Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Drinking Kopi Luwak [Civet Cat Coffee] :World's Rarest Coffee in Jakarta

1. Freshly brewed Kopi Luwak
2. In the packaging of the kopi luwak, the story of its origin
3. The certificate, and serial number of the 10g kopi luwak satchel

4. Rawon dish: salted egg, chili paste, shrimp cracker, cucumber, and bean sprouts
5. The rich consomme of beef and buah keluak the poisonous seed

To my many American friends who find their breakfast coffee as unexciting as their Budweiser Light, I recommend a cup of Kopi Luwak coffee. The Luwak, a species of Civet Cat (Paradoxurus hermaphroditus ) that lives in the coffee plantations of Java, Sumatra and Sulawesi islands of Indonesia has a nose for selecting only the best (in terms of ripeness and nutrition)coffee berries. In the process it deposits the undigested beans on the jungle floor where they are eagerly picked up by the locals. Somehow the stomach acids and enzymes of the Luwak turns these beans into arguably the best tasting coffee in the world. And definitely the rarest. A cup of certified-authentic kopi luwak costs US$40 in the States and in Hong Kong. But here in Jakarta, I can get a cup for US$10. The pictures above show a freshly brewed cup of kopi luwak. And how does it taste? Well, having tried just about every type of coffee from Colombian to Ethiopean, Kenyan, Vietnamese highland, and Hawaiian Kona, I can honestly say that this is the best coffee I have ever tasted. My previous favorite was aged Sumatra Mandheling, but Kopi Luwak beats them all. I would describe kopi luwak as a strong full-bodied, extremely aromatic coffee with little acidic after-taste. Most of all, it has a very distinctive earthy taste that conjures up images of dense tropical forests after the rain, with the smell of leaves and flowers lingering in the air. Drinking Kopi Luwak can very addictive. You might not want to drink any other type of coffee again, and thats a very expensive addiction
2. With the kopi Luwak, I had an Indonesian dish that is just as interesting. It consists of a beef consomme cooked with the mashed seeds of the poisonous buah keluak fruit. The Buah Keluak fruit comes from the Pangium Edule tree. The seeds are highly poisonous, and to eat them, the seeds must be detoxified by boiling them and then burying them in ash for 40 days. So why go to such trouble? Well, buah keluak is another rare and addictive food like the kopi luwak. In Singapore and Malaysia, buah keluak is made into a stew with chicken and pork ribs, and eaten during Chinese New Year. At other times of the year it is too expensive and time-consuming to cook it at home, and so once a year buah kelauk aficianados like me gorge themselves silly for several days on it. The pictures above show the Indonesian version eaten with rice, salted egg, bean sprouts, shrimp cracker and sambal or chili paste.

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