Kopi Luwak has been described as the most rare and expensive coffee in the world, and can reach prices upwards of $1,000 per pound. Now, authentic Wild Kopi Luwak is now being made available to the American market by Gayo Kopi, a local Detroit startup.
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Kopi Luwak (Luwak Coffee) is sourced from the Asian Palm Civet, a cousin to the Mongoose, in Indonesia. The Civet seeks out and ingests the only the finest coffee cherries as part of its varied diet. During digestion the properties of the beans are naturally altered, removing its bitterness and introducing flavorful notes of exotic fruits and berries. Kopi Luwak is then collected from the jungle and processed by highly trained farmers.
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Unfortunately, due to the high demand (and price tag) of this rare coffee, many unscrupulous entrepreneurs have adopted the practice of trapping, caging, and force-feeding the animals a coffee exclusive diet. Often these animals live in horrendous conditions making them susceptible to disease. Animal rights groups such as World Animal Protection have sought to ban the sale of cage-sourced Kopi Luwak, and many retailers have taken the product off their shelves.
“This is great news,” says Gayo Kopi co-founder Jeff Bickley. “We simply will not tolerate the exploitation of animals in the production of our coffee.” Gayo Kopi works with exclusive coffee farms who are certified by the Indonesian government to only source from free-roaming wild Civets. They follow a 10-stage process to ensure each of their beans are certified as wild, and of only the finest quality. “We’re so excited to bring this exquisite delicacy to the American market,” says co-founder Kevin Ferrah. “We’ve gone to extraordinary measures to guarantee our customers can enjoy the best and most rare specialty coffee in the world with a clean conscience.”
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The company describes their coffee as marvelously complex and full-bodied, with a luxurious aroma of naturally infused spices and chocolaty notes. On the palate, their Arabica beans have a sumptuous character, combining dark chocolates, toffee, caramel and molasses, devoid of unpleasant bitter notes. The coffee’s texture is deliciously creamy, with great depth paired with a long silky finish. This level of scrutiny, care and quality comes at a price, but Gayo Kopi believes it’s a luxury many coffee lovers would love to try at least once in their lifetime.