A Cup Of Kopi Luwak Coffee

A barista is an interesting profession very suitable for socially-minded people who like to talk, meet people, listen to stories and enjoy the memories of special “coffee moments.” One of these special memories is the story of a cup of Kopi Luwak coffee that a coffee patron shared with a barista friend.

The coffee patron was very specific in his order of genuine gourmet Sumatra Mandheling coffee. He sighed at the absence of Kopi Luwak on the coffee menu. Kopi Luwak is among the most expensive coffees in the world. For this reason, it is not something a coffee shop would feature for regular consumption.

However, the coffee patron said to the barista, “…you realize how delicious coffee really is when you taste a cup of genuine Kopi Luwak coffee as I did during my travels in Sumatra. It is a paradox to learn that a Paradoxurus or “Luwak,” basically a little mammal that goes unnoticed and is not very beautiful, produces “animal coffee” for which humans pay hundreds of dollars per pound! Sumatran locals call the little mammals “Luwak.” Paradoxurus is their scientific name more fitting for the high priced coffee droppings collected to make this marvelous coffee. These animals live in the trees in Sumatra. One of their favorite foods is red, ripe coffee cherries. Interestingly, they eat the cherries, bean, everything. Once the coffee cherries get to their stomach, the animal’s body produces enzymes and gastric juices that process the beans.

A scientist from the University of Guelph, Ontario, Canada, Doctor Massimo Marcone, ran scientific tests on Kopi Luwak coffee. This scientist proved that proteolytic enzymes penetrated into all the “Luwak” beans. This is what causes substantial breakdown of storage proteins and reduces the caffeine level in this special coffee. Apparently, these animal enzymes prevent bitter taste and caffeine jitters. The “Luwak’s” stomach is almost like a natural “coffee mill.” When the beans exit through the animal’s digestive system, the beans are still intact.

The animals move primarily at night. They creep along the branches of coffee trees. The animals sniff the coffee cherries and pick only the reddest and tastiest ones. They chew the exterior of the cherry but swallow the whole beans. Amazing to think there are Kopi Luwak farmers who follow these creatures through the Sumatran forests. The beans stay in the animals’ stomachs for about 36 hours before they come out. The farmers are familiar with the “Luwak” territory so they scour the grounds for animal droppings to collect. The farmers clean the beans thoroughly. Then they can roast the beans and grind them just like any other coffee. Funny to think that the origin designation for this coffee is “Kopi Luwak.” The price tag is a high one but worth every sip!…”

The barista nodded and the coffee patron continued. “…Aah! Kopi Luwak coffee: rich and strong aroma. Full bodied like no other coffee, almost “syrupy” and with a hint of chocolate taste. It is coffee that lingers on the tongue with hints of malt coffee. A shame the production is so low, only about 500 pounds per year. But you know, it is not the only fruit digested by an animal, excreted and then collected for human consumption as a pricey drink. There are others….”

The barista said, “Really, did not know that.” The coffee patron replied, while taking his last sip of Mandheling gourmet coffee, “…In Brazil, they have Jacu Bird Coffee. In Vietnam, the weasel is what produces Weasel Coffee. I find “Luwaks” prettier than weasels, don’t you? In the Philippines, the ‘civet” (a “Luwak” by another name) produces Kape Alamid Coffee. I could go on and tell you about the Argan oil story, a tale of nuts and tree climbing goats from Morocco. But, it is late and I need to go. By the way, the Sumatra Mandheling coffee was great!…”

Yes, genuine gourmet Mandheling Coffee tastes great and it is available for the asking. Go ahead; treat yourself to a cup of this delicious specialty coffee!

Gourmet Coffee Habit Costing Consumers as Much as $1,500 Yearly

Gourmet coffee consumers rarely consider the cost of their
daily coffee in terms of the expense to brew premium whole
bean coffee at home (50 cents to 75 cents) with prices of
a pound of gourmet coffee beans versus a two or three cup
a day ($4.50 to $6.00) coffee drinking habit when purchased
at premium coffee houses. A recent Washington Post article
discussed Seattle law students spending money from their
student loans for Starbucks coffee across the street from
the Seattle University School of Law.

Erika Lim, director of career services at the law school has
launched a campaign to reduce coffee consumption by students
attending the university on student loan money. She points
out that students are spending education loans on luxuries
like latte instead of necessities like a loaf of bread. That
borrowed money takes years to repay and many students don’t
do the math to see that study time with 2-3 cups of coffee
at Starbucks over 4 years can cost them significant sums –
as much as $4500 in principle, interest and fees on their
student loan – over the course of their education. An
online calculator has been posted for those interested in
calculating their caffeine expenses at:
http://www.hughchou.org/calc/coffee.cgi

Gourmet Coffee drinkers have become accustomed to paying $2
or more per cup for fresh brewed coffees at Premium coffee
houses – and many sources are predicting those prices may
increase to as much as $4 per cup soon due to expected
increases in green coffee prices. But smart gourmet coffee
consumers have long known that premium coffee brewed at home
costs just 12 cents or so per cup, depending on preferences
for coffee strength.

Many coffee producers recommend starting with 1 tablespoon
of fresh ground gourmet coffee beans per standard 6 ounce
cup of water. Starbucks recommends double that amount for
stronger coffees at 2 tablespoons per 6 ounce cup. A pound
of gourmet coffee (that is 16 Ounces or 1 Lb.) divided
by 1 1/2 Ounces comes to roughly 10 pots of 10 cups
(6 Ounce cups) equaling 100 cups for the cost of one pound
of gourmet coffee beans. At the average of 1.5 tablespoons
per 6 ounce cup and average size of 12 ounce coffee mug,
you can expect 50 cups of home brewed coffee per pound of
gourmet beans!

Prices of premium gourmet coffee beans range between $10
and $18 per pound, making a cup of home-brewed gourmet
coffee, made fresh to your liking, cost only between .10
cents and .25 cents per cup or between $1.00 and $2.00 per
pot of coffee! Even the rarest and most expensive coffee
sold, the exotic Kopi Luwak, at $175 per pound, is still
less than $1.75 per 6 ounce cup when brewed at home! So
if you have expensive tastes and want a 12 ounce mug of
the rarest and most expensive coffee on the planet, you
still need only pay what some premium coffee houses charge
for a latte ($3.50) for that rare privilege.

When consumers learn that they can purchase gourmet whole
bean coffee for between $10 to $18 per pound, then fresh
grind and brew at home for significantly less than gourmet
coffee companies charge, many see home brewing premium
gourmet coffee as luxurious treat. Purchasing a thermos
or a large travel mug to take coffee with them from home
makes drinking rich, fresh roasted coffee a possibility
for about one-seventh the cost of buying that coffee from
expensive and crowded coffee shops.

Many so-called premium coffee houses keep their coffee
heated on warmers after brewing, but this practice causes
the flavor to turn bitter after less than an hour of
warming. It is actually more likely you will get a rich
flavorful cup of coffee from an insulated thermos or
insulated type pump containers. Reheating coffee can
destroy the flavor of good gourmet coffee – just as quickly
as extensive warming.

Coffee purists prefer to make individual cups with a coffee
press, fresh grinding beans for each cup and drinking the
entire amount brewed before it turns cold to get the maximum
enjoyment from their beans. Microwave a good cup of coffee
that has gone cold and you’ll see how much better it is
freshly brewed. Using good clean, fresh water is essential
since coffee is 99% water and bad tasting tap water can
quickly ruin even the best fresh ground beans.

You can enjoy great gourmet coffee more and pay less for the
privilege by starting with whole beans and grinding them
yourself with a $20 coffee grinder. Make only what you can
drink or carry with you in a nice thermos or travel mug
instead of reheating coffee later. Use good tasting water
and keep your brewing equipment clean to prevent the
rancid bitterness that can come from previous grounds in
crevices.

You can brew at home with fine gourmet coffee beans, fresh
ground and brewed in a French press coffee maker, carry a
fancy thermos of great coffee to work or school and enjoy
the best coffee available for far less money than you would
spend at crowded and expensive premium coffee house.

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