It all began like this…

“Wanna drink sh*t?” my friend D asked excitedly.

“What??” I demanded, unsure whether it’s a genuine question or insult.

“You wanna drink sh*t or not?” he persisted, like that’s the most natural thing in the world. “Come, come, I show you.”

Intrigued, and a little disgusted, I followed him to where another friend K sat. K had just returned from the depths of the Indonesian jungle. He brought back with him a small bottle of brown substance.

Kopi Luwak (civet or weasel coffee)

And that is how the 3 of us ended up drinking animal poop coffee (poop of this animal called the civet) together. Civet coffee is also known as “weasel” coffee, although the two are in fact different animals. This particular endangered breed, the Asian palm civet, feed on red coffee cherries. And only the finest and best-tasting cherries would do for this fussy tree-dwelling mammal!

In the animal’s stomach, enzymes break down the proteins that give coffee its bitterness. The beans within the coffee fruit are then, er, defecated, while still remaining intact.

Kopi Luwak (civet or weasel coffee)

These are cleaned thoroughly (of course!), roasted and ground into powder that is fit and safe for consumption! Oh, the journey that those beans must have gone through, only to end up in another stomach!

Civet coffee is produced only in a few parts of southeast area, with less than 1000 pounds of it available worldwide every year. Due to such exclusivity, a pound of it costs between US$100 and US$600, easily making it the most expensive coffee in the world!

Kopi Luwak (civet or weasel coffee)

The brewed coffee has a very dark shade of brown with some red undertones. Just a quarter-filled cup of it is sufficient to produce an extremely rich and sweet coffee aroma.

Next comes the taste test. I have expected the coffee to be really strong and bitter, but it turns out to be surprisingly smooth and light and not bitter at all.

Some people claim that it has a chocolaty flavour, but what I detect is more caramel-like and nutty. It doesn’t have that sharp acidic taste. Nor does it leave you with any distinct aftertaste. Although it’s not bitter (thanks to the civet), I do like it with a small teaspoonful of sugar.

And that’s my first experience of drinking kopi luwak.

Kopi Luwak (civet or weasel coffee)

If I were to ask you: what is the most exotic thing you have ever had? What would your answer be?

Someone posed me this question recently. And I realised that I had never actually tasted anything truly exotic. Each time I had the chance to sample something novel like wild boar in Macau and ostrich meat in Siem Reap, or fear-factor worthy stuff like the fried bugs in Bangkok, I chickened out. I don’t know if the dried puffer fish I had at tetsu counts. It actually tasted good!

Now I’m proud to say that I have had Kopi Luwak, the most exotic coffee in the world!