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The Best Coffee in the World?

Adrienne Carmack

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I can't seem to stop wondering about this coffee. It keeps coming up in my conversations and again today in one of the other eGullet forums.

What is the deal with that coffee that is supposedly the most exclusive beverage in the world, as it can only be enjoyed AFTER it has been eaten and "processed" by some marsupial? Has anyone tried this? Is it really that great (I've seen it in a restaurant for about $40 for one cup)? What type of magic, exactly, occurs in the marsupial's digestive system? And who thought of trying the coffee beans from the pile of waste in the first place?

"God give us good taste, why bother?" Captain Jim's Sushi Chef
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Some of the details you seek are covered in this thread

Synthetic Cat Poop Enzymes

I've never tried Kopi Luwak coffee but from what I understand the majority of what's sold with that label is not the real thing (but is priced as though it is). I have talked to people who've tried the real thing and say it's an interesting coffee but not some mind-blowing experience.

If you want some coffee that's very far from run of the mill... look for some good fresh roasted aged Sumatran or other aged Indonesians (not easy to find it fresh roasted in the US but I'm sure its out there).

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Several years ago we did a blind taste test with people in my office, with Kopi Luwak, Jamacian Blue Mountain, Costa Rica Tarazu, Tanzania peaberry and several other high end coffees. The goal was to see what the ranking was.

Tasting blind, I put Kopi Luwak #1, Jamaca Blue Mountain #2 in the blind taste test. Other people in the office had KL somewhere in the top 3 to 5.

So, in this one small test, it really did come out on top. I bought from a reputable dealer, but I can't say for sure that it was real KL - how would you document such a thing?

As to what phaelon56 says, yes it is good, and did top the others in a taste test, but it was not utterly mindblowing.

I have always wondered if there isn't some Indonesian guy who started the the whole thing laughing his head off at rich foreigners paying $300 a pound for cat shit.

As aside, the animal responsible for KL is the palm civet. This is the same animal that is thought to be responsible for harboring the SARS virus. Given the various steps in preparing coffee there probably is little risk, but it is interesting.

When SARS came out and it was blamed on Chinese eating palm civets, friends asked me if I had tasted it (given that I am known for eating weird things). I was able to say "no, but I have drunk its excrement".


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...  look for some good fresh roasted aged Sumatran or other aged Indonesians (not easy to find it fresh roasted in the US but I'm sure its out there).

Thanks - I'd done a search before I posted but didn't find the other thread. But no one in that thread seemed to wonder who's idea it was to try the coffee beans in the excrement in the first place...

Anyways, I've recently been ordering my coffee online from a company that roasts the beans to order and they have a "Sumatra Mandheling" - I haven't tried it yet. How do I know if it's an aged Sumatran?

It sounds like it's a coffee worth tasting if it's offered to me, but not worth choosing over the other perfectly brewed $10-15 cups at the same restaurants.

"God give us good taste, why bother?" Captain Jim's Sushi Chef
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