending a similar amount of money on a rare coffee that actually tastes good (or just spend more money on good coffee, which usually comes at a higher price).

Are you sure it's actually "easier" as you say? This seems to me to be more about perception than reality.
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Re: Kopi Luwak, again.

Postby phaelon56 on Tue May 25, 2010 9:42 am

Kopi Luwak - the world's most frequently counterfeited coffee. I was traveling Vietnam in January and found it widely sold as "Weasel Coffee". Sources tell me that most, if not all, of the Kopi Luwak sold there is complete BS and has not passed through a civet or any other animal. Trung Ngyuen, the most widely known nationally sold Vietnamese brand, offers "Legendee" - a whole bean coffee treated with enzymes before roasting. Their claim is that they analyzed the enzymes of the civet's digestive tract and produced them in the lab in production quantities. Makes sense and although I haven't tasted the coffee, I'd like to just to have a reference point.

Your point about the idiocy of the marketing is on the money. The sad thing is how effective word-of-mouth can be for such a thing. 50% of the people I meet who find out I have some affiliation with coffee ask me my opinion of Kopi Luwak.
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Re: Kopi Luwak, again.

Postby Marshall on Tue May 25, 2010 1:08 pm

I applied some corrective when I was interviewed last month by a Yahoo! reporter. My response at the very end is written as if it came out of the blue, but was actually prompted by her asking me if I knew "any other 'gross' coffee facts." http://shine.yahoo.com/channel/food/crappy-coffee-report-would-you-drink-joe-made-from-poop-1309453/?pg=8
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Re: Kopi Luwak, again.

Postby Scott Lindsay on Wed Oct 20, 2010 11:56 pm

Please don’t buy this coffee as after recent to origin, I went to a farm where these beautiful animals where kept in cages and feed bananas stuff with coffee cherries just so people could buy this so call elusive product
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Re: Kopi Luwak, again.

Postby Jason Haeger on Tue Oct 26, 2010 3:17 pm

Scott Lindsay wrote:Please don’t buy this coffee as after recent to origin, I went to a farm where these beautiful animals where kept in cages and feed bananas stuff with coffee cherries just so people could buy this so call elusive product

Wow, that's terrible. I'm glad for the information. Thank you.

Another reason to hate fecal coffee. :shock:
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Re: Kopi Luwak, again.

Postby Shaughan Dunne on Mon Nov 01, 2010 1:34 am

Hi Folks,
Until recently this was my opinion as well. At a recent "Best Of Indonesia" cupping held in Bali I was introduced to the owner of Maharaja coffee in Java. He is super passionate about wild harvested luwak. The coffees he presented were some of the best in the comp and cupped in the mid 80's.
Still debatable whether its worth the money and I'm also a bit conflicted if buying the wild harvested luwak creates more demand for the caged luwak.

Thanks-Shaughan
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Re: Kopi Luwak, again.

Postby Gross Andrew on Mon Nov 22, 2010 4:57 pm

Good Afternoon All

Civet coffee is made from the droppings of the civet that had eaten the best coffee cherries at hand, obviously. This does NOT state the varietal of coffee eaten. A few years ago I was fortunate to be taken to a growing region in the Phillippines that was inhabited by several civets native to the area. The coffee grown this region were of Liberica varieties. The resulting cup was less than spectacular. As to be expected rubbish in, rubbish out. I must assume that there is an obvious correlation between the quality of coffee, not the quality of the "process". :lol:
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Re: Kopi Luwak, again.

Postby colin99 on Fri Feb 25, 2011 10:57 am

I had a bag of Doi Chaang Thai civet coffee sent to me for tasting - among all the other "samples" of Kopi Luwak that I have had (and some of them were more fraudulent than a $3 bill...) - Well, it was "interesting" in that it had flavors in the cup that I have never had before -- and nothing unpleasant.

This stuff is "farmed" civet coffee in that the "cats" wander freely within an existing farm or series of farms - the coffee is also divided into "passed" and "Spat" coffees (how they determine that, I will leave to your imagination...)

The "passed" variety certainly had some quirky qualities.
The "spat" coffee tasted so much like the regular Thai coffees that I have had as to not warrant the price tag.

IMHO - the clear bulk of "Kopi Luwak" in the marketplace has something fishy about it -- that is, it may be chemically treated to make it appear like it was digested - but that is as far as it goes. For 200 to 600 dollars a pound, that is a pretty profit no matter how you slice it.
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Re: Kopi Luwak, again.

Postby ellenstevens on Mon Feb 28, 2011 8:08 am

Unfortunately, whenever large profits are being made, some unscrupulous "entrepreneurs" move in, seizing the opportunity to grab some of that themselves. It's irresistable! I think that eventually the scammers will create a bad name for this coffee, and it will be something that we reminisce about.
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Re: Kopi Luwak, again.

Postby taylormork on Mon Feb 28, 2011 6:53 pm

Call them scammers, call the quality poor (both highly likely), but, Emily, what I take from this is a great marketing lesson. We all know that "stories sell," and this is just a very clear example of that power. And if we all continue to apply that to sustainable and higher quality coffees, then this industry will do great things. Perhaps it could even help to sell a few more $12 cups of Nekisse. I can already see "96 point coffee harvested from a cupper's spittoon" as the next big thing.
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Re: Kopi Luwak, again.

Postby Gross Andrew on Tue Mar 29, 2011 5:59 pm

Hi All

Just got notification that Kopi Lewak has been made an illegal import into Australia, the same as blue vein cheese and some pates.... interesting!!
:lol:
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Re: Kopi Luwak, again.

Postby phaelon56 on Tue Mar 29, 2011 8:02 pm

JakeLiefer wrote:It's all about the story. This happens all the time in other products too. Take Absinthe for example. It's pretty well figured out that it doesn't cause hallucinogenic effects, and even if it did, stateside absinthe laws require it to be thujone free (the supposed chemical that causes mind altering effects). However, tell that to some 20something at the bar that wants to order a round of absinthe for his buddies. Regardless of the facts, people will continue to believe what they want and buy based on the response it brings. People will still buy absinthe because it sounds cool, mysterious, and illicit. "Dude! I did a shot of absinthe!"


Some stories just have legs and keep coming back around with renewed vigor. The Kopi Luwak is high on that list - mostly for the bizarre factor I think.

Speaking of liquor myths - many of us her4e of a certain age will recall when the bar legend was that eating the worm in a bottle of Me3zcal had an effect akin to tripping on mescaline. NOT but that never stopped the story from circulating for years.
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