Kopi Luwak – Is It The Most Expensive Coffee In The World?
In this article I will go the most expensive coffees in the world, and break a few myths along the way:-)
The late American coffee and food critic Chris Rubin, described Kopi Luwak as “The coffee has an incredible fullness, it is almost syrupy.
It is rich in aroma and strong, but has a long, fine aftertaste of chocolate.”
The small Asian palm civet (desermer) was once considered a pest but is today a hugely sought after creature as its stools create the so-called (We get back to that later) most expensive coffee in the world, also called Kopi Luwak.
The palm civet, which is a species of the desermer family and originally from the tropical forests of Asia, was once considered a major nuisance in Indonesian outer areas. The small animals tormented, among other things. the residents by crawling on the buildings at night and making a lot of noise. In the morning when people were awake, there were stools from them everywhere people stepped in.
However, this changed when it was found that its stools were a very valuable commodity. The most expensive type of coffee in the world comes from the feces of the animal, which suddenly makes the animal much more interesting.
The Kopi Luwak coffee, which is mainly exported from Indonesia and the Philippines, is brewed from partially digested coffee beans found among the stools of palm civet. The animal can only eat the meaty portion of the coffee beans and the remainder of the non-digestible coffee bean smokes through the digestive tract where it is fermented. The stomach rolls of the palm civets seep into the coffee beans during digestion, which processes the coffee bean in a very special way.
Once the palm civets have digested its food, the processed coffee beans are collected and cleaned very carefully. Afterward, the beans can be used to brew an absolutely fantastic coffee, with a unique, not bitter taste, and an aroma rarely scented before. Results are also one of the most expensive coffee beans in the world and cost approx USD600 per kilo.
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These days, of course, the palm civet is not considered a pest, but that does not mean that life is perfectly good for the animal. Instead of being eradicated, farmers catch them and keep them trapped in closed cages where they are used in connection with the production of Kopi Luwak. Besides this, there are many tourists who visit the coffee plantations and see the animals.
The small palm civets are often placed in poor conditions in small cages where they are forced to enter their own urine and feces, which is certainly not comfortable for the animal. In addition, they are often only fed with coffee beans to increase the production of the Kopi Luwak coffee, rather than a varied diet, like the one they usually eat when free in the wild, which consists of both insects and other small reptiles. These living conditions have a bad impact on most palm civets, which can cause stress, illness and a generally higher mortality rate.
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Forced breeding of the palm civet is not only bad for the animal but also for the consumer. Producers of Kopi Luwak is considered to be significantly lower quality in contrast to the Kopi Luwak coffee found in nature, which can also be seen on the price. The natural Kopi Luwak coffee is sold for up to USD800 per kilo.
A big part of what makes the Kopi Luwak taste so unique is the palm civet’s very selected choice of coffee beans. When it goes free in nature, it eats only the very best beans, and this is precisely what makes the finished coffee of extremely high quality.
When the animals are forced to eat only the coffee beans given to them, it is clear that these are far from being as good as the beans they would have chosen freely in nature. In addition, it is also speculated that animals during captivity develop stress, which also helps to digest digestion and thus also the finished coffee.
The sometimes crude exploitation of the palm civet has not gone unnoticed by several animal welfare organizations that have fought for better conditions for the animals. The problem, however, is that there is currently no official control in place in the countries where the Kopi Luwak coffee is produced. For this very reason, it is also difficult to prove where the coffee comes from when imported from other countries.
The world’s most expensive coffee is called Geisha and costs approx USD1200 per kilo.
Geisha Coffee from Lamastus Family Estate produces approx. 45kg of this special coffee a year.
Geisha Coffee Beans are the world’s most expensive coffee.
With USD1,2,- per gram in purchases, not many can afford to drink the world’s most expensive coffee.
If you think you want an espresso, then the 7g would cost you more than USD10.
That is if you could buy 7g, at the Panama auction where the beans are being put up for sale.
You can drink a cup of Geisha coffee in certain places in Panama for USD9 and then it is served as Pour Over / Slow Brew.
But from Europe its cheaper to fly to Dubai, here you can in return get a cup of the world’s most expensive coffee for only USD68.
Several participants at the Barista World Championships, Geisha uses coffee from Lamastus Family Estate.
Thus, four out of the last seven winners, in the World Brewer Cup, have used Geisha coffee.
With flavors of peach, mango, jasmine, papaya and bergamot aftertaste, this coffee variety is something very special.
It is no less worthy of the fact that of the approx. 45kg harvested annually can produce a maximum of approx. 5000 cups of coffee.
That is, 0.00007% of the world’s population can be served a cup every year.
However, the future looks different for the world’s most expensive coffee.
Several coffee plantations are Panama, have now planted Geisha trees and there is even a plantation in Mexico, which is trying the species.
It will take several years before there is a harvest in the plantations, but over time there will be several kilos of coffee per year.
This will cause the price to fall just as it has done with “Jamaica Blue Mountain” coffee.
Fortunately, this production does not include animals, like Kopi Luwak.
Where Desert animals today live in captivity, coerced coffee berries are fed and live in miserable conditions.
Lamastus Family Estate.
Lamastus Family Estate consists of three coffee farms El Burro, Elida and Luito.
They have been producing coffee since 1918, on the three coffee plantations.
All the coffee is delivered to Elida Estate’s mill which is responsible for the drying process.
Elida is the largest with its 65 acres.
With an elevation 1700 – 2200m there is a great height spread, on the coffee from Elida.
Elida is also the coffee plant closest to The Baru Volcano National Park (BVNP).
It is protected as World Heritage by UNESCO, in line with Stevns Klint, Jellingstenen and Roskilde Cathedral.
On this coffee plantation, approx. 35 of the 65 hectares are planted with coffee, the rest is private forest or within the BVNP area.
The climate above 1900 meters in height is often too cold for coffee production in Panama.
But at the Elida plantation, an experiment is underway where you plant up to 2050 meters.
El Burro is Lamastus Family Estate’s next largest 50-acre plantation.
Here 20 hectares are used for coffee, while 10 hectares will be planted more.
The remaining 20 acres are just sown at the Elida plantation private forest or located within the BVNP area.
Although the plantation goes up to 2000 meters, only coffee has been planted to a height of 1800 meters.
However, the climate is still very cold at night and therefore the coffee has a long maturation time.
All in all, there are quite a few acres of pure Geisha coffee.
Of course, it is also the reason why it is so exclusive and the high kilo price.
Luito’s 17 acres are located in the 1600 – 1750 meters high in Bajo Mono, overlooking the Caribbean Sea.
Luito uses all its 17 acres and is planted with pure Geisha production.
The area was formerly most used as Trout farm.
From planting a coffee plant until it produces a harvest, it usually takes two to three years.
But because of the climate at that altitude in Panama, Geisha takes approx. five years before giving a harvest.
In the late ’90s and early’ 0s, Jamaica Blue Mountain coffee was known both for being the world’s most expensive coffee and for being James Bond’s favorite coffee.
But the title as the world’s most expensive coffee was taken by Kopi Luwak.
Especially after the movie, The Bucket List came out in 2007 when drinking Kopi Luwak was on the list.
This led to the capture of roe deer and like chickens, in cages, they had to lay golden eggs, which is why they were compelled to carry coffee berries.
In Northern Thailand, the local producers thought bigger animals must equal more coffee.
That is why they started feeding elephants with coffee berries.
If you give an elephant 33kg of coffee berries, 1kg of coffee beans will come out 15 to 70 hours later.
The coffee is called Black Ivory and was from 2014 the world’s most expensive coffee, but a kilo price of $ 1100, -.
The coffee is produced by Black Ivory Coffee Company, located in the Golden Triangle Asian Elephant Foundation elephant reserve in Chiang Saen.
20 elephants in the reserve produce about 150kg of coffee annually, 8% of the revenue goes to keep the reserve running and save more elephants.
Black Ivory sounds a lot nicer than elephant crap coffee.
Black Ivory Coffee, coffee beans that have been through the digestive system, on an elephant, which gives a much better taste.
At least that’s what Thai hotel chain Anantara claims.
If nothing else, it will be the world’s most expensive coffee.
It goes without saying that all of a sudden this is the big topic of conversation in the coffee world.
“Research shows that during digestion, the enzymes in the elephant’s gut break down the coffee protein.
Since protein is one of the most important factors responsible for the bitterness of coffee, less protein means that there is almost no bitterness left. ”
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This made Black Ivory (almost) the world’s most expensive coffee.
But bitter-free coffee costs. Black Ivory, as elephant crap coffee is called.
It retails for $ 1100 per kilo, while the most expensive Geisha coffee retails for $ 1766.
Which makes Geisha the world’s most expensive coffee.
Pt. Black Ivory is only available at Anantara four resorts in the Maldives.
In addition to the group’s Golden Triangle Resort in northern Thailand.
Anantara says the process begins with choosing top Thai Arabica coffee berries.
The beans are inside.
It has been picked at an altitude of 1,500 meters.
The elephants eat them, digest them and then they are excreted as nature dictates.
The individual beans are hand-picked, by the camp’s mahouts (elephant trainers) and their wives.
Then dried in the sun.
Coffee refining takes place at the Anantara Golden Triangle Asian Elephant Foundation (GTAEF).
A camp tasked with rescuing elephants.
If you are upset about your job, keep in mind there is a man who sorts elephant shit for every day.
Golden Triangle Asian Elephant Foundation
To date, the fund has rescued 30 “street” elephants.
Together with their mahouts and families.
8% of the coffee sales will be donated to GTAEF .
The obvious question must be.
Isn’t it dangerous to get a lot of elephants hooked on caffeine?
I’ve learned that for caffeine is extracted, by a coffee bean.
If you need to heat it to over 70 C, the elephants may not be quite calm.
On the other hand, it takes probably a lot of caffeine to get a 5-ton heavy elephant out of bed.
Final words on the world’s most expensive coffee for this time.
For me, the price of coffee is just not that important.
Its just fun to watch and observe, and it helps to improve the quality of coffee that there is competition.
Personally, I have been drinking my share of Blue Mountain coffee over the years and I cannot boast having tasted Geisha or Black Ivory coffee… Yet.
Maybe I’m lucky to get a cup one of these days.