(1 October is celebrated as International Coffee Day, a dedicated day to promote the beverage. The following article has been republished in light of this.)
Kopi Luwak also known as Civet coffee is made from partly-digested coffee cherries eaten and digested by the Civet cat, a mammal native to tropical parts of Asia and Africa.
It is known around the world for one reason, which is, it is defecated by the cat before any human even touches it. The beans, collected from the cat’s droppings, are used to make a special flavourful brew with many health benefits associated with it.
It is the most expensive coffee in the world, for obvious reasons, and if you really are a true coffee connoisseur, you won’t bat an eyelid paying Rs 20,000- 25,000/kg!
There are only 3 to 4 places where you can find this special coffee and India is one of them.
India is the third-largest producer and exporter of coffee in the world and the production of Civet coffee has started in India recently on a small scale in Coorg. The introductory price of the coffee in India was 8000/kg.
How Is Civet Coffee Processed?
- The Civet cat eats the best coffee cherries from the plantations and these pass through the digestive system of the cat, where the taste of the coffee is developed form the enzymes present. Then, the Civet defecates the coffee beans, which are later collected by the workers.
- The beans are washed multiple times to ensure they are free from feces and harmful bacteria. Later coffee beans are dried in the sun to remove the excess moisture.
- The outer skin of the beans is removed and is put into a mortar and pounded with a pestle. The beans are not affected by the pounding.
- Then, the best coffee beans are hand-sorted, and the damaged ones are discarded.
- At last, Kopi Luwak/coffee beans are ready to be roasted.
In 2013, researchers from the Osaka University and the Indonesian coffee and cocoa research institute came together to study the biological and metabolomics differences between Civet Coffee and other types of coffee.
After a lot of research and trial, it has been found that Civet Coffee is beneficial for human health, due to nutrients contained in it.
- Protects the teeth: People who drink too much coffee have yellowish teeth, but this coffee does the complete opposite. It protects the teeth from the bacteria that causes cavities. There is some research to suggest that consuming Kopi Luwak coffee may protect against oral cancer.
- Helps with Diabetes: It has low acidic concentration and reduces the risk of diabetes by 50 percent, according to Taichung Community Health Study in Taiwan.
- Prevents neurological diseases: Civet coffee inhibits inflammation in the brain, which prevents the risk of many neurological diseases. It contains caffeine and several antioxidants that are known to provide protection against neurological disorders like Parkinson’s, and Alzheimer according to a study done by Ellen Mowry with johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore and a member of the American Academy of Neurology. Multiple sclerosis can also be protected against by coffee consumption he said.
- Prevents gallbladder problems: When cholesterol crystals are trapped in the gallbladder it causes gallstone. It can be prevented by consuming a caffeine-rich drink, as it has a non-stick substance that doesn’t allow the mucus crystals to precipitate in the bile.
- Helps in Digestion: Consuming Civet coffee in the morning helps your digestive system as it has low acidic concentration, which makes your digestion safe. Besides, it helps in ulcers as well.
- Healthy heart: Research indicates that civet coffee offers some protection to the heart’s muscular chamber against artery damage.
- Promotes Cardiovascular Health: Chromogenic acid, a kind of antioxidant is present in the coffee which promotes cardiovascular problems such as joint pains and cramps.
- Boosts Memory: Caffeine present in civet coffee promotes brain activity and boosts short term memory and concentration as well. It has also shown positive results in reducing the risk of dementia in later life.
Civet Coffee vs. Ordinary Coffee
There is no difference in the substances of both ordinary and the Civet coffee but there is a difference in the levels of substances contained in it.
The caffeine and protein levels in Civet coffee are slightly lower than ordinary coffee. Whereas, the fat content in Civet coffee is slightly higher compared to ordinary coffee.
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