Luwak Coffee Is The Shit, Literally
Amazingly enough, the most expensive coffee in the world comes as a product of an animal’s digestive system (aka ‘poop’). Then again, considering how much pearls cost and the fact that they are nothing more than a fleck of dirt covered in a mollusk’s slobber, maybe it’s not that amazing. Maybe, we just tend to put values in stuff covered in animals’ bodily fluid :p
I’m not a big fan of pearls, or gross food in general, but coffee that has come out of an animal’s behind? That — that, I think I can handle.
Meet The Coffee Pooper
Luwaks, a raccoon-type animal endemic in Indonesia just love to eat those yummy coffee berries. The flesh of the berries is consumed while enzymes in their digestive track dissolve the outer layer of the beans and naturalize the acid inside, but fortunately not the beans themselves.
And the luwaks simply… well… poop these beans out looking not unlike ‘Payday’ candy bars.
The resulting coffee is said to have very little acidity, making for a very smooth and unique coffee drinking experience — as long as you don’t over-think too much about where it comes from.
How can a country so famous for its coffee have such a big love affair with instant coffee?
We thought the quest to try what’s supposed to be the most expensive coffee in the world was going to be easy an easy one: we’re in a country world-renown for its coffee, and my parents already took care of the hardest part: getting a packet of 100% Luwak coffee beans during my mom’s visit to Sumatra, one of the coffee producing islands in Indonesia.
My parents were mighty proud of themselves for getting ahold of these priced beans, and they told us about how gourmet it’s supposed to be while sipping on a cup of instant coffee. The irony, truly was lost on them.
So, all we needed were a coffee grinder and a coffee machine. But finding a coffee grinder turns out to be much, much harder than we expected. There’s an almost-unhealthy obsession that this country has with instant coffee.
At a grocery store we counted 22 different types and brands of instant coffee.
I guess that’s why there’s no market for a coffee grinder… there’s nothing to grind!
3 days we searched for a grinder. We went to the obvious places: supermarkets, ACE Hardware stores, specialty coffee shops, and specialty household supply stores… to no avail.
The last day before our departure date we were on the verge of giving up. We went to check out a recently opened mall in Jakarta, the Grand Indonesia — true to its name it was the grandest and fanciest mall I’ve ever been to. If you ever want to shop for Chanel, Prada, and other brands where a purse can equal the GDP of a small African country — this is where you need to go!
We visited every single coffee shop in the mall. Nope. Nada. No grinders. ‘Bring the beans here, we’ll grind it for you.’ ‘No, thank you. We’re looking to buy one.’
On the way to the food court, we passed an electronic center selling flat screen TV’s, game consoles, and etc. As we walked past the housewares section — well, whaddaya know? Right there on a shelf right next to the aisle we saw what could possibly the ONLY burr grinder in Jakarta!
Woo hooo!! Success!!
Well, not including the grinder we had to buy, that cup of coffee cost about $12! — a tad more expensive than your daily Starbucks. It’s been said that some coffee shops charge anywhere from $20 – $80 a cup of Luwak coffee.
So, what were our first impressions after tasting the most expensive coffee in the world?
Jill’s mom: ‘Ugh… it’s bitter‘
Jill’s dad: ‘Ouch, be careful it’s really hot‘
Jill: ‘It’s good, I guess — is it me or does it smell a little poopy?’
Jack: ‘Is this weird that we’re all drinking from the same cup?’
The coffee did have a clean after taste and had none of the acid, bitterness that regular coffee seems to have. It had a strong and very distinct wood-y kind of aroma to it, almost as it had been sitting in a wood barrel of some sort for some time. I didn’t care for it too much at first, but it only took me a couple of sips to get used to it.
It was definitely different, but whether or not it’s worth it — it’s hard to say (I mean, I know I said I don’t like gross food, but I do love durians). So you’ve just gotta try it out for yourself. Just don’t over think too much about where the beans come out of.
So, knowing where Luwak coffee comes from, would you drink it?