13. Coffee in Bali - Luwak
We had a visit to a coffee plantation but it was not a place like we saw in Costa Rica, for example or in Columbia. It was very, very different here in Bali.
First of all we went for a walk through the jungle. Plants grew everywhere and you needed to be a botanist to know these plants. Our guide showed us ginger and pointed at it…sure enough, looking closer, seeing the roots, it was what I know as ginger. I saw ginseng, turmeric and other spices that grew ‘wild’ all over the place but the harvesting was done by a ‘specialist’ I guess.
And then, the guide showed me coffee trees (bushes?) full of beans but they were mostly green. Not yet ripe enough for picking. Well here in Bali,
people do not pick those beans, an animal eats those beans. This
animal is a nocturnal cat-like animal named civet cat or Luwak. It is plentiful on Bali and Indonesia and the function
of this cat is to eat ripe coffee beans. It eats them at night and somehow this
cat knows when a coffee bean is at its absolute best and then eats it. The
outer husk of the bean is what this cat lives on and when digested, it passes
the actual center of the bean, the part we use to grind coffee, through its
digestive system. Yes, this cat poops coffee beans and those coffee beans make
what some experts say is the best coffee in the world, Luwak Coffee. In the market, 1
kg. of these poop beans cost around
US $700 in 2019. The actual coffee bean, after roasting and
processing comes close to US $500 per lbs. The actual roasting of the poop
beans takes about 30 minutes, the beans you see in the pictures of the link
turn almost totally black after roasting.
|Coffee Beans Not Yet Ripe|
Our guide called the Luwak bean coffee: Cat-poo-chino
Funny guy, this guide!
So you see, early in the morning on this
plantation, people walk through the jungle and collect cat poop. They collect the Palm Civet
Cat’s poop to then process it further. I spoke with one of the
collectors and he told me it’s a nice walk in the jungle in the early morning,
he knows where the animals live, he knows which bush (tree?) they live in and
he just picks up what they drop during the night. It’s a good paying job he
|Digested Coffee Beans|
|Washed and Hulled Beans|
Carol and I each had a cup of this famous brew and I don’t really care for it. We bought instead some teas and flavored coffees we could enjoy in the afternoon.
We also bought 3 coffee mixes like: Mocha, Coconut and Vanilla. Yum!
Luwak Coffee tasted bitter and had some aftertaste I cannot describe. Yuk!