In case you missed my Vietnam live-blogging last month, I picked up some distinctively shitty coffee during my travels. Literally shitty. This coffee is called Kopi Luwak, and it has the unique production process of being eaten by a weasel, shat out, and roasted. It is the most expensive coffee in the world, which obviously means it’s the best. Funny, because you’d think it would be number 2.
After my post, several junkies predictably came forward and took my open invitation to try it out. In fact, most “coffee people” who hear about this crap don’t think twice about giving it a sip. What is it about coffee? I mean, I also love pizza, but if you told me the best pizza was the kind regurgitated by bears I would probably pass.
Anyway, I invited a crack-team over to sample this stuff with the condition that they write down their thoughts for the rest of you to enjoy. Read on, if you want to get the poop, err scoop:
Now before I go on, let’s get some facts straight. There’s a good chance this isn’t the real stuff. As a buzzkill volunteer who ultimately flaked out on tasting day pointed out:
Is it authentic Kopi Luwak coffee? Since the weasel animal only eats the berries during a short period each year, and they’re completely wild animals, it’s extremely expensive to cultivate the beans. Most of the stuff that’s sold is actually just regular coffee beans, with 5% or so of the real weasel poop beans added in. From what I’ve read, the 100% legit stuff has it’s origin and source well documented, since the beans can literally cost more than their weight in gold.
Okay, okay, so I actually have some doubts that it’s 100% legit. It’s the brand they sell at the street markets, but those markets can be pretty sketchy in terms of authentic goods, if you know what I mean. Plus the cost of it (about $15) didn’t seem to match up with the cost of the real thing even with exporting costs factored in.
What I do know is that it is the same brand mentioned on this site and I have not seen anything on google debunking it, so there you go. There are a confirmed synthetic brand that I brought back that we tried as well. How are these made? I don’t know. Robot weasels or something.
Anyway, on to the reviews:
Editors note: Erika doesn’t usually drink coffee, but decided to try it anyway for grins. She had three cups in a row and was last seen streaking in Dolores Park. Here is the last known picture of her before the disappearance:
the “Real” Shit: chocolatey nose, standard coffee taste at the start but no tannic aftertaste. I sensed a slightly oily mouthfeel that was reinforced by the Valdez slick observable on the sides of the mug. The oily feel didn’t really adversely affect the taste but was a little off-putting. Conclusion: I’d drink it…with my eyes closed.
the Synthetic Shit: similar to the real but the smell was more intense (it filled the room really quickly when you opened the bag). Maybe they augment the aroma chemically as well. The progression of flavor was the same; coffee-forward with little to no bitter aftertaste. The flavor of the synthetic was a bit milder, didn’t really live ip to its stench. Conclusion…I’d drink it if I ran out of or was not willing to pay for the real shit.
Summary: not offensive, at no point did I feel like spewing. The defining characteristic is probably the mild/non-existent aftertaste for both weasel coffees, which I found to be pleasant. That said, I wouldn’t choose it over Blue Bottle. I kind of like the afterburn.
Kopi luwak is an oily coffee, without much acid and a mild bitterness. The synthetic stuff was less oily and tasted more like Folgers. Both didn’t taste much like they smelled, which was on the chocolatey side. And both left a gross feeling in my stomach; perhaps because of the oil, or perhaps a psychosomatic reaction to the thought of imbibing feces.
tl;dr: Fuck this shit, I’m sticking with Four Barrel.
I am now an avid civetarian. I will not eat anything unless it has passed through the bowels of a small mustelid.
And me? The first impression was that this stuff is oilier than any coffee I’ve ever seen. It had a hard time blending with milk and was leaving these gross beaded milk particles everywhere. The taste didn’t blow me away, but the aftertaste was smooth. It does not have the distinctive bite and aftertaste of a strong cup of brew. Later, I found that it’s best when prepared the “Vietnamese way” with condensed milk, but the sweetness probably makes any coffee decent.
So is it worth force-feeding weasels and harvesting their shit? I think not.
Smell you later!