Friday, November 22, 2013

Luwak Coffee

23 November 2013

Sometimes it takes a little while to put two and two together.  Especially when there is a language shift, and things definitely get lost in the translation.

So, remember on our way up to Ubud, we stopped at a coffee garden.  Had some delightful coffee.  Spent time chatting with the two young men who run the place.  Looked at some cute little animals, as well as the coffee and cacao they were growing.

And tasted luwak coffee.  (Pronounced luh-WOK)  Supposedly the rarest coffee in the world.

And were clueless.

Now some of you might know what that cute little animal is.  And some of you may have registered exactly what luwak coffee is.

We didn't at the time.  Now we do.

That cute little animal is the Asian palm civet.  It's a mostly nocturnal mammal native to SE Asia.  (There are other kinds of civets in Africa.)  Cute and somewhere between a cat and a raccoon, although probably more related to the weasel and mongoose family - but much bigger.

And luwak coffee?  This is the famed civet dung coffee.  Yup, the cute little civets like to eat whole coffee cherries. They digest the outer part of the coffee cherry, but the inner seed, the bean, passes through the digestive track and out.  

Yes, this is civet poop coffee.

And we drank it.  UNKNOWINGLY.

I'm an adventurous eater.  But I'm not sure I would go out of my way to drink civet poop coffee.  I mean, GAG!  Right?

Okay, to be fair, I'm sure it is washed very well.  And then the beans are roasted, which should sterilize them.  

But still.  It just sounds quite gross, doesn't it?

I have to say, though, that it was a nice rich coffee without any acidity or bitterness, and I can see why people like to drink it.  As long as you don't think about where those beans have been.

Ah well, just one more adventure on the road.

We've been enjoying walking around Ubud and seeing how beautiful this place is - there are statues, shrines, temples everywhere.  Even a simple door is a work of art.  And the market!!! - Indonesia is known for its batiks and fabrics, and the market is just full of gorgeous fabrics, quilts, clothes, bolts of more fabric, wraps, sarongs, patchwork items made out of scraps of batiks - I want to buy it all!  Because everything is so beautiful, it would be hard to decide to buy one and not another - so I simplify life by not buying anything.  (Okay, I bought one blue rayon tank top, but finding my size and a color that looks good on me made that an easier decision.)

We're looking into exploring other parts of Bali, including some of the outlying areas and maybe visiting a volcano or two.  And of course some temples.  And the terraced rice fields.  And some scuba diving.  And, oh, just so much to see and do.

We're loving Bali!!  

And yes, we even enjoyed the civet poop coffee.



  1. I first learned about this coffee watching "The Bucket List." It was the only thing that Jack Nicholson's character would drink.

  2. Yeah, we had heard about it - just didn't quite register the name and that we were looking at the animals. It was pretty funny when we finally figured it out!