Vietnamese weasel coffee “Luwak”
CHON ‘LUWAK’ COFFEE IN VIETNAM
Coffee ‘Luwak’ is the most expensive type of coffee in the world with the most unique technology of production. This drink became famous in Indonesia and is mainly produced on the islands of Java, Sulawesi and Sumatra. The literal translation of the name means ‘coffee of Luwak’.
This coffee got its name in honour of an animal, thanks to which the sort ‘Luwak’ appeared. The second name is ‘Kopi Luwak’. In Vietnam, it is called ‘Chon’. Nowadays the price for this sort of coffee starts from $ 200 per 1 kg, depending on the purity of composition.
Producing coffee ‘Chon’ is a kind of a feature of the Asian country. These small animals eat the most delicious coffee berries. The grains do not get digested, and thanks to the enzyme in the digestive tract they get slight taste of caramel.
There are four ways of creating coffee ‘Luwak’.
- The first and the most expensive one is the so-called ‘wild’ Luwak. All happens in the natural habitat of musangs, where they have the opportunity to choose ripe and delicious berries. Farmers go in search of fresh excrements of the animals and carefully select coffee beans out if them, which they roast after and sell. Of course, this coffee costs a lot as each gram of it is valuable. The price exceeds $ 1000 per 1 kg.
- The second way is unfortunately very common in Vietnam and other Asian countries. Musangs are put in cages and get fed with coffee berries. As the animals have to eat only these berries and their bodies are not meant for, it they usually do not live long. Coffee from these farms doesn’t have bright taste as fermentation does not go in a correct way. The price for this coffee starts from $ 100 per 1 kg.
- The third way is the most common and humane. Having studied the features of the animal’s organism, the farmers use unique technologies that copy the taste of coffee ‘Luwak’. This coffee can be distinguished from the original drink that costs $1000 only by professionals. The price for this coffee varies from $ 30 to $ 70 per 1 kg. It depends on the quality and the sort of the original grains.
- Unfortunately, the fourth way is an absolute fake. If you’ve been to Vietnam, you saw coffee on local markets called ‘Luwak’. This coffee is roasted with the addition of cheap oils and vanilla flavour. Often it’s only a couple of drops of flavour that they put near the valve on the coffee pack. This gives the impression that the coffee beans are very fragrant but when the package is opened it turns out that there is a poorly selected, low-quality product of strong roasting. Because of the overabundance of oils in this coffee, there is even a risk of damaging a coffee machine. The price for this coffee varies from $ 3 to $ 20 per 1 kg.
WHAT IS A MUSANG?
Musang or Malayan palm marten, also called the Malay palm civet, is a species of mammal of the viverworld family, inhabiting the South and South-East Asia.
These are small fluffy nocturnal animals with thick fur of grey, beige and brown colour. The average size of musangs is about 50 cm in length. Animals are nocturnal. They live mainly on trees where they sleep in the daytime in hollows or weaves of branches.
Palm martens are predators who like to feast on the berries of coffee trees. A large population of them can cause significant damage to coffee plantations.
HOW WAS THE TECHNOLOGY OF THE PRODUCTION “KOPI LUWAK” CREATED?
Before coffee ‘Luwak’ was created the population of musangs often came to eat fruits at the plantations of coffee trees. Farmers caught musangs to exterminate their population. One farmer was feeling upset about all the fruits ‘lost’ from such raids and had an idea to wash the grains that passed through the digestive system of the animals. This coffee interested local gourmets. As a result, the coffee named ‘Luwak’ became one of the most expensive types of coffee in the world.
HOW IS THE COFFEE PRODUCED?
The high price of coffee ‘Luwak’ is explained by the unique technology of its production. The essence of the coffee is the ripe coffee berries which pass through musangs’ ( Malay palm civet) digestive system.
Thus, by passing through the animal’s body coffee berries undergo chemical changes and get fermented with cibetin. As a result of this process, only the shell of coffee beans gets damaged while the grains themselves remain intact.
Then the grains get removed from the excrements, dried, cleaned and roasted. Thanks to fermentation, the grains cease to be bitter, and after processing and roasting, they acquire light chocolate flavour.
The most exclusive are those coffee beans of the sort ‘Luwak’ that were processed by musangs’ digestive system in the wild. But getting them in this way is quite problematic.
HOW MUCH DOES ‘LUWAK’ COFFEE COST?
In Vietnam, you can find a lot of coffee packs depicting palm civet. The cost of these packs starts at $3. But the low price means that there is no real ‘Chon’ inside. Under the guise of real coffee ‘Luwak,’ you find artificially fermented coffee which, thanks to the efforts of farmers, has the similar taste with the real expensive coffee.
In Europe coffee ‘Luwak’ can be found in specialized stores or web stores, its price reaches 25.000 rubles per 1 kg. In Europe, the price for a cup of “Kopi Luwak” can reach $100. In Asian farms, you can buy a cup of this coffee for only $10-20, but you can never know what kind of coffee you are really getting.
HOW TO MAKE ‘LUWAK’ COFFEE?
In Europe, coffee ‘Chon’ is often get made in a cezve on fire or sand, this way of making it is called Eastern. The drawback of making coffee in a cezve is that the drink gets bitter.
In Asia, they use a special device for making coffee. It’s a metal press filter, which consists of three parts: a cup with a filter, a press and a lid. They call it ‘phin’.
Asian recipes are focused on opening the full flavour of coffee. It is also recommended to use only large or medium grind coffee to avoid getting small particles into the drink.
The recipe of classic black Vietnamese coffee:
To make the drink place ‘phin’ on top of a glass with thick walls. Put 2-3 teaspoons of ‘Kopi Luwak’ of medium or large grind in the filter cup. Spread the coffee on the bottom of the filter by the press. Pour 10 ml of hot water on it, leave for 1 minute. When the water has passed fill the whole filter with hot water, cover and let the coffee drip. As soon as the filter passes all the water through itself the drink is ready.
To get your coffee hot you can put the glass in a bowl with hot water for the time of filtration.
When the drink is ready you can add some sugar, condensed milk, ice, but it is better to drink it in its pure form to feel the full range of the coffee taste.
HOW TO STORE COFFEE “LUWAK”
To keep ‘Kopi Luwak’ for a long time it is necessary to follow certain rules:
Give preference to foil-based packaging, as well as ceramic or glassware with a sealed lid.
Keep coffee beans away from direct sunlight and temperature drop.