Sustainable café owners care about amazing coffee and work for a better country and a better world in harmony with nature | © d3sign / iStock
27 August 2020
Coffee is an essential part of many people’s morning routine, but have you ever tried Vietnam‘s weasel coffee? We take a look at Cut Chon (Kopi Luwak), the coffee that – from perhaps the humblest origins of all – became one of the most sought-after luxury beverages in the world.
Weasel coffee: “You want me to drink what now?”
“Weasel Coffee” – also known in Indonesia as Kopi Luwak – is made via a process in which coffee cherries are eaten by an Asian palm civet: a small mammal somewhere between a raccoon, a mongoose and a lively house cat. These furry little creatures eat the cherries, which they partially digest and then excrete. Farmers then recover the beans, thoroughly wash them and continue the coffee roasting process. Sound appealing? Thought so.
When offered a cup of weasel poop coffee, most people can’t be blamed for being a little suspicious, expecting the flavour to be… earthy. But that’s not the case.
The civet’s digestive tract partially ferments the cherries, changing their chemical composition. The result is a cup of rich, smooth coffee with cacao and salted caramel notes. It’s exquisite.
According to the folks at Pho Co, a weasel-coffee roaster in Hanoi, it’s the civet’s discerning palate that helps ensure weasel coffee is of such a high quality.
“If the tree is sick, or the fruit isn’t ripe, the civets don’t touch it. They only choose the best red berries in the trees with perfectly ripened fruit. This means the coffee has quality control built in, as they’ve been chosen by a team of weasel experts.”
The science of farm (to weasel) to cup
According to research by Professor Massimo Marcone at the University of Guelph in Canada, during the weasel’s digestive process, enzymes pass through the beans’ pectin layer, changing their protein and molecular structure, creating sugars and mellowing the flavour.
The story of weasel coffee in Vietnam is – much like the Banh Mi – a story of colonialist oppression, ingenuity and rebellion. When coffee was first cultivated en masse by colonists using Vietnamese labourers, the locals weren’t allowed to sample this new cash crop themselves.
Thach Que Tram, head of marketing at Ca Phe Chon Da Lat, a civet coffee farm in the Vietnamese highlands, says, “one day, workers found some coffee beans in the weasels’ droppings. They took them home and made the coffee secretly. It turned out that the coffee was better than the stuff from the tree.”
The farmers collected beans and after washing them thoroughly, had their very own coffee. They quickly realised that beans that had passed through a civet’s digestive tract developed a flavour they preferred to untreated coffee.
Today, Ca Phe Chon Da Lat has over 150 Asian palm civets spread across its two-hectare (five-acre) organic coffee farm. Thach explains, “every year, there is one coffee season from the end of October to February. In the coffee season, weasels will eat coffee cherries two to three times a week.”
Ca Phe Chon Da Lat offers tours throughout the coffee season so visitors can see the weasels doing their part in the manufacturing process. Then, to make up for the fact that people have travelled several hours up a mountain to watch a messed-up-looking cat do its business, they can try some great coffee fresh from the source.
An uncomfortable reality
Weasel coffee has become increasingly popular around the world. Unfortunately, the naturally occurring process is very labour-intensive, as farmers need to search miles of jungle to find the poop of a wild civet that may only have eaten a few beans. This has driven the price through the roof; you can walk into a very trendy café in Central London and drop £50 on a single cup.
This high demand has led to a distressing rise in civet poaching across Southeast Asia.
While some farms work to ensure that their civets aren’t acquired from the wild, are given adequate space and have access to a diverse diet, illegal trade is a problematic part of an industry that’s in dire need of regulation.
There are several free-range civet farms around Da Lat, but the added cost is putting pressure on those farmers to raise their prices even further. Organic, free-roaming civet farms produce coffee that can cost as much as $3,500 (£2,652) per kilo.
Cut chon for the people (and the civets)
A mixture of animal abuse and a high price tag doesn’t exactly make for the world’s most appealing drink. Not to worry. If you’ve had a cup of weasel coffee in a Hanoi coffee shop, or bought a bag to send home, the chances are good you haven’t contributed to these practices.
You can buy a cup of weasel coffee in Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh City for as little as VND55,000 (£1.80). One reason behind this low price could be because your weasel coffee had never been near a civet at all.
That doesn’t mean you weren’t getting as close as possible to the genuine article.
The civet’s digestive tract functions to partially ferment the cherries. Essentially, they sit in a little bath of acidic and enzymatic juices for a few hours and voila! Weasel coffee.
Trung Nguyen, one of the biggest coffee manufacturers in Vietnam, has been making concerted efforts to bring fake weasel coffee to the world. Its fermentation techniques simulate the civet’s gut bacteria and produce a near-indistinguishable drink. It’s so hard to tell the difference that scientists from the University of Osaka developed a special process for figuring it out. The result is cruelty-free cut chon at a fraction of the price.
How to brew a cup at home
Pho Co has been making cups of civet coffee for more than forty years. Here’s its step-by-step guide to making a perfect cup of weasel joe at home.
Of course, if you want to avoid the weasel part of the weasel coffee – for the sake of the civets or your wallet – then buying the artificial stuff from major retailer like Trung Nguyen is definitely the way to go.
You’re also going to need a Vietnamese style coffee filter, known as a phin. They’re available online and cost less than £10. You can also buy them from cafés and specialist shops in Vietnam for about £1.50.
First, rinse the empty coffee filter through with boiling water and place it on top of the cup. Next, add three heaped tablespoons of coffee. Then, press down the grounds using the small circular press. Getting the pressure right is the tricky part. Too tight and the coffee won’t flow. Too light, and the coffee will be very weak.
It’s recommend that you try the process out with less expensive coffee first.
Now, it’s time to get brewing. Ca Phe Chon Da Lat recommeds water somewhere between 92C and 95C (198F to 203F). First, add between 10ml and 20ml (0.35oz to 0.7oz) to wet the grounds, and wait for about 40 seconds while the water is absorbed.
Next, add about 80ml to 100ml (2.8oz to 3.5oz) of water (almost to the mouth of the filter cup). If the water starts draining too quickly, adjust the filter by pressing down on the coffee stopper. If no coffee is dripping through, loosen the press. Adjust the pressure so that the drips are falling a little slower than once per second.
After about five minutes, you should have a delicious cup of weasel coffee. Enjoy!
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What is Weasel Coffee? Weasel Coffee is an alternative name for Civet Coffee (better known as Kopi Luwak). In some countries, the Asian Palm Civet, which is processing the coffee, is known as a “Weasel”, that's why they often call the coffee “Weasel Poop Coffee”.
Because of how weasel picks the ripen berries, weasel coffee is a natural selection of high-quality beans. Once roasted, they become more aromatic with vanilla smelling. Therefore, weasel coffee generally tastes smooth and earthy with caramel chocolate flavor.
“Weasel Coffee” – also known in Indonesia as Kopi Luwak – is made via a process in which coffee cherries are eaten by an Asian palm civet: a small mammal somewhere between a raccoon, a mongoose and a lively house cat. These furry little creatures eat the cherries, which they partially digest and then excrete.
The high price of the product is largely due to the large number of coffee cherries needed to produce the finished product: 33 kilograms (72 pounds) of raw coffee cherries results in one kilogram (two pounds) of the finished product.
In the world, only a few countries can produce this type of coffee such as Indonesia, Philippines, Ethiopia, and Vietnam in very limited quantities. Weasel coffee is quite expensive because the production process of this coffee is also very special.
Weasel coffee — also known as civet coffee orkopi luwak — is coffee produced using the partially digested coffee cherries that are eaten by Asian palm civets and harvested from their poop.
The Vietnamese weasel coffee price is really high, approximately 20 million VND ($862) to 70 million VND ($3,017) per kilogram.
The thing that makes Vietnamese coffee really stand out is the strong taste. This is because the beans are roasted on a low heat for fifteen minutes (in most countries they use machines) and then put into a filter. Slowly, the coffee starts to drip through.
Before roasting, the coffee will be processed very carefully. It is because of the sophisticated process and special flavor that the price of weasel coffee is quite expensive.
Weasel coffee is a special coffee, considered to be one of the rarest drinks in the world. It is collected from specialized Vietnamese coffee farms in a controlled and ethical process.
It is often used as a caffeine free coffee substitute due to its resemblance IN color and aroma to coffee. The perfect blend of chicory to coffee enhances coffee taste and aroma by imparting a slightly woody and nutty taste to the coffee. Chicory blend coffee is also economical when compared to 100 percent coffee.
Kopi Luwak – $160/pound
This coffee is made in Indonesia by Asian palm civets. These animals consume the coffee cherries and ferment them during digestion. Then they deposit the coffee beans in their feces from where they are collected and processed.
2. Kopi Luwak ($200-600 per pound) The second most expensive coffee in the world, Kopi Luwak, and the Black Ivory coffee have one thing in common - the beans are both digested by an animal before they make their way into the cup.
|Price per pound (farmed)||Price per pound (wild)||Price per kilo (wild)|
Vietnamese Arabica coffee is a medium full-bodied roast with rich and lively notes of chocolate, vanilla, and caramel. Lower in acidity, Vietnamese Arabica is also known for its smoothness, making the bean variety perfect for coffee amateurs and fanatics alike.
Traditionally, Vietnamese coffee is known for having a dark roast. The roasting process often includes added flavors such as mocha, chicory, vanilla, butter or even whiskey. Copper Cow Coffee opts for an all-natural European-style roast, that lets the natural flavors of our specialty bean brew through.
They contain higher antioxidant properties and have 60% less sugar and fats than arabica beans, which makes them a bolder and smoother brew.
Ethiopia. When people ask what country has the best coffee, Ethiopia will often be near the top of the list. Ethiopia has a coffee-growing culture spanning centuries and growers in the country have perfected their craft.
The earliest credible evidence of coffee drinking in the form of the modern beverage appears in modern-day Yemen from the mid-15th century in Sufi shrines, where coffee seeds were first roasted and brewed in a manner similar to current methods.
Coffee grown worldwide can trace its heritage back centuries to the ancient coffee forests on the Ethiopian plateau. There, legend says the goat herder Kaldi first discovered the potential of these beloved beans.
Since chicory is usually much cheaper than coffee, it's a great substitute if you're on a tight budget.
Vietnamese robusta coffee also contains higher levels of an antioxidant called chlorogenic acid, which studies suggest aid in lowering blood pressure and body fat. With higher amounts of antioxidants, robusta coffee becomes the clear coffee bean choice when considering health and wellness.
Is Vietnamese coffee good for you? Yes! One of the many reasons why is the antioxidant value per cup or can! Coffee beans carry more antioxidants than any other staple in a typical diet.
Put simply, Vietnamese coffee can refer to the Vietnamese coffee beverage made with coffee from Vietnam plus condensed milk. But it can also refer to any of the coffees grown and produced in Vietnam. These include robusta and arabica, which has two major subcategories called moka and catimor.
Coffee cherries are fruits, and yes, you can eat them. They even have a nice sweet flavor. But before you rush out to try them, there are good reasons these aren't a popular fruit. Unlike regular cherries and other fruits, coffee cherries haven't been grown to optimize the fruit flavor.
Farmers who grow fair trade coffee receive a fair price, and their communities and the environment benefit as well. Fair trade certified coffee directly supports a better life for farming families in the developing world through fair prices, community development and environmental stewardship.
Let's just be clear, we're not talking about the popular tourist attraction and incredibly cruel trade of civet coffee (weasel coffee of Kopi Luwak) where the beans have been eaten by a civet cat and poo'd out. That's clearly not vegan and is as full of animal cruelty as it is of caffeine, read more about why here.
The Fairtrade Minimum Price is supporting the farmers that grow products such as cocoa, coffee and bananas to become more income-secure and less vulnerable to poverty.
Chicory may trigger an allergic reaction in some people, causing symptoms like pain, swelling, and tingling of the mouth ( 20 ). People with an allergy to ragweed or birch pollen should avoid chicory to prevent potential negative side effects ( 20 ).
Don't use chicory if you have gallstones. Surgery: Chicory might lower blood sugar and might interfere with blood sugar control during and after surgery. Stop taking chicory as a medicine at least 2 weeks before a scheduled surgery.
But most people can tolerate up to 20 grams per day. In fact, research in the Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology in August 2017 showed that a daily dose of inulin derived from chicory promotes healthy gut bacterial growth and may improve gut function.
The healthiest way to take your coffee is hot-brewed and black. One cup has virtually no calories or carbs, no fat, and is low in sodium. Black coffee also has micronutrients, including potassium, magnesium, and niacin.
Starbucks. There may be no brand more synonymous with America's obsession with coffee than the Seattle-based Starbucks. The brand's meteoric growth over the past two decades has made it a top 10 overall franchise.
“For most people, moderate coffee consumption can be incorporated into a healthy diet.” Hu said that moderate coffee intake—about 2–5 cups a day—is linked to a lower likelihood of type 2 diabetes, heart disease, liver and endometrial cancers, Parkinson's disease, and depression.
The world's highest caffeine coffee is Black Label by Devil Mountain. At over 1,500 milligrams of caffeine per serving, this coffee is not for the faint of heart. It is non-GMO, USDA-certified organic, and fair trade.
A mocha is a very sugary coffee drink. It contains around two shots of espresso, steamed milk, chocolate syrup (or milk), and whipped cream on top. Depending on the amount of milk and chocolate, a mocha will vary in strength. Additionally, mochas tend to be sweet, and they are very caloric.
A: Black coffee has an element called chlorogenic acid, which is known to speed up weight loss. If you consume black coffee after dinner, the presence of chlorogenic acid slows down the production of glucose in the body. Moreover, the production of new fat cells is decreased, meaning fewer calories in the body.
Brazil is, quite simply, the largest coffee producer in the world.
|Rank||Coffee Brand||Revenue (USD billions)|
It can have body and acidity that is interesting and can be used and played with and blended into new, interesting tastes,” Robinson said. That's why Starbucks only buys arabica coffee beans.
Hot beverages are commonly referred to as 'a brew', particularly in the North of England (the phrase is also used, albeit slightly less, in the Midlands and South too!). This is because traditional tea is made by brewing tea leaves in a bag in hot water, although the phrase 'brew' can also refer to a cup of coffee.
Because of the similarity of espresso to the English word express—and the promise of coffee being prepared with relative swiftness in contrast to percolating devices, it naturally caught on for espresso to be interpreted as expresso—reflecting the "express" nature of delivery—and consequently spelled as such.
- Kopi Luwak, US$1,300 per kilogram. ...
- Black Ivory, US$2,500 per kilogram. ...
- Saint Helena, US$494 per kilogram. ...
- Hacienda La Esmeralda, US$440 per kilogram. ...
- Finca El Injerto, US$1,100 per kilogram. ...
- Molokai, US$97 per kilogram.
A barista (/bəˈriːstə, -ˈrɪstə/; Italian: [b a ˈ r i s t a]; from the Italian/Spanish for "bartender") is a person, usually a coffeehouse employee, who prepares and serves espresso-based coffee drinks.
A coffee lover could be called a coffee aficionado, coffeeholic or coffee addict. But did you know that there is now a word to describe this group of coffee lovers? The word is javaphile and comes from the slang word 'java' for coffee.
coffeeholic (plural coffeeholics) (informal) Somebody addicted to coffee.
Bloody. Don't worry, it's not a violent word… it has nothing to do with “blood”.”Bloody” is a common word to give more emphasis to the sentence, mostly used as an exclamation of surprise. Something may be “bloody marvellous” or “bloody awful“. Having said that, British people do sometimes use it when expressing anger…
Brits love tea. It's believed we drink 165 million cups every day. Trailing behind is coffee, with 95 million cups drunk daily.
There are two common spellings of the dessert; doughnut and donut. The former is considered the UK spelling and the latter the Americanised version. Often Americanisms drop the 'u', for example in colour versus color.
Espressos, in particular, contain antioxidants that boost the immune system. Espresso shots can even reduce the risk of heart diseases and stroke, especially for people who are obese. Diabetes can also be avoided when you drink coffee.
When we say “cream,” meaning something we will pour into our coffee, we are usually referring to a light cream known as half and half, which is half cream and half milk. This is traditionally added to coffee and readily available in grocery stores and coffee shops.
WHAT MAKES ESPRESSO DIFFERENT FROM COFFEE? Espresso is thicker and more intense than coffee because of the lower grounds to water ratio, the finer grind, and the pressurized brewing method. Regular coffee uses a coarser grind, more water and gravity to extract the final brew.